The Boy (2015)

The-Boy-2015-08-14Hey guys, posted a day late I know, but here it is. This is for day 23 of my #31DaysOfHorror, and I appreciate the patience from all of you! Anyways, I hope you’re having a great October, and have maybe found a couple of movies you’ve enjoyed from these reviews. Here’s The Boy.

An intimate portrait of a 9-year-old sociopath’s growing fascination with death.

First and foremost, this is a real slow burn of a movie. If you’re not a fan of a slower movie, then I recommend passing on this one completely, because it takes its time and builds effectively, but without jump scares or loud noises. So, while this is a horror movie, it might not be what you’re looking for if you’ve gotten used to the loud, scare-a-second movies that have been coming around lately. The slow burn is actually what works best for this movie, so many movies about evil kids rely on jump scares and scary images, this one actually works harder to get under your skin, which I appreciated.

The movie is based on a short film, which is in tune (loosely) based on a novel (so many layers), the movie was written by director Craig Williams, and the writer of the novel, Clay Mcleod Chapman, and it appears to be the first feature from both of them. Apparently this movie is to be a part of a trilogy, and based on this film I feel pretty genuinely interested to see what comes next. The story is very effectively told, and keeps you engaged all the way through. Little things like watching Ted practice his smile, and his speeches about the rooms are pretty chilling moments in the movie. At times, it does feel like the story is checking boxes in the list of symptoms displayed by “sociopaths”, but I won’t fault the movie for that, because it probably won’t register if you don’t know those symptoms.

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Jared Breeze (Cooties) is excellent in this movie, he doesn’t do a lot of talking, and I think that is to his benefit. They really highlight his acting, by letting him play it pretty silent, Ryan Gosling in Drive style. You get the impression that he is still early in his sociopathy, because it does seem that he cares about his mother living, and really wants to join her in Flordia. As he carries on through the movie, he does become more and more detached. A stand out scene in particular for Breeze is a scene that culminates in him stomping a chicken (off camera), the rage feels so genuine and is a solid performance. As well as Breeze, there are great performances from Rainn Wilson (Cooties) and David Morse (The Green Mile), both do a great job and it’s nice to see Rainn Wilson in a more serious role. That said, his character does seem a bit undefined, and there is a sub plot added about his wife that only seems to be there to justify the ending. Morse is great, because he is always great, and you really do feel for him. He seems to be doing his best, and really cares for his son, but has fallen victim to alcoholism and depression. It’s a compelling and interesting performance, which adds a lot to this movie.

The movie is beautifully shot, and does a great job of working with what you don’t see, as well, it doesn’t shove sound cues and a heavy score in every square inch of the movie. There is a great soundtrack with some fabulous songs and a solid score, and there is a lot of juxtaposition of tones as well. I won’t get too specific, because the movie really is worth your time and I don’t want to get into too much spoiler territory if I can help it. The final scene is really stunning and disturbing, and works as a great cap for this movie. It does leave things open for the second film, but there is enough closure in the end that you can essentially guess where it’s going next. The violence in this movie, with the exception of a couple of scenes, is mostly off screen, though there is some road kill collection that might disturb the more squeamish among you. The animal cruelty isn’t shown, but the implications are pretty effective and disturbing.

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At the end of the day, the movie is slow and disturbing, but really effective. Plenty of great performances from start to finish, and something that could be really interesting as it continues. I wasn’t able to find a ton of information on the planned trilogy, but according to Wikipedia “A full trilogy is planned in which the lead character’s progress will be examined at the ages of 9, 13, and 18. The trilogy is not based on the book and is original material”. Sounds pretty great to me, and I’m really looking forward to what comes next.

RATING: *

If you enjoy my reviews, please follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the username @TheBarleyGuy. I often live-Tweet the movies that I watch, and always have all kinds of nonsense happening on Instagram. Thanks so much for reading, and for leaving feedback! 

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