The Boy is a big movie for Lauren Cohen, in that she’s trying to transition from TV to movies. In that, I think she made a good choice in going with this relatively sedate, more mature horror movie. While it’s a middle of the road effort, it was a good opportunity for Cohen to show her movie star skills.
Greta (Cohan) is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmares to reality.
While it sounds silly, it’s actually a pretty chilling premise. To anyone old enough to remember when Norman Bate’s mother is revealed to be a corpse in a rocking chair, this movie has that kind of feel to it. Despite a premise that might sound silly, it’s actually quite sophisticated. This is no Chucky.
A lot of the credit is due to Cohen, who was poised to elevate this movie. She’s no scream queen, but instead reacts in a real, dimensional way as the tension builds. Her reactions are more realistic than most horror heroines and she stays composed throughout. She is the real stand out star in this.
The problem is with a movie that presents itself as sophisticated, I expect more psychological scares than I do jump scares. Jump scares are for kids watching Paranormal Activity 45…or whatever sequel they’re up to now. They don’t belong in a movie like this.
Cohen makes this movie far more credible and far more dramatic than it deserves to be. Without her, this would have been a silly, forgettable effort. With her, it’s elevated to a higher level. Despite the fact that she’s clearly used to excellent writing, she’s an actress who knows how to work with bad writing and I imagine that we’ll see a lot more of her in years to come…though I highly doubt The Boy will get a sequel.
It’s a quiet movie, in that there are only a handful of speaking parts and for the most part, the movie is about Greta and the doll. During those times, Greta is the person who drives the tension. She’s the one that makes you build up for the big scare.
There are a few clichés to be seen in this one, like the chilling sound of children laughing, or a very unsettling mirror reflection, but they’re not terribly done, making older material seem a bit fresher.
All in all, it’s a middle of the road effort. If you’re dying for something scary, you could do worse than this. While it’s heavy on jump scares, it’s an elevated horror flick that might make you willing to overlook that tired gimmick. If that’s the case, this is worth the watch.
WE GAVE IT : 3 STARS! Watch the Official Trailer and See the Official Movie Poster below