Movie Review: "The Boy"

Updated on May 30, 2020
Movie Beasts profile image

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

The Boy

Theatrical Release: 1/22/2016
Theatrical Release: 1/22/2016 | Source


Greta (Lauren Cohan) has taken a new job as a nanny. The family that hired her lives in a remote English village, and they are extremely wealthy. Greta is aware that the couple is a bit old to be parents, but she is absolutely shocked when she learns that the “boy” she will be required to take care of is actually a life-sized doll that looks like boy. It is very bizarre, but the couple is extremely wealthy, so they will pay very well. Besides, how hard could the job be?

The couple believes the doll is their son, treats it as such, and expects Greta to do the same. This means she will need to feed the doll, groom the doll, and even socialize with it. Greta finds it really weird, but she will have the rich family’s mansion to herself during the day, and she only needs to pretend the doll is a real boy while the couple is around, which is not often. However, she quickly learns that something mysterious is going on. When she is not looking, things happen that she cannot explain. The doll seems to change its position or location, and the food that she gives the doll seems to disappear. These things are strange, and may sound harmless, but these strange occurrences are only the beginning. As a result, a terrified Greta starts to believe she may be in danger.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
The Mystery (+5pts)
The Setup (-3pts)
Lauren Cohan (+3pts)
The Scares (-4pts)
The Ending (+4pts)
The Logistics (-3pts)
All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

Pro: The Mystery (+5pts)

This filmmakers focused on the mysterious aspect of this story, as opposed to focusing solely on the horror. Greta is alone in this mansion quite a bit, and strange things are happening. What are the extent of the doll's abilities? Is it friendly, albeit creepy? Is it dangerous? What happened to the family's son, and how much danger is Greta in?

These all seem like simple questions, but the filmmakers did a great job at making it all feel very mysterious. Despite everything that Greta was figuring out, I always had the impression that there was something more to learn. I always felt like there was another discovery to be made, and this curiosity kept me invested in this story. The doll was creepy, the parents were creepy, and I always felt like they were hiding some dark secret. Simply put, I enjoyed following Greta through this mysterious and bizarre experience.


Con: The Setup (-3pts)

I thought the premise could have worked really well. However, I did not feel like the filmmakers did a very good job of setting it up. The idea is really creepy, and was effective for a horror-thriller like this. An older couple wants Greta to be the nanny for the doll that they believe is their son. She agrees because of the money, and then creepy things start to happen.

One of my issues was that I did not feel that Greta was tied to this job. This was one of those movies where I kept wondering why the main character did not just up and leave. In other words, the filmmakers could have done a better job of explaining why she should stay. If you need your protagonist to stick around, give them a reason to do so. Otherwise, the character's obvious solution of simply walking away will feel like a blatant plot hole.


Pro: Lauren Cohan (+3pts)

I like Lauren Cohan, and have seen her handle some intense and dramatic scenes throughout The Walking Dead (back when I watched it). With that in mind, I knew Lauren Cohan could handle dramatic moments, as well as the intense moments that the horror genre can bring. I do not think this was a performance that will stick with anyone, but I do not think Lauren Cohan was the problem.

I felt like the character did not get enough development for Lauren Cohan to showcase her talents on the big screen. However, I think she did a decent enough job of carrying the movie along. I do not think she had the material to give a truly ground-breaking performance, but she delivered the performance that the movie needed her to. She brought the intensity, the fear, the creepiness, and even some comedy. This is all saying something when you remember that she spends a lot of the time acting by herself or acting opposite a doll (essentially acting by herself). Again, to be clear, this was not a ground-breaking performance (for reasons that I believe were out of her control), but Lauren Cohan delivered the performance that the movie needed from her.


Con: The Scares (-4pts)

The Boy was a horror-thriller that definitely leaned more toward being a thriller. Unfortunately, this largely due to the fact that the horror was lacking. The movie just was not scary at all, even though it tried to be. The filmmakers tried to deliver a few jump scares, but I saw them coming a mile away, so they were not very effective.

This movie worked, naturally, as a creepy thriller. The filmmakers tried to inject some horror, but I do not think these moments achieved the desired effect. There was certainly potential here, but I thought the filmmakers failed with its execution. I always felt like the movie was just on the precipice of shifting into scarier territory, but then it never jumped. It was a creepy, mysterious concept, but the horror felt very typical, almost like the filmmakers were holding back.


Pro: The Ending (+4pts)

I am not going to give anything away, but I liked where the filmmakers took this story. I have a feeling some people will not like it, but I did. This was an interesting mystery-thriller. Greta is trying to figure what on earth is going on, as it appears that the doll is possessed.

However, that cannot really be what is going on, can it? All Greta knows is that there are a lot of incidents involving the doll that she cannot explain. Again, I am not going to give anything away, but this is a thriller so you know the filmmakers are going to attempt some shocking reveal at the end of the movie, and the reveal in The Boy definitely felt unique. There were some logistics issues with the ending, if you start digging deeper into it, but I liked the direction that the filmmakers went in nonetheless.


Con: The Logistics (-3pts)

While I liked the direction that the filmmakers took the ending of this story in, the more you think about it, the less sense it makes. The whole thing becomes even weirder after the reveal, but it pokes a bunch of holes in the premise. Specifically, the question of why Greta was asked to be a nanny in the first place comes to mind. It was a decent reveal, but it raised a bunch of questions that I do not want to get into with too much detail to avoid spoilers. Just know that, while I liked the reveal, it challenges the entire setup of the movie if you start thinking about it.

Grading Scale


Grade: C+ (77pts)

The Boy had a pretty bizarre premise, but I liked the filmmakers’ decision to lean into the mystery of it. The movie is certainly more creepy and mysterious than it is scary. The few “scares” that were in here were the typical jump scares that you have come to expect from your average horror movie. Fortunately, the more mysterious aspect of the story worked for me.

The older couple always seemed to be hiding something, and the doll seemed to be possessed, but it is unclear how much danger Greta is in (if any at all). The whole thing was really creepy, but I wished I felt like Greta had to stay. As things were scaring her and freaking her out, I did not understand why she did not leave. Why stick around? It is a fairly common issue for horror movies, and it was certainly an issue (albeit a minor one) with The Boy. However, I did like the mystery element of the story, and I also enjoyed the direction the filmmakers took the mystery in at the end of the movie. I also thought Lauren Cohan did a decent enough job of carrying this movie, especially considering she spent a lot of time acting by herself. The movie could have been better, but I enjoyed it for what it was, an average horror-thriller.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)