Cinematic Releases: The Boy

The Boy continues to haunt the multiplexes this weekend. 

Stop your crying before I break you
into a million pieces!!!!
For decades and possibly longer, stories of evil dolls have been a mainstay in horror. This month sees a new doll come to theaters in the form of Brahms, a porcelain boy who has a terrifying tale up his wicked sleeve. Unlike most other PG-13 low budget genre offerings, The Boy is a well written, tautly acted excursion into the strange world of inanimate objects taking their vengeance on human victims. With a deftly conceived plot and a cast that really ups the ante for a script that may have fallen short in lesser hands, The Boy is positive momentum for the deteriorating U.S. horror market. Where most movies in the haunted doll arena are repetitive and glaringly used to soak up the dollars and cents of horror fans dying for their next fix, The Boy maintains enough jump scares and edge of your seat moments to make it worth their hard earned money. 

Setting its standards a bit higher than other current releases like The Forest, the creators of this film take chances on their characters and even delve into obvious influences rooted in older, more classic archetypes. With a chilling Kubrickian feel at times and a stellar confidence in creating a modern gothic setting, director William Brent Bell gives audiences a movie that can be enjoyed for both its twists and turns and also its great looking cinematography. Set in the forests of the U.K. in a dank yet elegant vintage mansion, the environment feels familiar and calculated while the story of Brahms unfolds in a tightly wound execution of cleverly handled story points and areas of sheer terror. 

NO! I will not make love to a doll!
Drifting away from the failures of other domestic horror flicks, audiences will be able to sympathize with Greta Evans, the main protagonist. The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan sheds her tv credentials for a role that could shift her more towards film. Any time she's on the screen here, she owns it. While her girl next door beauty definitely steals the spotlight throughout, Lauren's apparent talents come shining through. Instead of falling into the trappings of becoming a typical girl on the run horror maven, Lauren plays her role with a human touch that amplifies the quality of The Boy for the entire run time. Her performance as Greta shows a strong semblance of character development that's often not felt in these types of films. 

The Boy unabashedly steals from other movies about eerie dolls. Yet, it still remains entertaining and gives us horror fans a little taste of what we miss so much. With just enough originality infused into its veins, it finds a groove and never lets up. The setting is spooky. The set up is perfectly timed. The cratchety support characters offer just enough back story. And the pacing is dead on. No, it's not perfect. But, it's really comforting to know that someone out there still has a taste for mood, refined storytelling, and just influences to not feel like a total rip off. If you've been thinking about seeing this, you may want to check it out. If Annabelle did nothing for you, this is definitely the creepy doll movie to see. 

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