The Boy (2016 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Brent Bell|
|Written by||Stacey Menear|
|Music by||Bear McCreary|
|Edited by||Brian Berdan|
|Box office||$64.1 million|
The Boy is a 2016 horror film directed by William Brent Bell and written by Stacey Menear. The film stars Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans. Filming began on March 10, 2015, in Victoria, British Columbia. The film was released by STXfilms on January 22, 2016. It is an international co-production between China and the United States.
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Greta Evans, a young American from Montana, is hired as a nanny by the Heelshires. Upon arriving in their small town in the United Kingdom, the elderly couple show Greta her charge: a porcelain doll named Brahms that they treat like their son. They then close the doors behind them so that they can ask Brahms if he wants Greta as his babysitter. The old couple come out and say that Brahms agreed despite having "rejected" many previous babysitters. Over the next day, the couple coach Greta on taking care of Brahms and their house, leave her a list of rules to follow, then leave for a holiday. The rules include reading to Brahms in a loud, clear voice, playing loud music for him, and putting his food in the freezer if he doesn't eat it. It also includes setting up rat traps outside, to make sure the rats don't get inside the house's walls.
Initially, Greta ignores the rules about the doll and follows her own routine. She regularly calls her sister Sandy, who tells her that her abusive ex-boyfriend Cole has been trying to find out where she is.
Malcolm, the local grocery dealer, stops by to deliver groceries, and Greta learns that the real Brahms was killed in a fire 20 years ago on his eighth birthday. Greta accepts Malcolm's offer to show her the town, and prepares for the date. However, her dress and jewelry vanish while she is in the shower, and she is lured to the attic by strange noises and locked in.
She is mysteriously let out the next morning. She explains to Malcolm what happened, and they briefly discuss the real Brahms, whom Malcolm said Mr. Heelshire described as "odd."
Strange things begin to happen: a child's sobs are heard in the hallways, phone calls are cut off, and the doll seems to move on its own, vanishing and reappearing elsewhere in the house. After receiving a phone call in which a child's voice urges her to follow the rules, Greta locks herself in her room. She later finds a peanut butter and jelly sandwich outside her door. Believing that Brahms' spirit lives within the doll, Greta begins to take the rules more seriously. Remembering that the Heelshires said Brahms was shy, Greta realizes that the doll only moves when she isn't in the room with him. She shows Malcolm that the doll can move on by itself, and he becomes worried. He informs Greta that the real Brahms was friends with a young girl about his age. One day, she was found in the forest with her skull crushed. Before the police could question Brahms, the Heelshires' house was burned down with him in it. Malcolm warns Greta not to stay in the house, but Greta, having previously suffered a miscarriage after she was beaten by Cole, feels obligated to care for Brahms.
Elsewhere, the Heelshires write a goodbye letter to Brahms, then drown themselves.
One evening, Cole abruptly appears in the house and announces his intention to bring Greta back home, by force if necessary. Malcolm makes an early delivery and decides to stay nearby. As she puts Brahms to sleep, Greta asks Brahms for help. Cole wakes up and sees a message written in blood urging him to leave. Believing it was done by either Greta or Malcolm, Cole angrily snatches the doll from Greta and smashes it.
The house begins to shake and the lights start flickering. Cole hears noises behind a mirror and investigates. The mirror explodes and knocks Cole to the ground. A strange voice calls Greta's name from the hole behind the mirror and a grown man wearing a porcelain mask identical to the doll's face emerges. It is revealed to be Brahms. Brahms apparently survived the fire and now has been living in the passages behind the walls of the house, the rules being in place so that Brahms could get food and hear through the walls. Brahms attacks and kills Cole, then turns on Malcolm and Greta.
A chase ensues throughout the house. Greta and Malcolm discover Brahms' room while trying to find an exit. A doll made from Greta's missing dress, hair and jewelry is in Brahms' bed. Greta finds the final letter from the Heelshires revealing their plan of leaving Greta as a mate for Brahms. Brahms catches them and severely beats Malcolm, threatening to kill him if Greta leaves.
Greta flees anyway, but then she returns with the intention of saving Malcolm. Arming herself with a screwdriver, Greta invokes the rules to force Brahms to go to bed. He asks for a good night kiss, and when he tries to kiss her, she stabs him with the screwdriver. Brahms throws Greta across the room and tries to choke her, but she pushes the screwdriver deeper into his organs and he collapses. Greta drags Malcolm to his car and sighs with relief as they leave the estate.
Later, Brahms, who has survived, is seen repairing the shattered doll.
- Lauren Cohan as Greta Evans
- Rupert Evans as Malcolm
- Jim Norton as Mr. Heelshire
- Diana Hardcastle as Mrs. Heelshire
- Ben Robson as Cole
- Jett Klyne as young Brahms Heelshire
- James Russell as adult Brahms Heelshire
- Lily Pater as Emily Cribbs
On July 14, 2014, it was announced that The Devil Inside's director William Brent Bell was set to direct a supernatural thriller, The Inhabitant, which Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi would produce through Lakeshore Entertainment, along with Roy Lee, Matt Berenson, Jim Wedaa, through Vertigo Entertainment. The script was written by Stacey Menear. On January 23, 2015, Lauren Cohan signed on to star for the lead role in the film, which by then had been retitled The Boy. On March 11, 2015, more cast was announced, which included Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle, Ben Robson, Rupert Evans, and James Russell.
On March 10, 2015, principal photography on The Boy officially began in Victoria, British Columbia, at Craigdarroch Castle, announced by the studios. Filming wrapped a month later on April 12, 2015.
The Boy grossed $35.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $32.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $68.2 million, against a production budget of $10 million.
The film was released in the United States on January 22, 2016, alongside Dirty Grandpa and The 5th Wave, and was projected to gross $10–13 million from 2,671 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $3.9 million on its first day and $10.8 million in its opening weekend, finishing 5th at the box office.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 30% based on 61 reviews and an average rating of 4.4/10. The site's consensus reads "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." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 42 out of 100 based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.
Joe Leydon criticized the average story line in Variety and commented, "Despite game efforts by the cast, this tepid horror opus is never scary enough to overcome its silly premise." Chris Alexander of ShockTilYouDrop called it "one of the best contemporary wide-release horror movies I've seen in years." A reviewer for The Wrap wrote the "Scary-Doll Horror Flick Is Creepy and Clever".
By October 2018, it was announced that a sequel was in development. Katie Holmes was cast to play Liza, the mother of a young family who, unaware of the dark history, move into the Heelshire Mansion. The premise will follow the story of the youngest son finding the porcelain doll, and befriending Brahms. William Brent Bell and Stacey Menear will return as director and screenwriter, respectively. Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Eric Reid, Matt Berenson, Jim Wedaa and Roy Lee will serve as producers. It is scheduled to be released on February 21, 2020.
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