Ginger Nuts of Horror
the film turns into a mess when it uses a well-practised cliche to give you answers to things which would have been better served had they been left alone.
I don’t often get excited about horror films anymore. It’s a shame but since writing horror for a living, I find most films to be a let down. The jump-scares are so obvious you see them coming a mile off, the premise has been done to death, there are twists that are obvious from the start of the film and so on, so fourth. I still go and watch them though in the hope I am going to be surprised and actually enjoy the film. It’s a shame then that the last decent “horror” film I watched was Krampus over Christmas time and that I only really enjoyed because it reminded me of my childhood and films such as Gremlins and Critters. Whilst the concept might not have been original, it was still a fun film with some great effects thrown in there too. Gone was CGI and back was practical effects! Hoorah! But this review isn’t about Krampus. This review is about another film I genuinely got excited about when I first saw the trailer. This review is about The Boy.
For those unfamiliar with the story let me be lazy and copy and paste direct from IMDB. Yeah, I’m one of those reviewers. Hold on, here it comes: An American nanny is shocked that her new English family's boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.
I liked that concept. It was simple and, to my knowledge, original. Added bonus being that it stars Lauren Cohen (Maggie from The Walking Dead) whom, I won’t lie, I happen to fancy. Another added bonus: There’s a shower scene. Too bad then that you don’t get to see anything but I guess it isn’t one of those movies. Anyway.
The trailer showed promise and the boy itself is a simple yet creepy design. During the trailer you don’t see it move, it just implies it moves. For example, in one shot the boy looks left and in the next shot, the boy looks to the right. It’s creepy. It’s subtle. I like it. Think back to the eighties (Christ I feel old) and remember how creepy Chucky was right up until the point he was seen running around. Once that happened, everything went to pot and it became laughable as you realised they’d just dressed a young child up as the doll and filmed from different angles to try and con you - with little success.
Thankfully the first three quarters of the film works really well. It slowly builds a sense of dread and you believe the doll is a real boy, or rather possessed by one. As more of the story unfolds and you learn some home-truths you can’t help but feel intrigued and Lauren does a good enough job of acting scared and confused and a little curious too. So it’s shaping up to be a really good film, right? Well no. Because they broke it. Without any spoilers the last quarter of the film turns into a mess when it uses a well-practised cliche to give you answers to things which would have been better served had they been left alone. How much of a cliche you ask? Well - I’ve used the very same story in one of my books. The good news for you, kids, is that my own book (title left out so as to avoid spoilers again) is a very mixed bag of reviews. Some people love the ending and some hate it. So why is that good? Well - I hated it because I had used it myself and felt like, considering the story they were telling, it was a cop-out but other people, going by my reviews, will get a really good kick out of it. I think I hated it more because of the change of direction for Lauren’s character. I know people have a fight or flight hormone and react differently (hence fight or flight) but I found the sudden switch to be really out of the blue. Not being funny but surely the fight or flight moment would have kicked in the moment you first thought the doll moved?!
Sadly for me I came away disappointed. When people asked if they should watch it, I told them to avoid it. I told them it was nothing new and the trailer was better than the film. Looking back, I might have been harsh. It is worth a watch but it’s not going to break any records or go down in history as a top horror film. If it’s on Netflix or some dodgy channel late at night though, and you’re desperate for something to watch, it’s worth a look. If you’re looking for a film to buy… Skip it.
The rating on IMDB is around the six mark and - to be honest - I would agree with this for once. A shame because it had the potential to be so much better.
Until next time, children.