Poor Greta (The Walking Dead‘s Lauren Cohen). All she wanted was to flee an abusive boyfriend in the States and take a break across the pond. You know, take a job as a nanny in a majestic, completely remote manor house out in the middle of nowhere England. Earn a bunch of money in a short time, and be unfindable.
The elderly parents of the kid in question seem a bit stuffy and earnest. The mother practically touches her pearls in shock when she finds that Greta let herself into the house and politely left her shoes in the hallway. Frumpy dad may as well smooth out his tweed and puff on his pipe in sympathy. But as long as their young son Brahms likes the new nanny, they are fine, which they prove by abruptly darting away on a long vacation as soon as Brahms discreetly voices his approval.
The thing is, the boy is a doll. Not like, aw, isn’t he sweet? He is an actual, porcelain-faced, full-sized boy-doll. Even Greta knows this whole thing is a bit ridiculous. That is, until she gets a wad of cash for her first week’s work. Heck, hauling around a doll-kid, changing its clothes, and kissing it goodnight is not a bad way to earn some good, easy money while you are regrouping in solitude. Greta even deigns to not follow the strict “rules” of his care left for her… after all, she is the only one around, right? That is until shit starts moving around, and she hears the pitter-patter of little feet from the other side of the door in the middle of the night.
Yes, it is that kind of movie.
The Boy is one of those movies that relies on a combination of the inherent wrongness of the situation (yes, Brahms, with his perfect but vaguely realistic porcelain face would kind of freak me out), with a mystery intended to keep you guessing. Is the whole thing a practical joke? Is the house haunted? Is Greta the one who is actually unhinged?
Ultimately, like all of these types of movies, you either buy the “big reveal” or you don’t. I thought it was kind of meh. But until that point, The Boy is an enjoyably creepy and silly horror movie, which is exactly what it is supposed to be.