Saturday, January 23, 2016
The Boy Review
I will admit that this is a tricky movie to review as literally the whole movie hinges on whether or not the last third of the movie is any good. As such, a good portion of my thoughts pertaining to this movie have to do with the ending. But ain't no way am I divulging any of those thoughts because that will ruin the experience for you. The whole premise of the movie is centered on the mystery of this doll. Our main character is a girl who has just got out of a pretty bad experience with a previous relationship and she is simply looking to escape the world, so she accepts a job as a nanny out in the country. The house she goes to for this job is a huge, old house in the middle of nowhere with all the windows boarded up. Her job is to watch after an older couple's 8-year-old son while they are gone on some sort of vacation or something like that. Turns out their son is a doll, which confuses her, especially when both of the parents treat the doll as an actual boy with strict rules that need to be followed. The doll is not alive. It's not possessed or talking. It's just a doll. So when the parents leave, she doesn't really take this seriously at all. She leaves the doll on the chair or on the bed and goes about her normal business. She has broken the rules.
Does saying this spoil the movie? Not in my opinion. My point here is that I want you to know what you are getting into with this. Perhaps if you look at it the right way, you might actually enjoy the movie. No there aren't a ton of jump scares or blood and gore. Yes, there is a lot of suspense and a lot of that is done in more of a natural way. We are thrown right into a very complex story that we don't know much about. As the movie slowly starts to reveal itself, we start getting an idea of what's actually going on. But it's not given all at once. The mystery shrouding the whole situation is what keeps you intrigued and keeps your eyes glued to the screen. What's the deal with this family? What have they gone through? Why are they doing the things that they do? The first thing I actually noticed was the set of the film and the lighting. This sets the tone for the movie. Instead of jump scares, we get great camera work combined with a beautiful, creepy score. We also have great acting by everyone and very believable characters. The way the older couple cares for this doll as if it's their actual son is great and believable. How our main girl reacts to this while the parents are there and what she does right when they leave is also great. The whole thing felt real and genuine. I felt like they were actually trying to make a film instead of using horror cliches to grab a few extra bucks and I appreciated that.
In summing this point up, this felt more like a thriller to me than a horror and I think that if you look at this as more of a thriller, then you might appreciate the movie more. In fact, a very comparable movie was M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit from last year. That was another movie that was a horror/thriller. It wasn't scary or gory, but it was suspenseful and it was actually really good. Much of the same qualities that made The Visit a good movie make this one a good movie. Even if we were to ignore the ending of The Boy, the way that they crafted the film and the way that they chose to build up the suspense were very admirable in my opinion. When it comes to thrillers, I'm once again going to refer to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. None of his movies were super scary, but they were very suspenseful and the way he built that suspense was beautiful. I want more people in our day to look at the model Hitchcock set up and use that for their films. When I see it happen, I make sure that I give credit where credit is do. Last year STX delivered The Gift which I felt was a modern Hitchcock thriller, which is why I loved it so much. I went into this movie hoping that The Boy would follow the same format and I honestly feel comfortable in saying that it did. The movie was set up like a good thriller should be set up and I loved that about this movie.
So yes, as I stated earlier, this was a hard review to write. Overall I suppose a good way to sum up my thoughts is that I was satisfied. Perhaps this isn't the most original idea. I haven't actually seen a lot of creepy doll movies, but I really enjoyed the direction they took with this movie. This certainly isn't your typical slasher horror movie. This also isn't a situation where Sam and Dean Winchester needed to intervene, if you get that reference. I don't know what else to say without spoiling things, so I'm going to leave it at that. But once again I want to repeat that you should know what you are getting into with this movie. If you want a gory, jump-scare filled monster movie that so many horrors are like nowadays, this is not your movie. If you want to see a movie that scares your pants off, this is not your movie. I see this as more of a thriller where the suspense is built up in a slower, more natural way that I personally appreciate a lot more. Is this on par with The Gift? No, it's not. I have a few things to nit-pick that I can't tell you about, but I do think this is a good movie. I also think it's very comparable to The Visit. If you liked that movie, then I think you should give The Boy a shot. My grade for it is an 8/10.