The Boy (2016 film)

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The Boy
TheBoy 2016-OfficialPoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by William Brent Bell
Produced by
Written by Stacey Menear
Music by Bear McCreary
Cinematography Daniel Pearl
Edited by Brian Berdan
Distributed by STXfilms
Release date
  • January 22, 2016 (2016-01-22)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Language English
Budget $10 million[3]
Box office $64.2 million[4]

The Boy (previously known as The Inhabitant) is a 2016 horror film[5] 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.[2]


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. 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.

Initially, Greta ignores the rules and 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.

Elsewhere, the Heelshires write a goodbye letter to Brahms, then drown themselves.

Believing that Brahms' spirit lives within the doll, Greta begins to take the rules more seriously. After Greta demonstrates the doll's ability to move by itself, Malcolm 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.

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 of Brahms emerges. It is revealed to be the real Brahms who apparently survived the fire and now has been living in the passages behind the walls of the house. 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, but he throws her across the room and tries to choke her. While he's choking her 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.


  • 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.[8] The script was written by Stacey Menear.[8] 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.[6] On March 11, 2015, more cast was announced, which included Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle, Ben Robson, Rupert Evans, and James Russell.[7]

On March 10, 2015, principal photography on The Boy officially begun in Victoria, British Columbia, at Craigdarroch Castle, announced by the studios.[9] Filming wrapped a month later on April 12, 2015.[10]


On February 25, 2015, STX Entertainment acquired the US rights to the film and set the film for a February 5, 2016 release, but in March 2015 the film was moved up to January 22, 2016.[11][12]


Box office[edit]

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.[4]

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.[13] The film made $3.9 million on its first day and $10.8 million in its opening weekend, finishing 5th at the box office.[14]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 28% based on 58 reviews, and an average rating of 4.3/10.[15] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 42 out of 100 based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[14]

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."[17] Chris Alexander of ShockTilYouDrop called it "one of the best contemporary wide-release horror movies I've seen in years."[18] A reviewer for The Wrap wrote the "Scary-Doll Horror Flick Is Creepy and Clever".[19]

In 2017, GQ Magazine called it, "The most underrated horror movie of 2016." [20]


  1. ^ "THE BOY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. February 9, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Boy (2015)". British Film Institute. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Can 'The Revenant' Beat Back 3 Newcomers to Finally Top Box Office?". 
  4. ^ a b "The Boy (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 
  5. ^ "The Boy (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 11, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Kit, Borys (January 23, 2015). "'Walking Dead' Star to Headline Horror Film 'The Boy' (Exclusive)". Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Ford, Rebecca (March 11, 2015). "Lakeshore, STX Entertainment's Horror Film 'The Boy' Sets Cast (Exclusive)". Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Busch, Anita (July 14, 2014). "'Devil Inside' Helmer William Brent Bell Set To Direct 'The Inhabitant'". Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  9. ^ Lesnick, Silas (March 10, 2015). "Production Begins on The Boy, Starring Lauren Cohan". Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ FilmL.A. (June 2017). "2016 Feature Film Study" (PDF). Retrieved June 14, 2018. 
  11. ^ Lang, Brent (February 25, 2015). "STX Entertainment Dates Films With Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, Jason Blum". Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  12. ^ "STX Entertainment will now release THE BOY on January 22, 2016". Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  13. ^ "'Revenant' Hunts #1 Amid Newcomers, '5th Wave', 'The Boy' and 'Dirty Grandpa'". 
  14. ^ a b "'The Revenant' No. 1, 'Ride Along' Skids On Ice". 
  15. ^ "The Boy (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 11, 2017. 
  16. ^ "The Boy reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  17. ^ Leydon, Joe. "'The Boy' Review: A Tepid Horror Movie". 
  18. ^ Alexander, Chris (23 January 2016). "The Boy is an Atmospheric, Wildly Gothic Gem". 
  19. ^ Chang, Inkoo (22 January 2016). "The Boy Review: Scary-Doll Horror Flick Is Creepy and Clever". 
  20. ^ Phillip, Tom (31 May 2017). "This Week, Watch The Most Underrated Horror Movie of 2016". 

External links[edit]