THE BOY

Liv­ing Doll

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Ian Ber­ri­man

re­leased OUT NOW! 2016 | 15 | Blu-ray/dvd Di­rec­tor Wil­liam Brent Bell Cast lau­ren Co­han, ru­pert evans, Jim Nor­ton, diana Hard­cas­tle

This hor­ror comes across like an ex­treme spin on My Fake Baby, a 2007 BBC doc­u­men­tary on the phe­nom­e­non of “re­borns” – ul­tra­real­is­tic dolls that are some­times bought by be­reaved par­ents to com­fort them­selves.

The Walk­ing Dead’s Lau­ren Co­han plays Greta, an Amer­i­can nanny taken aback to dis­cover that her new ward Brahms is not a real boy but a porce­lain doll. Twenty years ago her em­ploy­ers lost their eight-year-old son to a fire; since then, this sim­u­lacra’s taken his place in their af­fec­tions. They promptly leave it alone with Greta, who be­comes in­creas­ingly con­vinced it’s be­come the ves­sel for the dis­turbed boy’s spirit.

A spir­i­tual heir to evil ven­tril­o­quist’ s-doll flicks of yore, The Boy doesn’t ex­actly bear close anal­y­sis – quite where such an un­canny cre­ation came from is just one of sev­eral glar­ing unan­swered ques­tions. But creepy it un­de­ni­ably is, es­pe­cially once a weird psy­cho­sex­ual un­der­cur­rent swells (it seems Brahms may have a thing for Greta). There are a hand­ful of de­cent jump scares, and the au­da­cious fi­nal act twist, which turns every­thing on its head, is quite some­thing – if you can ig­nore the fact that it doesn’t make a scrap of sense.

Ex­tras Two brief pro­mo­tional fea­turettes (three min­utes).

Screen­writer Stacey Min­ear says the end­ing was in­spired by two weird ’70s hor­rors: The Baby and Bad Ron­ald.

Young Tim got a lit­tle tense be­fore the prom.

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