The Boy (2016 film)

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The Boy
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Brent Bell
Written byStacey Menear
Produced by
CinematographyDaniel Pearl
Edited byBrian Berdan
Music byBear McCreary
Distributed bySTX Entertainment (United States)
Huayi Brothers (China)
Release dates
  • January 20, 2016 (2016-01-20) (Los Angeles, California)
  • January 22, 2016 (2016-01-22) (United States)
  • April 1, 2016 (2016-04-01) (China)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Budget$10 million[3]
Box office$64.2 million[4]

The Boy is a 2016 horror film[5] directed by William Brent Bell and written by Stacey Menear. The film stars Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans. It is an international co-production between China and the United States.[2] Filming began on March 10, 2015, in Victoria, British Columbia. STXfilms released The Boy in the United States on January 22. The film grossed $64 million worldwide on a $10 million budget. A sequel, Brahms: The Boy II, was released on February 21, 2020.


Greta Evans travels to the United Kingdom after being hired as a nanny by the elderly Heelshires. The couple introduce Greta to her charge. The Heelshires coach Greta on taking care of Brahms and their house while they are on holiday.

Greta ignores the rules. She regularly calls her sister, who tells her that Greta's abusive ex-boyfriend Cole has been trying to find out where she is. Malcolm stops by often, and Greta learns that the real Brahms was killed in a fire 20 years ago on his eighth birthday. Malcolm asks Greta out, and she accepts. Her dress and jewelry vanish while she is in the shower. She finds photographs of young Brahms and in each of them he looks sullen and never smiles. She explains to Malcolm what happened, and they discuss the real Brahms, whom Malcolm says Mr. Heelshire described as "odd".

Strange events occur. Greta locks herself in her room. She then finds a peanut butter and jelly sandwich outside her door and the child's voice promises he will be good. Greta begins to take the rules seriously.

She realizes that the doll only moves when she isn't in the room with him. He informs Greta that a girl Brahms was friends with was found in the forest with her skull crushed. The Heelshires' house was burnt down with him in it. Malcolm warns her not to stay, but Greta feels obligated to care for Brahms. The Heelshires write a goodbye letter to Brahms before drowning themselves.

Cole arrives. Malcolm stays nearby. Greta asks the doll for help. Cole wakes up and sees a message written in blood telling him to leave. He angrily smashes the doll to pieces. The house begins to shake and they hear noises behind the walls. The mirror explodes. Brahms kills Cole, then turns on Malcolm and Greta.

Greta and Malcolm discover Brahms' room. Brahms knocks out Malcolm. Greta is able to escape the house but returns to save Malcolm. She invokes the rules and forces Brahms to bed. He asks for a good night kiss. Brahms tries to choke her but she pushes the weapon in deeper and he collapses. Greta rescues Malcolm and they escape the house.

Someone is seen repairing the doll on the stairs.




Craigdarroch Castle, used as the filming location for The Boy

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 members were announced, including Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle, Ben Robson, Rupert Evans and James Russell.[7]


On March 10, 2015, principal photography on The Boy officially began in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, at Craigdarroch Castle.[9] Filming was completed 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 release of 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 $28.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $64.2 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 fifth at the box office.[14]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 30% based on 64 reviews and an average rating of 4.50/10. 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."[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 review for The Wrap stated that the "scary-doll horror flick is creepy and clever".[19]

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


By October 2018, it was announced that a sequel was in development.[21] 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 follows the story of the youngest son finding the porcelain doll, and befriending Brahms. William Brent Bell and Stacey Menear returned as director and screenwriter, respectively. Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Eric Reid, Matt Berenson, Jim Wedaa and Roy Lee served as producers.[22] It was released on February 21, 2020.[23][24][25]

See also[edit]


  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. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  3. ^ "Can 'The Revenant' Beat Back 3 Newcomers to Finally Top Box Office?". 19 January 2016.
  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 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". 25 January 2016.
  15. ^ "The Boy (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  16. ^ "The Boy reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  17. ^ Leydon, Joe (22 January 2016). "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".
  21. ^ "Katie Holmes in Victoria to film horror movie sequel". 28 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Katie Holmes to Lead Horror Sequel the Boy 2". 23 October 2018.
  23. ^ "The Boy 2". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  24. ^ "'Brahms: The Boy II' Will Now Haunt Theaters on February 21, 2020 - Bloody Disgusting". 16 October 2019.
  25. ^ Squires, John (March 6, 2019). "STX Films Bringing Brahms Back to the Big Screen in 'The Boy 2' This Summer". Retrieved March 6, 2019.

External links[edit]