HOLLYWOOD—I’m a firm believer that anytime a movie has a silly title or a title that directly references what the movie is about, it’s not a good sign. I’ve come to realize in recent years that sometimes a simple title can be just as effective as a clever one.
The latest flick to delve into the psychological/horror realm, “The Boy” left me wavering on my level of expectations as I entered the theater. I mean for weeks people had been asking for my opinion on the thriller and rather it would be worthwhile and my gut reaction said: no. Well I might have to eat those words. The movie written by Stacey Menear and directed by William Brent Bell delivers a whopper of a surprise that I must say I didn’t see coming.
The story revolves around the Heelshire family portrayed by patriarch (Jim Norton) and matriarch (Diana Hardcastle). The elderly couple is in need of a nanny to watch over their young son, Brahms. Be warned people, Brahms is not any ordinary kid; he’s a porcelain doll that his parents treat like a real living being.
In comes Greta, portrayed by “The Walking Dead” alum Lauren Cohan who has fled from an abusive relationship involving her ex Cole (Ben Robson). It is fun to watch the movie point out that danger lurks in the ‘doll,’ all the while our protagonist disregards the rules his parents left for her to adhere. Not following those rules could cause bad things to happen.
Greta doesn’t fully embrace those rules which results in strange occurrences in the home. Of course we have the whispers, the closing of doors, and other strange activity. Cohan does well-enough with the material given to her, but I would not call the performance that break-out role that fans of her TV series will remember for years to come. It is however the climax of the flick that delivers quite the shock to the spectator who has the wool pulled over their heads in my opinion.
It is easy to find yourself slightly sutured into a thriller that delivers a curveball that you should have expected, but didn’t really see coming. Are we talking a “Sixth Sense” like twist? No, but it’s a well presented curve in the narrative that sets the stage for some frenetic and frightening scenes to say the least.
January is not known for a month that brings the thrills to moviegoers, but I have to say I found “The Boy” to be far more entertaining than I expected. Is it worth a full price theater ticket, I’d say catching a matinee is much better, but you won’t be disappointed with the money spent.