Thursday, October 17, 2019

THE BOY (2015) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 15
Total First Time Views: 6
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $1,184.85

The Boy (2015) d. Craig William Macneil (USA) (110 min) (1st viewing)

Far off the beaten path, the proprietor of the Mt. Vista Motel (David Morse) and his son Ted (Jared Breeze) live a disconnected, antisocial existence, forever changing linens for beds that have not been slept in, swapping out towels that have never been used. This idle life seems to severely affected them both; while the father simply sinks further into a stupor of self-pity and booze, his son develops an increasingly morbid fascination with death and dying. He dreams of collecting enough roadkill carcasses (for which his father pays a quarter each) to buy a Greyhound bus ticket out of Nowheresville, but that’s still a long way off and he’s getting impatient. One night, he lures a deer into the highway and causes a traffic accident for a potential fugitive from justice, William Colby (Rainn Wilson). With his car totaled, Colby is trapped for the foreseeable future at the Mt. Vista, and while he clearly harbors dark thoughts within his darker past, he is unprepared for the beguiling lure of this burgeoning knee-high sociopath.

Slow-paced and atmospheric, this is about the furthest thing from a cheap-thrills killer kid movie that you’re likely to find. We spend a LOT of time watching Ted watching the horizon, but we’re never really given any kind of explanation as to why he becomes the little psycho that he’s clearly on course to be. Is the lesson that boredom equals murder, first of small animals, then larger ones, and finally humans? Because that’s kind of how it seems to play out here. Ted is frustrated by his missing mother, but his dad is clearly trying hard to connect, so where is the fault? Was he just born bad?

We don’t really ask why Rhoda Penmark is a serial killer in The Bad Seed, so I suppose it seems unfair to ask now. That said, there’s a great deal more character and plot development in the 1956 classic whereas here things just slowly, ever so slowly (seriously, there are more pauses before and after lines than ever should be allowed), unfold without any real cause and effect. Ted is just a sick little bastard and when people push back and call him out for his actions, he retaliates and they die. Simple as that.

The performances are all quite solid, from the screen veterans (Wilson is particularly good cast against type, although Bill Sage is utterly wasted as our resident badge) to our newcomer Breeze, and it’s intriguing to see Morse and Wilson’s names pop up as executive producers, along with Elijah Wood as producer. The script by Macneil and Clay McLeod Chapman (based on the latter’s short story) is spare and stark, and the lonely Western landscape is well-evoked by Noah Greenberg’s cinematography. The fact that MacNeil served as his own editor is no surprise – this is an artist clearly too much in love with his art and unwilling to part with much of it; a stronger pair of scissors would have served the project well, as there is no need for a story this lean to take nearly two hours to tell.

With its indulgences, plot contrivances (of which there are many), and deliberate pace, this will not satisfy your casual genre fan and even those of a more generous ilk are likely to have their patience tested.

The Boy is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:


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