The best part of being woefully unhip and equally unsophisticated is that I get to enjoy the heck out of a movie like THE BOY. Yeah, I know it’s borderline preposterous, derivative as hell and ultimately inconsequential but to quote Julie Andrews in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, “Look at all the fucks I give.” In the grand tradition of such, only in my mind, classics as THE HEARSE and THE NESTING, THE BOY is all about a lady losing her marbles while wandering around an incredibly beautiful, big old house. In this type of film there are always dull stretches where the main character reveals a troubled past (usually involving the death of a child, an abusive partner or worst of all, writer’s block!) but that’s fine by me because that is the perfect time to marvel at the lovely décor. Generously THE BOY is not satisfied being only a lady vs. her house/head flick, it’s also a creepy doll movie and that just happens to be my other favorite type o’ jam! Why, the only thing that could make this ditty more up my alley would be if it turned into HELL NIGHT in the final stretch (slight spoiler alert: it does). Is it kosher to recommend a movie exclusively to myself? I dub this flick, my rainy day ambrosia; all other folks tread with caution.
THE WALKING DEAD’s LAUREN COHAN stars as Greta who has been hired by a couple of nutty oldsters to look after their “son” who turns out to be a creepy porcelain doll. It seems their real kid Brahms tragically died in a fire 20 years ago and to cope with their loss, the two mutually decided complete and utter denial was the best bet. Greta is freaked out at first but sympathetic and she slowly forms a bond of her own with the pint-sized (PIN-like) effigy. Sadly THE BOY will likely get zero credit for what an excellent job it does of getting the audience to connect with the doll as well… so much so that when it is eventually threatened to be damaged it feels like something very real and invaluable may be lost. Much of the thanks should go to COHAN’s likable and relatable Greta. I’d have preferred it if she spent more time reading in bed like TRISH VAN DEVERE and less time cleaning out rat traps but I gotta respect a gal who can wrap a towel about herself so snuggly that it appears to be molded in plaster. Greta rules. She looks like MARY TYLER MOORE. Another thing that THAT BOY does extremely well is deftly manage the impossible to avoid humor of the situation, you could pretty much watch the first half of the film as a comedy if you wanted. In fact on more than one occasion little Brahms’ cold poker face reminded me of MARTIN SHORT in CLIFFORD.
I guess my biggest complaint would be the flick’s regrettable lack of bloodshed. Now I have no problem with a PG-13 rating especially in a psychological spooker but there’s a point in THE BOY where there is a drastic shifting of gears and at that point, at the very least, a TV broadcast level of gore would have been extremely satisfying. Truth is, you’ll either love or hate the film’s big reveal, I personally loved it to the point where it left me writing fan fiction in my head. As overtly mild as it sometimes sadly is, there’s some real throwback charm to be found in THE BOY. I expect it will be spit on by those who wear their horror fandom as a badge to prove how “edgy” they are and it will probably be loathed by those allergic to hokum and cheese but for me, it entertained and made me feel as snug as a bug in a rug. I may have to thank the terrible TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D for opening my eyes to the worth of simple entertainment value over artistic merit and even common sense on some occasions. If a film tunes your fork and delivers your favorite flavors at regular intervals, who cares about anything else? I don’t. No, it’s in no way a sterling classic but to echo THE BOY’s opening premise, sometimes a place-holding facsimile will do when the real deal is currently out of reach.