“The Boy”

Susan Granger’s review of “The Boy”

 

This creepy story begins as a young, emotionally vulnerable American woman, Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan), arrives in an unknown town in England to apply for a nanny position. A car picks her up and takes her to the sprawling Heelshire family mansion that’s situated in the middle of a thick forest.

Elderly Mr. and Mrs Heelshire (Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle) greet Greta cordially and introduce her to their eight year-old son, Brahms, an extraordinarily realistic-looking porcelain doll. It seems that the real Brahms died in a house fire 20 years ago, and caring for this life-sized doll has become their coping mechanism.

“Whatever it might look like on the outside, our son is here. He’s very much with us,” she’s told.

Seeing delusional Mrs. Heelshire cuddling the doll, calling it “Mama’s good boy,” triggers a strong, sympathetic reaction in Greta, who agrees to take the nanny position, caring for Brahms while the Heelshires travel for an extended holiday.

Greta is given a strict set of detailed rules which must be followed, including how to treat Brahms: his face must never be covered and he must never be left alone.

Stashing the doll in a corner after the Heelshires depart, Greta soon becomes romantically involved with Malcolm (Rupert Evans), the local grocer, who tells her that Brahms once had a young girl friend who disappeared after a playdate, and he was implicated as her killer.

Soon, Greta hears childish laughter, along with spooky footsteps. Her jewelry and clothing start to disappear, and the Brahms doll turns up in odd places, as she becomes more and more paranoid.

Working from a twisty screenplay by newcomer Stacey Menear, this eerie horror story is directed by William Brent Bell (“Stay Alive,” “The Devil Inside”), evoking memories of far-better pictures like “The Conjuring,” “Child’s Play,” “Poltergeist” and “Magic.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Boy” is a strange, intense 3, delving into the paranormal and leaving the door ajar for a sequel.

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