Full disclosure time here: I’ve had a mad (simply mad, I tell you!) crush on actress Lauren Cohan since I first laid eyes on her during the second season of The Walking Dead. And although her presence on that zombie soap opera isn’t enough to keep me watching it, I still keep an eye out for her whenever she shows up in other projects, such as the straight to video opus Death Race 2. 2016’s The Boy is her first starring film role, and it was actually released in theaters! Whoa, looks like this girl is definitely going places.
In The Boy, Cohan stars as Greta, a young woman who has been hired to baby-sit a kid for a wealthy old couple who live in a spacious mansion in England. Weird stuff happens right at the start when Greta, showing up at the mansion for the first time, removes her boots and leaves them at the front door–only to have them vanish when she goes to retrieve them later. But it really gets weird when Greta realizes that the “boy” that she has been hired to take care of is nothing but a life-sized doll of an eight year old lad with creepy alabaster skin and eyes that have a thousand yard stare.
Greta is given a list of things that must be done for Brahms (aka the creepy little doll). This list, which includes playing selected pieces of music very loudly, must be strictly adhered to, reminding me of the rules that the characters in Gremlins had to follow in order to guarantee nothing went wrong–and of course they ignored those rules right off the bat. Greta does the same thing. Once the old couple are gone, leaving her alone in the mansion, Greta just tosses the doll aside and kicks back and relaxes. Big mistake, for once she ignores the rules, that’s when the really creepy stuff happens.
I enjoyed this one. It has a nice, Gothic atmosphere, and slowly builds up its terrors, as opposed to diving straight in teeth-first. The Boy is basically a mystery/thriller that unravels its plot with care, including the twist near the end. Cohan acquits herself very nicely here, effortlessly carrying the movie as the only person on screen for long stretches of its running time. The Boy may not be the greatest film ever made (it has its share of plot holes), but for what it is, it’s entertaining enough to enjoy on a rainy weekend afternoon. –SF