top of page

The Boy (2016)

Growing up a Childsplay fan I don't tend to give my time to possessed doll films too often, probably due to the fact I just love Chucky. To me, Chucky is done perfectly and has such charisma, I struggle to find anything that even comes close. I was drawn to the nature of the doll in this film, it seemed ominous yet endearing and the film offers a great cast. Taking place in a country mansion set in the UK (although the filming location is actually Canada) this is the perfect backdrop for these types of psychological thrillers/horrors. The overall production value and look of this film is impressive and I think the director makes great use of the location, providing some genuinely creepy shots and sequences. As someone who isn't particularly a fan of haunting films, I did find this was done particularly well, setting great tone and atmosphere. As suspenseful and sinister as this film is I can't help but be frustrated with the decisions it makes with its jump scares. I understand this came out at a time when jump scares where all the rage however this doubles down on 90% of them by having them constantly resulting in a dream sequence. This was acceptable the first time but once they did it again my patience began wearing thin. When this is repeated it’s difficult to be convinced by anything playing out on screen as you start to preanticipate the character waking up from a dream. It detracts from the tension and any sense of danger as a viewer. The script is done in a well constructed way that takes the usual possession haunted house tropes and turns them on its head. Providing a phenomenal set up and a great sense of mystery and confusion around the doll and its capabilities, this then concludes in a major plot twist which I think was done so effectively in the moment. It’s not until after the credits rolled and on reflection that I found this ending to cause the rest of the film to fall apart. Leaving a lot of the main plot points surrounding the doll and its care to make very little sense. The casting is very strong, everyone one involved did a fantastic job and I would struggle to criticise anyones performance here. Lauren Cohan is fantastic as Greta, she is an actress who I think has such a great range. I know she gets heavily criticised for her portrayal as Maggie in The Walking Dead but I think that is solely down to the writing of her character and not her capabilities as an actor. The way she interacts with the doll and her character progression, from being cool and dismissive to becoming nurturing, fearful and emphathetic was very convincing. I want to mention the doll as well because I feel he is a character himself. The prop department do a brilliant job with his look and design and even though he is isn’t unique in his traditional style, it’s exactly that life-like quality that has such an impact. Struggling with pacing and a horrible use of jump scares this ultimately comprises a very well directed and unique concept that had great potential. I give it credit for being one of the more tense and suspenseful PG-13 films I have seen and I honestly can't say I didn't enjoy my initial viewing. It's only upon reflection that it’s flaws become more apparent. That being said, I would still say it’s worth your time if you are into jump scare horror, as it definitely delivers on that front.



bottom of page