The Boy

An intimate portrait of a 9 year old sociopath as he discovers his taste for killing.

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  • ★★★½ review by FredM on Letterboxd

    It's only after ending this movie and checking my watchlist to add this to my movies I realised that I watched a different the boy (2015) than the one I was expected to (2016).

    Nevermind, it was a bewildering experience.

    The titular boy and his father are running a motel with a view, but it seems the best days of business are behind them, and the father is not keen on working anymore after the mother "left with a trucker from room 5".

    Almost the entire opening act is of a fascinating weirdness: getting to know the boy, learning about his daily life activities apart from more or less running the motel. In this remote setting, with few houses or people nearby, he's onto his own, but he manages to fill his days with this macabre animal road kill stuff. Words are used sparingly, atmosphere is heavy.

    Don't be fooled, proceedings are progressing slowly, but shift into second gear after the arrival of a car crash survivor and a passing family. All of these events are useful for the character development of the boy, becoming more like a coming of age drama, but then with a ink black ribbon, and leading to a sudden but harrowing conclusion, acting as the pinnacle of the boy's dark capabilities already hinted throughout the movie.

  • ★★★½ review by Keith Garrett on Letterboxd

    Few things are as subtly chilling as watching a budding sociopath practice smiling in the mirror.

  • ★★★★ review by Daniel Rodriguez on Letterboxd

    Animal cruelty; abandonment issues; lack of social interaction; controlling father; morbid curiosity; violent out burts; interest in fire. The Boy is the coming-of-age of a serial killer on the making. A very interesting and slow-burn portrayed that seems to have been overlooked by a lot of people. The ending was so filled with silent rage that made me speechless and honestly afraid and sad, because I am well aware that children like that exist out there in the world.

  • ★★★½ review by Andrew Jupin on Letterboxd

    A little long, but this winds up being a pretty successful slow burn of a film. You have to be patient and understand it's not some high octane horror film like we're used to seeing these days.

    Instead, it's a much more realistic approach to the "eerie kid" horror sub-genre. You basically watch a lil' sociopath blossom on screen and begin to realize the possibilities that go along with his interests and inclinations.

    It's like The Good Son, but not shitty.

    Very good performances all around from Rainn Wilson, the always great David Morse, and the Boy himself, Jared Breeze.

    Also features a perfectly eerie score and a fairly rocking 80s soundtrack that kicks in just when you need it to.

    Check this out and keep your eye on director Craig Macneill.

  • ★★★★ review by Bob R. on Letterboxd

    Part of the "Hoop-Tober 2.0" challenge.

    In The Boy, David Morse plays John Henly, a second-generation owner/operator of a poorly-frequented country motel. Business is not good, and creditors are calling. Complicating matters is Henley's 9-year-old son Ted, for whom the isolation (and absence of a mother) is rapidly turning into a full-fledged sociopath.

    More than anything else, this movie reminds me of Psycho. In fact, with just a few name and gender-changes, this could work as a prequel for the Hitchcock classic.

    The mood of this film is terrific. Well, by "terrific", I mean it's consistently unnerving. The cast and crew put together a movie that feels very, very believable - and because of that, mortifying.

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