Cert: 15 / 97 mins / Dir. William Brent Bell / Trailer
Oh, you know you're in a fantasy-version of England when the driver of a black-cab lets his passenger sleep in the back seat, rather than spending the entire journey complaining about cyclists and/or immigration as soon as the 'been busy?' pleasantries have been dealt with. He also gets out of the car and opens the gates to the film's stately home setting before driving up to the porch, rather than just pulling the handbrake and waiting for the meter to click up before even touching the door unlock mechanism.
Yes, welcome to Creepye Englande where an unfeasibly attractive young American Nanny (Lauren Cohan) is escaping a turbulent past by spending the summer babysitting Brahms (a haunted porcelain doll) while his parents (Diana Hardcastle and Len! from out of Father Ted) go on holiday for Plot Reasons. All that's there to keep her company is the local greengrocer (the unfeasibly understanding Rupert Evans) and every sinister item you'd expect to find in a country home with its own sinister history. So turn the volume right down and we'll bang it straight back up when there's a spooky face to show you!
The Boy is not so much A Horror Film as a case-study of their prominent features. Every trope of the haunted mansion, from the taxidermied animals and glaring portraits to the faulty electrics and reasons to go poking around photo albums in the attic is ploughed mercilessly and without a shred of irony or restraint. On a purely technical level it wouldn't be a 'bad' film if it wasn't so consistently laughable. There are plenty of jumps in the run-time, just no surprises. A Third-Act-Reveal™ tries to up the ante, but only comes across as a comical attempt to restore some credibility to the screenplay (and naturally, has the opposite effect).
Much like Annabelle, the ostebsible goal seems to have been seeing how much could be achieved with an inanimate object, some camera movement and a wide-eyed actress doing all the heavy-lifting. In all fairness, the Walking Dead star is the main draw here so it's only right that she should be saddled with trying to deliver her lines without laughing. Fans of Lauren Cohan will not be disappointed, although the scenes with her in varying states of undress lead me to suspect that this was the real point of the project.
The film does what it says on the tin and will be warming the £3 shelf in your nearest Sainsbury's before you know it. The only horrible feeling that The Boy left me with is that the entire thing - from concept to execution to the straight faces of the cast and marketing department - is a meticulously calculated joke. Mainly played on the audience.
The worst bit? Come on, the kid died in 1991. You'd think he'd have a Gameboy or some Thundercats knocking around, instead of all those clowns and wooden cars and shit. No wonder he's livid...
Every lacklustre horror flick of the last ten years.
Not at all.
Level 2: Len! out of Father Ted was in an episode of L.A. Law along with Jimmy 'Organa' Smits.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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