The Boy: "You Wouldn't Hurt Me, Would You Brahms"

Director: William Brent Bell
Writer:    Stacey Menear
Starring: Lauren Cohan
                Rupert Evans
                Jim Norton
                Diana Hardcastle
                Ben Robson
                James Russell
                Jett Klyne
                Lily Pater
Rating:    **

Release Date: Out Now

Yesterday I looked at how to make truly haunting and terrifying horror movie without using gimmicks or the typical cliches you see in most films of this genre. Here, with The Boy, they do exactly the opposite, and while it is jumpy and does have genuinely scary moments, it just doesn't come close to how The Witch affected me. Nearly all of your typical horror movie scare techniques are used, which can often ruin the atmosphere and stop you from fully engaging.

Greta (Cohan) is a young twenty something about to embark on a new nannying job for an elder couple, the Heelshires (Norton & Hardcastle). They are about to go on holiday, leaving their son Brahms behind for the first time, which is why they hire Greta. But when Greta arrives, much to her surprise, Brahms is a life size porcelain doll which is treated like a real boy. As Greta spends more time at the house, she discovers dark secrets about the Heelshires; and along with local grocer Malcolm (Evans), they must do what they can to solve the mystery whilst keeping Brahms happy, before things go too far.

Lauren Cohan
The cast are good, but there is nothing that stands out for any of them. Cohan is competent enough as the final girl, but she isn't interesting enough to make you will her on or hope for her making it to the end. Both her and Evans do what is required in a stunted horror film like this, and that is all they're really able to do. Norton and Hardcastle, as the creepy Heelshires, are far more compelling, and you can truly sense their heartache, as well as a tinge of insanity, throughout their scenes.

The script by Menear is contrived, unimaginative and as predictable as expected. Whilst the concept feels fresh and interesting, the finished product is anything but, and somehow feels stale and old hat. The attempt at creating twists never comes across as surprising, and the whole backstory and history of Brahms and the Heelshires is nothing that hasn't been heard before. And whilst other films have tackled this plot with a fresh new direction, Menear can't seem to shake the horror cliche shackles which drag the story down.

William Brent Bell, the director, has managed to use almost every cliche in the horror film making book. These cliches can be used in a knowing way, like Scream, meaning the audience and film makers are in the know together, keeping it fresh ; however The Boy uses them as serious scare techniques. While the jumps do come thick and fast during some moments, for a horror movie to be truly scary they need to be so much more than predictable jumps and loud noises. I wanted The Boy to be such a good horror film, but unfortunately it missed the mark completely.

The Boy - Trailer