The Boy

Critics Consensus

The Boy could have gone in any number of scary or interesting directions, but instead settles for usual jump scares scattered throughout a pedestrian plot.

30%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 61

38%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,109
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Movie Info

The Boy is a frightening thrill ride directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) starring Lauren Cohan ("The Walking Dead"). Greta (Cohan) is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family's 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta's worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive.

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Critic Reviews for The Boy

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (43)

  • These movies need new toys to play with.

    Mar 18, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Mike McCahill

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • [It] aims to set itself squarely in the fictional canon of Chucky and its brethren, but it ends up trying to do so much that it forgets to scare us.

    Jan 25, 2016 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • "The Boy" didn't screen for critics, but it's actually a pretty sturdy genre effort. Nearly free of gore... [the film] is careful and clever about revealing what Brahms really is, for he's certainly got a mind and will of his own.

    Jan 23, 2016 | Rating: 70/100 | Full Review…

    Inkoo Kang

    TheWrap
    Top Critic
  • It's awkward and strange but never shamelessly over-the-top enough to serve as a guilty pleasure.

    Jan 23, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It ... has enough scary moments to satisfy horror fans, but you're left wondering whether it might have been more disturbing had it stayed on its original path.

    Jan 23, 2016 | Full Review…
  • If only writer Stacey Menear and director William Brent Bell took the very real horrors of domestic abuse as seriously as they do the virtual horror of paranormal activity.

    Jan 22, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Boy

  • Sep 04, 2016
    Takes the tired old "Living Doll" premise and does okay with it by adding in a couple little spritzes of originality and a cast up to task. These two factors, as well as a pretty compelling third act almost salvage a good movie from this worn-out, boring premise. Almost.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2016
    You know your film has problems when the best thing about it is how gorgeous Lauren Cohan is. I'm not gonna say that this movie was out and out awful, because it wasn't, but it's not what I would call a particularly intriguing "horror" film. And I put horror in quotation marks because, outside of the third act, there wasn't much in the way of horror to speak of in this movie. So that makes this film a bit of a rough watch when there's nothing really to motivate you to keep watching. I suppose they thought the idea of a creepy doll and the mystery behind what actually happened to the real Brahms and the circumstances surrounding his fairly convenient death might have given the story some mileage. And they do get some out of it, not a lot, but they do manage to stretch out the film's length. But, if we're being completely honest, it's not like what they do get out of it is really amazing or even good. I suppose they were just wasting time until the third act of the film, which is where it gets better. There's also a subplot of Greta taking the job in England, she lives in the U.S, to get away from her possessive ex-boyfriend and how he keeps pestering Greta's family for some sort of information as to her whereabouts. That obviously plays out in the end, with Cole, Greta's ex, going to where she works to bring her back home. Greta, believing the Brahms' doll to be possessed by his spirit, actually starts taking care of him after neglecting him at first and finding herself in situations where she feels that Brahms is trying to send her a message from...beyond, I guess. It somewhat works since Greta, before going to England, was pregnant with a child that she ended up losing during one of Cole's benders. So she embraces her new role as a caretaker as she can understand why the Heelshires would create a doll of their dead son, to deal with the grief of losing him. The film has a twist and it's not exactly the most unique one nor is it the most surprising one, you can figure it out fairly easily, but at the very least it makes some sort of sense in its own context at least. It wouldn't make much sense in a real-life setting, but this is a horror movie, fuck realism. Though, if we're really thinking about it, like what's the fucking point of going out and getting a doll. The film would've worked much better if the Heelshires, Brahms' parents, were just speaking to someone that wasn't there. I think it would've led to a more suspenseful film for when Greta started hearing a child's voice or footsteps during her stay. Yes, the alternative is a little basic and generic, but I don't know, I felt that having the doll there hurt the movie more than it benefited it. For marketing purposes, it's better to have a creepy doll than just...nothing to promote the flick with, but I felt that this would've been better with a different approach. Then again, I can't judge the film for what I wanted it to be. I have to judge it for what it is. It's not like what I pointed out really affects my opinion of it that much, I just felt it was worth pointing out. This movie is below average. Lauren Cohan is pretty decent in this movie and she is absolutely gorgeous, but that's not reason enough to recommend this mediocre film. Google pictures of Lauren and I guarantee you that that will be more satisfying than this flick.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 25, 2016
    The Boy is a creepy and suspenseful horror film. The story follows an American nanny who's hired by a wealthy English couple to look after a porcelain doll named Brahms, who they treat as a surrogate son after having lost their real son in a fire; but when the nanny neglects to properly care for the doll strange things begin to happen. Lauren Cohan leads the cast and gives an especially strong performance. And the script is well constructed, particularly in how it sets up the plot and builds mystery around the doll. However, the pacing can be kind of slow at times and some parts of the plot don't quite work. Still, while it may seem like a typical possessed doll type film, The Boy delivers a few chilling surprises.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 25, 2016
    Simply named 'The Boy', this is a horror film all about a boy...or should I say a doll in which the family looking after the doll believe it is their dead son and as they leave for a while, they need a nanny to look after him. Now after watching the trailer, I was hoping this would be good and I can say the first 2/3rds of the film is creepy, suspenseful and mysterious. The problem is the film then takes a twist, it takes a gamble and it just doesn't work. It didn't need a twist, it was creepy enough and director William Brent Bell took an unnecessary turn which unfortunately did not pay off. The acting is so-so as one would expect from a low budget horror film and the lighting was not particularly used well as some shots were incredibly dark that I couldn't see anything. In conclusion, a great start but a rubbish ending that unfortunately ruins the film...bit of a shame really.
    Luke A Super Reviewer

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