*I’m a little thick so seriously unexpected to me may have been extremely expected for other viewers.
I decided to have a little me night, planned to double feature Patrick Brice’s Creep movies, eat some nachos, have some popcorn – it would be good shit, right? The Creep movies are great and two of my favourite horror movies so I was buzzed to watch them. For some reason, though, I decided to ask Twitter what movie to watch via poll, and in that poll I actually misspelled the word “Creep” as “creem.” Anyway, that poll told me to watch Filth, but Netflix took that particular away from me and I couldn’t really be arsed getting the DVD from the other room. So I decided to watch the poll’s second place winner, the Boy, a movie I did not have any expectations for, high or otherwise.
The Boy came out in 2016 and when I first saw the trailer I was kinda intrigued, but the intrigue wore fast when I figured that it seemed like a pretty generic horror. I’m not really interested in generic horror. I mean, it’s generic. Why would I be interested?
Generic is what it sort of is in its first two acts.
The plotline is as follows: Greta is an American woman trying to live a new life after a breakup with an obsessive and abusive partner, Cole. She gets her hands on a job in the UK from the extremely British Mr and Mrs Heelshire and meets them and their grocery delivery man Malcom, who has feeling for her. The Heelshires introduce Greta to their son, Brahms, who surprises Greta. She is surprised because he is not a young, living, breathing boy as she suspected, but rather a pale, porcelain doll with an icy, constant gaze. When the Heelshire’s leave, Greta is at first dismissive of Brahms the doll and his needs, but when she hears noises and sees him move, she realises that Brahms is an entity to take seriously.
In Greta, the Boy presents an interesting, kind of complex character who just seems to lack development. She is dealing with the aftermath of an abusive relationship and though she seems solid and confident in her decision to stay separated from her ex, she softens when he eventually finds and confronts her. In this, the Boy gives us a realistic depiction of what victims in abusive relationships can be like; with some distance, they can understand the wrong behaviour of their partner, but when the victim is met with their abuser, the victim may still be susceptible to the abuser’s manipulation and coercive behaviour. Greta, face to face with Cole, seems to be aware of the threat he poses and is determined to not fall into his hands, but she is still soft and too kind in his presence, but also apprehensive.
We see that Greta has complicated relationships with other characters in the movie. She seems uninterested in Malcom at first as a romantic partner due to her being so freshly out of a bad relationship, but warms to him fast. He eventually kisses her after she tells him about her abusive relationship; she details physical abuse and a particular beating that led to her miscarrying her child. Malcom hears all of this and goes right in for a kiss regardless. That’s so bad! That’s so weird! So dodgy! This woman has just made herself so vulnerable to Malcom and he uses that to his advantage and kisses her anyway. Later that night, they begin to kiss and undress each other, falling into her bed together, until they are interrupted by Brahms’ music. Watching this, I considered this to either be very bad writing where an abused and vulnerable jumps right into bed with a man who is a near stranger, or semi-decent writing about a woman whose bad relationship will influence some perhaps less than smart decisions.
Despite all of that, which is interesting to consider, it doesn’t matter much in the end as there’s no real opportunity for Greta to develop. The end sees Greta and Malcom make their escape together after a pretty effortless victory on Greta’s behalf over the big bad. She is undoubtedly the hero, as she saves Malcom and singlehandedly defeats the villain. That’s all well and good but there’s just no development in her.
In that kind of regard, the movie shows a lot of promise, especially in the big bad and the twist.
As I said earlier, the first two acts were pretty generic but when Cole, Greta’s abusive ex, smashes Brahms’ porcelain head into absolute wee bits, something unexpected happens. The house starts to quake and the real life Brahms smashes his way through a mirror, emerges from inside the walls and fucking murders Cole to death. Greta and Malcom believed that the real Brahms had died twenty years prior to the movies beginning but when a masked, bearded figure emerges from the walls, they know exactly who it is.
Brahms, the human version, not the doll, is like this classic and great bad guy, I think. He speaks in a child’s voice until he gets properly riled up and then his adult man’s voice screams through the mask. Under his mask we see an untameable beard. He wears a cardigan and a tank top which looks dirty as all hell. At one point he gets up close and personal to Greta and all I could think is, ‘fuck, that must smell horrid.’ At no point after his arrival is his mask removed; neither Greta or Malcom even try to remove it, they just want to get the fuck away from him.
I really fucking loved the twist. In the two years that this movie has been out, I haven’t seen anything that would have spoiled the twist and I’m so happy about that. I really hope no one reading this hasn’t seen it, because it’s a good twist. I keep saying that, but it’s true. Good twist. Fuck yeah.
But again, the movie saw us a glimpse of a great villain but that was it. He behaved in the presence of Greta because he was obsessively in love with her, but then she betrayed him and tried to kill him. By the movies end, we see that he is still alive and has repaired the porcelain version of himself.
For its lack of development, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to the Boy which actually says a lot seeing as I actually really don’t like sequels, especially in horror. I see them mostly as cash grabs and pointless and as dumb things that ruin their predecessors. Regardless, I saw enough of Greta, Malcom and Brahms to be interested, but not enough to be satisfied. Since Brahms is still alive and Greta’s fate is up in the air, a sequel may be well received. It didn’t get the warmest critical reception though, so we might not ever get that sequel.
For a horror, it wasn’t really scary or tense even but its interesting characters and twist saved it regardless.
What else is there to say about this? Oh, yeah, there’s the old Heelshire couple; Brahms’ parents. There are so many questions about them! Why did they hide Brahms’ death? Did they even know that he was alive? Why did they cling so vehemently to the doll? Why did they kill themselves? Why did they leave their son? By the way, Mrs Heelshire is a FREAK!! She calls her husband Daddy in like, every time she addresses him. I can get the fuck behind an old freaky lady like that. But yeah, again, a lot of questions.
I guess if I saw that there were to be a sequel or prequel for the Boy, I would actually be interested and would definitely make an effort to see it. I’d rate this movie a 6.5/10.