I don’t really ‘get’ horror movies.
Most of the time they are pretty poorly written, rely heavily on sudden sharp stings of incidental music to make people in the audience jump and just aren’t scary.
I remember going to see The Descent – which in fairness is a pretty good film because of its plot rather than its genre – with a group of friends and was stunned by some of the reactions. For one thing, one of my friends – and I know he’ll read this and will inevitably comment on it on Facebook – actually let out a loud scream. Incredible. Meanwhile, another one turned to my brother and said “Aww man, this is the scariest film I’ve ever seen”.
I don’t get it. What you’re seeing on-screen cannot hurt you, so why do people get scared?
There’s only ever been one example of a movie making me jump and raising my heart rate and that was Rear Window. The direction in that film is so good that it makes you feel like you are the one watching Raymond Burr from across the street, and when he finally realises he’s being watched, it’s like he’s looking directly at you. That’s class.
But yeah, generally horror movies don’t achieve what they set out to as far as I’m concerned.
Still though, I’m always up for a well written movie and for giving things a chance, so I went along to see The Boy last night.
Alas, the one thing this wasn’t was well written.
What’s It About?
The synopsis for The Boy reads like this…
“A young American named Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy in a remote English village. To her surprise, Greta learns that the child of her new employers is a life-size doll. They care for the doll as if it was human, which helps the couple to cope with the death of their own son 20 years earlier. When Greta violates a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring her worst fears to life, leading her to believe that the doll is alive.”
What’s It Really About?
If I was writing an honest synopsis I would say…
“A mentally unstable American woman takes a job nannying for a ceramic puppet in England. Despite obvious alarm bells – such as how the aged, weary ‘parents’ of the ceramic boy are obviously insane and on edge and how it’s…you know…a highly complicated and suspiciously well paid nannying job for a fucking puppet in a house cut off from society in a foreign country – she doesn’t cut her losses and leave. Indeed, even as the mother of the puppet whispers to her “I’m so sorry” as they leave the house forever, she still has no issues with sticking around.
While she initially ignores the long list of daily chores based on keeping the puppet happy, she becomes slightly disturbed by the way it seems to have changed positions and slightly moved while she’s out of the room. Then something appears to move her dress and lock her in the attic. At this point, rather than locking the puppet in a cupboard, destroying the puppet or just leaving, she decides to stick around while petrified. That makes no sense.
Then when faced with conclusive proof that the puppet does seem to be moving, instead of once again destroying the puppet or just leaving (after all, how much harm can a puppet do even if it is
sentient?) she sees that as a sign to stick around and parent it. O…..kay then.
After all of that, the last 15 minutes are the result of the writer seemingly lacking a proper ending and thinking “Fuck it, this’ll do” . I won’t spoil it, but it’s just ridiculous.
So I’d have phrased that synopsis slightly differently.
Really, this is just a stupid film that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There are so many times when common sense decision-making would have seen the film end in a rational and sensible manner after 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 minutes, but alas, there was no common sense on display from Greta.
And therefore it couldn’t be taken seriously. Even if we allow for the suspension of disbelief to make the concept work, there are limits. I ended up laughing at rather than with it, which wasn’t the intention I’m sure.
So yeah, I’d say it was crap.
Not crap in a ‘This was excruciating to watch‘ type way, because it moved along at a reasonable enough pace to never be boring and was actually acted quite well, but crap in a ‘This is ludicrous’ way.
Still, one or two people were suckered in to yelping in fear when there were the obvious sharp stings of music.
And if that floats their boat then good for them.
But I expect better when I go to the cinema, and so should you.