Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: The Boy (2016)

                'The Boy' Almost Made Me Feel Like A Dummy

         The best way I can describe watching The Boy is as follows: It is a lot like watching your favorite hockey team play a game and they are on a roll, beating the other tean. That is until the opposing team comes back to beat your team in the third period.

        The Boy follows the story of a woman named Greta (Lauren Cohan) who is asked to look after the young boy of a British elderly couple. But it turns out their son is a dummy that the couple treats as a child. A series of coincidences that occur then lead Greta to believe that the dummy is alive.

         First off, I thought Lauren Cohan's performance was terrific. Cohan is very charismatic and makes for a very likable horror heroine. She is also quite three-dimensional as when she reveals a secret about her past that compulses her to take care of the dummy, you really understand why. I really enjoyed Cohan in this and I hope she has a bright future as a leading lady.

         Another thing that I thought was fascinating is how they took a very minimalistic approach with the horror. Not only do they set it almost entirely in the main isolated mansion, but the dummy that is central to the story has a presence in each scene it appears in even as it never moves or talks in a possessed voice. The dummy would appear then disappear and we also get scenes shot from its point of view. Because of this, I would feel creeped out whenever the dummy came on screen.

       As good as it is, the film takes quite a while to really pick up steam even though the film is only about 90 minutes. As a result, it never really felt like 90 minutes.

       There is also a romance incorporated between Greta and a man also employed by the elderly couple that is quite forced in my opinion and we even get a subplot involving Greta's abusive ex that is incredibly cliched.

        Lastly, I'll get into why the film feels like the end of a crappy third period of a hockey game. Two words: The ending. Wow, somebody call the police because that ending was such a major copout. I don’t know if I want to give it away because I usually don't like to do that. But watching a twist ending has never made me want to kick something in anger which is what I did since I was beating up snow. Everything that I loved about the film, mainly its minimalistic approach to the supernatural, got almost butchered thanks to that ending. While I was watching the climax, I just kept going "Uhhh...what the hell?!" Ugh, I hated the ending.

       Overall, The Boy is a nearly brilliant piece of horror cinema that almost got completely suffocated by its anger-inducing, nonsensical ending.

Grade: B-