Tuesday, February 9, 2016

It's No Bride of Chucky, or I Watched The Boy, So You Don’t Have To

I had such high hopes for The Boy (2016), it had a fantastic trailer that gave me actual goose bumps.  That’s right, I was scared enough to have a physical reaction, and that never happens.
The trailer starts out with your typical English country manor.  Lauren from the Walking Dead has a job interview with a nice older couple.  She’s a nanny.  They introduce him to their son: he’s a life-size doll.  The father hands her a typewritten set of rules that flash across the screen: Don’t Cover His Face, Never Leave Him Alone and Don’t Forget to Feed Him.  She takes a shower, and the doll’s missing!  She leaves him on the floor in the library and draws a chalk outline around him.  She returns and the doll’s gone!  But no, he’s hiding behind the door!  (This is where I got the shivers and decided I needed to see this movie).  “They found her body in the woods,” somebody explains in a voiceover.  Quick cuts to the doll on a rocking chair, sitting on the bed looking at her, a doorknob turns, mirrors get smashed and Lauren gets thrown across the room!
The creepy manor in the English countryside was actually filmed in lovely Victoria, BC.  That’s your first indication that this movie is going to go off the rails, this is not a UK production.  The Brits are so much better at slow burn gothic ghost stories; it’s their genre.  Brahms, the titular boy is a porcelain doll with an impassive face with the look of a newly manufactured antique reproduction.  The movie goes on to explain that the old couple never got over the death of their actual son and living in seclusion, got lost in a mutual madness.  Brahms is a coping mechanism; they go off on a much needed vacation and Lauren Cohan as Greta is left alone in an empty, unfamiliar house.  She has bad dreams.  There are mysterious noises and storms in the night.  She begins finding Brahms in odd places and meets a friendly, conveniently handsome delivery boy played by Rupert Evans.
Greta settles in and completely ignores the rules, which I find problematic.  I mean, if an eccentric millionaire hires you to care for their doll collection, and that involves dressing and feeding them, you have an obligation to actually do what they’re paying you for.  That’s your job.  Instead she talks on the phone, plays music and enjoys the free rent.  At that point, you’re just asking for trouble.
There are never any real scares to be found in a PG-13 movie.  Violence and language is limited, and everyone’s so worried about being offensive.  I found the ending unsatisfactory and indifferent, and felt somehow disappointed and cheated because i had been so impressed with the trailer.  The movie suffers from a lack of direction and commitment to the genre, which is an indication to me of too many writers and far too much input from focus groups and producers.
Additionally, it’s always a bad sign when a movie is released in January.  It inevitably means the studio has no faith in it, and is releasing the film to the smallest amount of screens in the slowest month of the year out of contractual obligations.   I knew all of this going into the theater.  But the trailer was so good, and it was Maggie from Walking Dead, so how could I resist?

I guess I’m more like Glenn than I realized.


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.