The best part about this horror film is that it doesn’t waste too much time getting started. Greta (Cohan) arrives for a nanny job to a storybook mansion deep in the English countryside, to find dark corridors, creaking floors, an unnervingly large family portrait, mysterious owners, and a porcelain doll standing in for a dead boy. There is a grocery delivery man who is pleasantly flirtatious but he does ask her to spit out her “chewing gum” so that he can tell her future.
The worst part about The Boy is just when the premise starts to work, thanks in large part to praiseworthy acting by all its main protagonists particularly the boy’s aged parents, director Bell loses control. From a film about parents dealing with a serious problem it becomes a story about a woman (Greta) alone in that size mansion with a doll that size. From a film about things that go bump at night, particularly after every visit by that particularly gracious delivery man (Evans), it becomes about Greta developing feelings about the doll. From a scared nanny she becomes a woman who has just lost a baby.
Any hopes still left die with the painfully ludicrous third part that has to be seen to be believed. Or maybe not.
Directed by William Brent Bell
Starring Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans