The Boy (also known initially as The Inhabitant) is a 2016 American-Chinese psychological horror directed by William Brent Bell and written by Stacey Delay. The film stars Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans. Shot in Victoria, British Columbia, the film was released by STX Entertainment on January 22, 2016.
A young American woman from Montana, Greta (who ironically is played by Brit Lauren Cohan) gets a temporary job as a nanny for a very rich family in England. She is driven to the secluded estate at the end of the woods/forest and is met at the large old house by Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire before meeting the elderly couple’s young son, Brahms. When she finds out that the “son” is a porcelain doll Greta is initially amused but seeing the seriousness shown by the couple, she decides to take the job as it is good pay. As she is told by Malcolm, who delivers groceries for the couple from his store, the real Brahms perished in a fire back in 1991, at the age of eight. Mrs. Heelshire, referring to the porcelain doll, states that Brahms has met “many nannies,” all of whom were “rejected.” Before the Heelshires leave on holiday, they give Greta a list of rules to follow, warning her that Brahms is not a normal child.
She ignores the instructions and spends her days drinking wine and reading, calling her sister and befriends Malcolm, who clearly is flirting with her. She reciprocates his feelings but also tells him that she came to the UK to be away from her ex who was abusive. Strange things begin to happen—a child’s sobs are heard in the hallways, phone calls are cut off and Brahms seems to move on his own, vanishing before reappearing in other sections of the house. On an evening she is to go out to the town with Malcolm, her dress and chain disappear while she is showering and is locked overnight in the attic and served a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich outside her door, she begins to believe that Brahms’ spirit lives on in the doll. Meanwhile, the Heelshires are seen on a coastline writing a good-bye letter to Brahms and filling their pockets with rocks before committing suicide by drowning. Greta starts to follow the rules thinking she is helping a ghost and demonstrates Brahms’ ability to move by himself, Malcolm begins to frequent the house.
He informs Greta that the real Brahms was friends with a young girl about his age, who disappeared after a playdate with him in the forest. The girl’s body was later found with her skull crushed. Malcolm warns Greta not to stay in the house, but Greta, having previously suffered a miscarriage, feels obligated to care for Brahms and begins to follow his rules. Later in the attic, she finds photos of Brahms with his childhood friend Emily. One evening Greta finds her ex-bf, Cole, playing pool in the house. He has tickets for the two of them to go back and is surprised that she is taking care of a doll and not a real boy. Malcolm arrives while the three of them eat dinner. Malcolm leaves the house but stays in his car in case anything bad happens. Greta puts Brahms in bed and asks him for help and later on, Cole becomes even more enraged by the appearance of a message written in blood, as he presumed that Greta wrote it to scare him away. Malcolm comes in hearing the argument and Cole takes the doll and breaks it on the floor.
Immediately after, the house begins to shake, and the lights flicker. Cole goes to investigate a mirror in the room, when suddenly the mirror smashes open and the real adult and very much alive Brahms crawls through the shattered mirror. It is revealed that he was living within the walls of the house the whole time. Wearing a similar porcelain mask on his face, Brahms kills Cole using a broken piece of the doll and chases the other two. They eventually escape to the attic where she discovers the room Brahms was living in, with a straw doll on a bed wearing her dress and jewellery, and embodying her image. Greta realizes that Brahms has been alive all along and was the one who was moving the porcelain doll throughout the house, stealing her possessions, and watching her every move. The Heelshires offered Greta (and the nannies before her) as a form of sacrifice to Brahms for “his keeping”. Brahms catches up and is attacked by Malcolm, who he wounds but Greta escapes through an opening.
On hearing Brahms say that he will kill Malcolm, she comes back into the house and tells him that she won’t leave. She then orders Brahms to go to bed, treating him as she would the doll (Brahms is still a feral child in this regard). After Greta tucks him into bed, he asks for a good night kiss, which she begrudgingly accepts. She stabs him with a screwdriver she hid in her pocket and is thrown against the wall by Brahms who then tries to strangle her. Greta then reaches down to the screwdriver (still stuck in his stomach) and twists it in deeper causing him to drop her and presumably die. Afterwards, she escapes, rescuing Malcolm and leaving the Heelshire estate gate open behind her. The film cuts to a scene of the open gate and then to a hand putting the porcelain doll back together, implying that Brahms is still alive. The film ends with a final glimpse of the repaired doll’s face.
It was ok not scary at all and has some good moments but overall it’s not very memorable. 6.5 outta 10!