The Boy (2016)

*. While I wasn’t expecting much out of this film I ended up liking it quite a bit. It’s so nice to say that. Today’s movies don’t all get me down.
*. The premise is very familiar in many ways. The young woman being left all alone in the ginormous, spooky old house. The creepy doll. The jump scares that turn out to be dreams and end with our heroine waking up in a sweat. The phone lines going dead, the power going out. The killer who is very hard to kill. The ending that leaves at least the theoretical possibility of a sequel. We’ve been here before many, many times.
*. But there are differences too. I thought the underlying story, with its genuinely surprising plot twist, was actually quite interesting and made . . . well, just enough sense. I won’t say it made a lot of sense, or was wholly credible, but I didn’t give up on it entirely. I’ve certainly seen much worse. I also liked that there were parallels drawn between the Heelshires and Greta and their psychological dependence on the Boy. It’s all pretty freaky, but I thought it worked.
*. I also liked the restraint. This isn’t a gory or particularly violent movie. Indeed, until the final act almost nothing happens at all.

*. Victoria’s Craigdarroch Castle is quite a pile, and I guess they needed a really massive old house for the plot to have any credibility, but the place seems so extravagant it almost takes away from the creepiness.
*. It’s borderline comedy how Greta keeps that towel on all the time she’s investigating the attic. She must have wrapped it pretty tight!
*. No, this isn’t one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in the last few years. There are a few too many clichés indulged in, and the ending seems not to have concerned anyone. But it was better than I thought it was going to be and was decent enough in its own right.

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