Before the movie even begins, the perfect intense horror mood is set during the credits. Visually stunning and very simple, so you’ll find yourself getting drawn into the universe before a word has been spoken. And for me, it’s the most wonderful experience when I find myself noticing how gorgeous the score is just as the credit “Music by Bear McCreary” comes up on the screen. I wish that man could score the soundtrack to my entire life – though I really don’t want it to be anything like the life Greta Evans lives in The Boy.
Greta Evans is portrayed by Lauren Cohan (best known as Maggie on The Walking Dead) and she’s perfect in the role. A young woman trying to escape her life, to take charge of her future, but still being the girl next door with a heart of gold and a “don’t mess with me” attitude that doesn’t seem cold or forced. She’s joined mostly by Rupert Evans (The Canal), who brings a real warmth to the story with his off-beat charming ways and sincerity. Cohan and Evans (the actor, not the lead character) work really well together, which is important since they’re the only two living characters for the majority of the movie. Though really, this is Lauren Cohan’s movie all the way, and even when she’s acting only with a porcelain doll, she’s working every angle of the story perfectly.
What really works for The Boy – besides the actors – is the charismatic backdrop of the gorgeous old British house, which excudes both a warmth and comfort, but at the same time seems cold and foreign. I was convinced it had to be filmed somewhere in the UK, so I was both disappointed and impressed to learn it was shot not in Britain, but in British Columbia, Canada. Ahh yes, the power of movie magic. Of course, as it’s the case with any movie, there’s no chance of success if the story and script isn’t at least half-way decent. In this case, I was surprised in so many ways and all of them good.
I like to guess what’s going to happen and I’m usually pretty good at guessing the direction – if not the entire plot – ahead of time. When it came to The Boy, however, I was caught completely off guard several times. Whenever I found myself thinking “Oh come on, that’s just stupid” – which did happen a few times – then something would happen to explain it all, and I had to surrender to the story again. And let me tell you, I love being proved wrong, because it means the movie makers are doing everything right to keep the real secrets and plot twists from me!
Directed by William Brent Bell, who directed the horror movie The Devil Inside back in 2012. An amazing example of truly excellent marketing bringing in the audience to watch a truly bad movie – sorry, I hate to hate, but I was so disappointed in that movie. This time around, I was very pleasantly surprised instead as The Boy turned out to be so much more than I imagined and expected. A very elegant horror script by Stacey Menear made sure that this movie had a great premise to begin with. This was Menear’s debut, but he has had a script called Mixtape on the “Black List”, which is a list of the best unproduced scripts of the year.
One very important thing about The Boy is that you should really avoid spoilers. You do not want to know the backstory before watching the movie. Just sit back and enjoy the story that unfolds – and there are some good jump scares, which works really well!
The Boy is out on VOD now with a DVD and Blu-ray release set for May 10, 2016 in the US.