Director: William Brent Bell
Cast: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD May 10, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Greta (Cohan) is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village. She soon discovers that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that they care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive.
‘The Boy’ follows a young American woman named Greta (Cohan) who has just relocated to a quiet English village with the intention of escaping some unsettling events from her past and beginning her life anew. Upon interviewing for a live-in nanny position at a beautiful and isolated home she is promptly offered the job, the only downside being that the boy she had expected to be caring for perished in a fire decades ago and the boy to be in her care is in reality a lifeless doll representing the lost child. Unable to be too picky and thrilled with the extravagant home, she accepts the job and neglects the set of rules that she was ordered to follow. When strange occurrences begin to become more frequent and the doll always seems to have mysteriously moved from where she left it, she begins to fear that it may not be a mere lifeless toy after all and the result of her neglect for the rules could lead to terrifying consequences.
Directed by William Brent Bell (Stay Alive, The Devil Inside) from a script written by first time screenwriter Stacey Menear, Bell does a fairly competent job at the helm of ‘The Boy’ and manages to capture the beautiful landscape and surroundings beautifully, although cutting back a tad on the repeated close-up’s of Lauren Cohan’s face may not have been the most harmful choice. The cast is rather limited considering the isolated setting of the film, and while there are a number of minor characters throughout, the two key roles are portrayed by Lauren Cohan (TV’s The Walking Dead) and Rupert Evans (Hellboy) who both deliver fairly decent performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Boy’ offers up some moderately creepy sequences and a wonderfully eerie and isolated home in another country with a suitably creepy doll as the title character, the perfect collection of ingredients for what one might assume would lead to some truly terrifying and indelible moments. Unfortunately, that isn’t often the case here and the intentionally scary scenes tend to end up coming off as humorous in their absurdity. Perhaps the biggest flaw that ‘The Boy’ suffers is its lack of logic, with so many events and secrets which continue to build to the inevitable finale that often aren’t explained, let alone the slightest bit logical. Without dropping any spoilers, let’s just say that the occurrences and events throughout much of the film are contradicted if not at least made inexplicably silly by the finale. Genre fans probably won’t need to rush and catch this one the moment it hits home entertainment shelves and for those who haven’t yet seen the film I would recommend initially checking it out as a rental as opposed to making a blind purchase if you’re intent on doing so.
Overall, ‘The Boy’ delivers an impressive setting, competent acting and a promising premise although largely fails to live up to what it could have been. While capably guided by director William Brent Bell for the most part and through no fault of the cast, the loose ends, lack of logic and the all too frequent unintentionally humorous moments come together into a relatively disappointing movie. ‘The Boy’ certainly has a few positive things to offer, but is a far from cry from some of the more impressive entries in the genre as of late. Even with its numerous faults, it may still be worth a watch for many horror fanatics, but you may want to play it safe and hold off for awhile in order to catch it on a streaming service or at least pick it up as a rental as opposed to coughing up the cash for a purchase.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Boy’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding, delivering a sharp and detailed presentation from start to finish with no faults of any kind to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should easily please the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and provides a consistently clean, crisp and aggressive audio presentation. Regularly utilizing all five available channels in order to immerse the viewer within the films score, in addition to sending a plethora of eerie noises and other auditory elements throughout the various speakers, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should not disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Boy’ doesn’t include any supplemental material whatsoever.