When you attend a movie, you have to pick the right people to go with. You have those closest to you who are regular cinema goers and you couldn’t fault them if you tried. You have certain folks you trot out for special occasions: The I’m With Geek crew are a must when it comes to superhero blockbusters or Star Wars and I also watch horror movies with my sister as I cower in the mess in my trousers. My point is that you chose who you go with the cinema and, in turn, you get a particular experience. Sure, there is something so superb about the solitude of cinema, but damn, sometimes, you just have to go with a bunch of friends.
I’m saying this now because if I had seen The Boy by myself, grumping furrowing my brow out of displeasure, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much. But at a private midnight screening with myself and some mates, all making quips about the ridiculousness on display, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
The Boy is part of the latest trend of cheesy horror movies with nothing scary at the centre of it. The film revolves around a young American girl named Greta who travels all the way to England to escape her abusive partner. In her extensive job hunt, she finds the only one going is a Nanny position in an isolated mansion in the middle of the country. Though clearly not reading the job specs on Indeed.com, Greta finds that she isn’t actually babysitting a child, she is looking after a doll named Brahms.
Anyway, the real Brahms is supposedly dead and the grieving parents have been tending to this porcelain prince ever since. Greta laughs it off as a joke but when she is left alone with the doll, strange things start to occur….
For film that professes frights and ghoulie antics, The Boy is suffering from a lack thereof. There’s perhaps one jumpy moment and it turns out to be a dream. The film becomes ridiculous. You never seen the doll move or grimace or do anything out of the ordinary and yet the filmmakers will focus squarely on his expressionless face, expecting you to be chilled to the bone. Hint: You’re not. In fact, it will provoke the biggest ripples of laughter throughout as Lauren Cohen, bless her, grimaces at a doll that steals her clothes.
That’s it, by the way, that’s the biggest thing this doll does – steals her clothes. Oh, and makes her a PB & J sandwich. That’s the terrifying spooky doll climax…He can’t even kill her shitty ex-boyfriend right… It’s awful and sloppy, especially as it relies too heavily on horror tropes such as fantastical dreaming (which, by the way, is the only time frights are conjured up). It is also highly illogical too with studied character flaws that sink the narrative like one rock in a coat as you wade out to sea.
There are some highlights, I suppose. Cohen is good as is Rupert “You Deserve A Better Film Career” Evans. There is something unnerving about a bright young woman being suckered into really care for the boy and the twist was a little unexpected.
But the reason The Boy was so good was because of the company I kept watching it. Without them pointing out flaws and logic in a most of the film in such a comedic manner, The Boy would’ve flailed, failed, and gone up in flames like the original Brahms.
So this is why audience and cinemas matter, in a way, and why quote-along screenings and singalongs are so valid because they can alter your performance in a better way. Why I am not sat here commanding you all speak to one another during a film (because it is 90% unacceptable), I guess I’m celebrating the folks who made The Boy an interesting and enjoyable experience. When it comes to bad movies, you have to watch them with folk able to throw a few moments of hilarity into the moment.
THE BOY IS OUT ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOW