The Boy – USA, 2015 – overview and reviews

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‘Every child needs to feel loved’

The Boy is a 2015 American horror-thriller film directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside; Wer) from a screenplay by Stacey Menear. It stars Lauren Cohan, Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle.

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Greta, a young American woman, takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s eight year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son twenty years previously.

After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Bell is undoubtedly a talented director, but more specifically, Bell is a superb horror story-teller. He takes a handful of quite hackneyed genre tropes and mixes them together in such a way as to keep them frightening […] a story that feels like a clear homage to Gothic horror, and what’s more, it does it very well.” UK Horror Scene

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” … moments of inspiration, or craftsmanship, or whatever you want to call them, are ultimately seasoning sprinkled onto a mushy, microwaved platter of lukewarm horror clichés, a not entirely unexpected outcome from the director of 2013’s similarly derivative The Devil Inside.” Katie Rife, A.V. Club

“There may be folks who find the tone of The Boy terrifying. Well-seasoned fright fans, however, will see through its baroque boos and come up with a doll sized disappointment. The trappings suggest something better. The actual movie is mind-numbing nonsense.” Bill Gibron, Film Racket

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“Despite game efforts by the cast, this tepid horror opus is never scary enough to overcome its silly premise.” Joe Leydon, Variety

“In the midlist fright arena, Bell is a little more interesting than most – and The Boy plays better than Annabelle, The Forest, Ouija or any number of by-the-numbers exercises. What it lacks is the extra bite of Estranged and Awaiting, which use similar British countryside settings but have a more acute sense of place, class and cruelty.” Kim Newman

” …feels like a Hammer or Robert Lippert B movie of the 1960s. Nicely photographed and acted, and with a denouement some hated but which I think is absolutely in keeping with the rest of the film…” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema

Main cast:

  • Lauren Cohan (Supernatural; The Vampire Diaries; The Walking Dead)
  • Jim Norton (The Face of Fu Manchu; Straw Dogs)
  • Diana Hardcastle
  • Ben Robson (Dracula: The Dark Prince), (Asylum Blackout; The Canal)
  • James Russell
  • Javier Botet

 
Trivia:

  • The film was previously known as The Inhabitant.
  • It was released in the US by STX Entertainment on January 22, 2016.

Filming locations:

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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