The Boy: Something’s Off Its Rocker

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When a young woman named Greta (Lauren Cohen, Maggie from The Walking Dead) is hired as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy, she is startled to find out that the elderly couple who hired her didn’t mention that the boy wasn’t real. Not much longer after they leave for vacation, handing some very specific rules to Greta to follow, she learns that the couple has kept the doll for over 20 years to cope with the death of their son. Greta soon finds that there is more to the boy than just an ill-minded couple that couldn’t say goodbye. Dolls have been freaking people out for ages now. Why does this kind of film usually work? There are more than enough people who have a real fear of dolls, and the idea of someone’s spirit possessing human-shaped toys is absolutely frightening.

“Pediophobia, also known as the fear of dolls, is a relatively common kind of phobia. It is an anxiety that can be associated with a range of dolls from old-fashioned china dolls and porcelain dolls to dolls that talk and move. Pediophobia is considered a branch of automatonophobia, or a fear of humanoid figures.” – Wikipedia

In 1988 Chucky slashed his way into a franchise with Child’s Play. In 2004 the film Saw introduced a new horrific icon with the doll named Billy, who quickly became a favorite costume or decoration selection for Halloween. In 2013 the creators of The Conjuring opened the film with creepy details about one of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most famous paranormal cases, a malevolent doll named Annabelle. With the success of The Conjuring, Annabelle earned her own film and is just one of many creepy dolls to feed the terror machine that keeps many viewers tossing and turning under their covers at night. Laying in bed, they peek over at the dolls feeling as if something isn’t right. Like something, or someone, is watching them. Many people who are afraid of dolls won’t touch them, they won’t go near them, and they will often leave a room or ask that the doll be removed from their presence. Can you blame them?

Though I did like the film, I don’t feel like it lives up to the horrific measures of previous doll films. I won’t say too much about the plot twist but I will say that I can think of several alternate endings that could have  brought fear into the viewers’ hearts and minds. The two complaints I really have with this film is that like Eli Roth’s Hostel, it was a real slow burn for the first half of the film, and that it left too many things unsaid or unearned.

I normally never agree with a critic, however, Christian Holub of Entertainment Weekly wasn’t too far off when he had written “The Boy aims to set itself squarely in the fictional canon of Chucky and its brethren, but it ends up trying to do so much that it forgets to scare us.” I also believe that the writer and director tried too hard to make the film bigger than it had to be, while falling short for what could have really made The Boy a terrifying piece. I actually  have a lot to say about the ending but I really don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it. Some people think the ending is great…  and then you have my opinion.

Watch the film and tell us what you think. We encourage feedback. If you like what director William Brent Bell has done with The Boy then I suggest watching another film he directed called Wer. I really enjoyed Wer and I think you will too. I haven’t seen them but William Brent Bell is also known for directing a paranormal horror film called Stay Alive as well as The Devil Inside.

Budget for The Boy: $10 million – luckily the film broke even on opening weekend at the theaters by making roughly $10,778,392 playing on 2,671 screens according to IMDB

 

Until next time…

 

William C. Raustler