The Boy **
Dir: William Brent Bell. With: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, James Russell, Jim Norton. 97 mins. Cert: 15
With the measured suspense of The Witch and 10 Cloverfield Lane ascendant within genre cinema, the crash-bang-wallop merchants launch a counteroffensive. This intrinsically mediocre non-chiller transplants the hackneyed methods of 2014’s Annabelle to the English countryside, dispatching an uptight Lauren Cohan to the residence of the haughtily eccentric Heelshires to nanny their “son” Brahms – a child-sized porcelain doll. A vessel for everyone’s grief, Brahms is intended as creepy, yet in these cheap-looking surrounds, he rather resembles a stray Harry Hill prop; endless restless POV shots can’t transform a tchotchke into a credible threat. Elsewhere, gimmickmonger William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) has but careworn gotchas to offer, and he exhausts those long before the indifferently staged stalk-and-slash finale. These movies need new toys to play with.
The Boy is now playing in cinemas nationwide.