The Boy Movie Review
Creepy children and creepy dolls converge in The Boy, a horror movie about a young woman tasked with taking care of a child—well, a porcelain doll who may or may not be possessed by the spirit of a boy who died decades earlier.
The creepy concept is brought to life by William Brent Bell—sadly in the least interesting way possible. While Lauren Cohan (“The Walking Dead”) turns in a decent-for-a-horror-movie performance, the movie propels itself forward with the assumption that having a boy-doll on screen will be enough to offset a general lack of suspense or feeling of dread. The concept is a good one, and The Boy is best described as placing a whiffle ball on a baseball tee and swinging—and whiffing—with one of those giant red plastic bats.
The Boy is almost worthwhile, and instead it misses the mark completely.
For much of the movie, nothing actually happens. Cohan’s character takes a shower, and we see items from the bathroom get stolen by an unseen hand. She goes up into the attic and gets trapped there, because somebody or something closes the ladder behind her. Some other weird things happen, too.
But this is a movie that would have thrived with a director better attuned to delivering off-screen scares, ones that thrive on the right sound effects and slow-boil suspense. Instead, Bell, who’s only other major big screen credit is the truly dreadful The Devil Inside, opts for the lowest common denominator—cheap scares through poorly crafted and wholly unnecessary dream sequences, and a heavy reliance on the boy-doll itself, who, without the sound effects and other things, isn’t particularly scary on his own.
The Boy is not a terrible watch—it moves along quickly enough, and has its intriguing moments, but once the big reveal hits and everything clicks into place, you realize just how much potential was wasted by the film’s lazy execution. On a re-watch I’m convinced certain things wouldn’t make much sense knowing what the deal is, and even as is there were just so many more opportunities for the movie to be scary or suspenseful and both.
The Boy had potential, but it’s a horror movie without much horror, with very few scares, and with very little redeeming value. It’s a movie with a spooky concept but no vision to bring that concept to life.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.