The Boy (2016)

(On Cable TV, November 2016) I still can’t decide whether The Boy’s twist is ludicrous or lame. As horror movies go, it decidedly feels limp: As a young American comes to England to be a live-in nanny, she discovers that she’s been asked to care for … a porcelain doll. Except that the porcelain doll seems to move whenever she’s not looking. Any half-wit can propose the explanation with which the film comes up far too late; but the twist doesn’t excuse the rather lifeless way it exploits that development. Pretty much everything else about the film is strictly routine, from the growing suspicions of the heroine to the ominous vibes of the hunky visitor to the deluded masters of the house. It’s bland and boring and the predictable twist doesn’t do much to enliven things up when it’s followed by a sequence that’s been done (often better) in other slasher movies. There isn’t much to say about The Boy because there isn’t much in The Boy. Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans are both unremarkable in the lead roles, and the same also goes for director William Brent Bell—the best he can manage are some eerie shots of a Victorian house … and most of the credit there goes to the set dressers anyway. Done according to the current standard of the horror genre but ultimately too dull to matter, The Boy is almost instantly forgettable.

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