In the summer of 1989, nine-year-old Ted Henley (Jared Breeze, Cooties) and his father John (David Morse, True Detective, World War Z) are the proprietors of the Mt. Vista Motel, a crumbling resort buried in the mountains of the American West. Since Ted's mother left, John has drifted into despondency – leaving Ted to fend for himself. In this isolation, unchecked by the bounds of parenting, Ted's darker impulses begin to manifest. The arrival of a mysterious drifter, William Colby (Rainn Wilson, Cooties, The Office), captivates young Ted and the two form a unique friendship – setting the stage for Ted's final, unnerving metamorphosis.
Interestingly enough, there were two films called 'The Boy' that came out in less than a year's time. The first of those is Craig William Macneill's 'The Boy', about a young boy who could very well turn into a certain someone from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho'. The film was produced by Elijah Wood and follows a young boy, whose odd upbringing might have unleashed something truly terrifying.
One of the flaws of the film though is that it takes quite a long time to move to the next scene and development. Not only that, it's all fairly predictable. That's not to say that 'The Boy' isn't a good film. There are plenty of moments that are haunting and eerie, and down right scary, but it's just the long journey to get there that could have had a quicker pace. I don't say that lightly either, because I enjoy the slow-burn horror movie genre quite a bit. The film is set in the late 80s in a rural area where a nine-year old kid named Ted (Jared Breeze) lives in a motel that is run by his father John (David Morse).
Unfortunately for everyone involved, Ted's mother left abruptly for "greener" pastures with a regular customer at the hotel. This caused John to turn to alcohol and not keep up with the motel, let alone look after his son Ted, who basically runs the place and is forced to take care of himself. I imagine this is the reason that causes young Ted to become fascinated with death, as he starts showcasing some very strange behavior, including luring animals into the road to be run over by cars. He also likes to brutally kill animals, sneak into the guest rooms while people are sleeping, and even tampering with people's cars in an unsavory manner.
Soon enough, he crosses paths with a guy named William (Rainn Wilson), who is involved in a car crash and needs to stay at the hotel. William is an odd fellow as well, as he keeps a locked box in safe keeping that might hold some dire secret. We see the world through the eyes of Ted as he slowly but surely ups the ante with each action he chooses to do. He's increasingly quiet and becoming more sinister with each passing minute that all culminates in a brutal final act. The trouble again here is, that it takes entirely too long to get from point A to point B, especially when there is nothing really that original or fresh to be seen here.
You'll be able to predict most of the film, and you'll find yourself saying, "Why is this taking so long to get here?" The good news is that, this is a fantastic character study on this young boy, who is played brilliantly by Breeze. He's going places for sure. Morse and Wilson shine as well here too. Newcomer director Macneill has an excellent artistic eye and makes the atmosphere so creepy that your hairs will stand on end throughout the film. 'The Boy' is great visually and stylistically, however, it's just a bit slow.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
‘The Boy comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc from Shout! Factory and is Region A Locked. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case.
'The Boy' comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is a great looking film with some very vivid and clear detail. Closeups reveal great facial features, including individual beard hairs, dirt, and facial lines. Fine stitching in the clothing also show up nicely as well. Wider shots never look soft and provide a great deal of depth, particularly in the exterior shots of the rural setting. Colors look good, however, I wouldn't say this is a bright and colorful film by any means.
This has more earthy tones with a hint of a dusty like nature to it, which gives an uneasy look to it. It all works for this horrifying atmosphere. The black levels are deep and inky throughout and the skin tones are natural. There was some very minor video noise, but it's nothing to write home about. There were no other major compression issues to speak of here, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
This film comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and does a great job for how little the soundscape is actually used here for a horror film. This is more of a front-heavy track, as the bulk of the film is rather quiet, eerie, and moody, rather than someone running around yelling with a weapon. Sound effects are well-balanced and layered, but are never overly done or loud.
The ambient noises of the gusts, the old motel, and nature all sound robust from the rear speakers. The score is boastful and created the haunting suspense in every scene. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills. There isn't much bass here, but when it pops up, it sounds nice without any rockiness to it. For this being a slow-burn horror film, the audio presentation gets the job done.
Behind the Scenes (HD, 16 Mins.) - Here is a look at the making of the film, with clips of the movie, some short behind the scenes shots, and a ton of interviews with the cast and crew, including Elijah Wood. They talk about the themes, the shoot, and how they want to make this a trilogy.
'The Boy', not to be confused with the other 'The Boy' is a slow-burn horror film that has a lot of good things going for it. The film looks great, is well acted, and has a great script. However, the pacing is entirely too slow for something that is too predictable. Still, this is a great first effort from Craig William Macneill into the foray of horror. The video and audio presentations are both good, however there is only one extra here. Still, it's worth the watch. 'The Boy' comes recommended if you're in the mood for a slow-burn horror flick.