We revisit a Movie Review from 2016

Movie Chat: The Boy

Once a week I’ll be discussing a Book or Movie/TV Series I love. Or posting a submission from a reader/author about a movie or book in the horror or zombie genre. Sharing the love of a book or movie as if you were talking with a friend.


The offering this week is a movie that I was curious about when I saw it advertised on TV.


The Boy, 2016


Movie Poster: Scratch Pad


Greta is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive. Written by STX Entertainment

Review by Toni V. Sweeney:

This movie should’ve been better titled The Doll. It would’ve sidetracked the more perceptive audience members a bit and made them enjoy the movie more than having them wait to see if they were correct in their assumptions. Of course there was always a chance someone might’ve associated it with Chucky so perhaps that’s the reason this particular title was used.

A young woman is hired to be nanny to a couple’s 8-year-old son Brahms.  Being as how the couple are quite elderly, that should have been warning enough, but Brahms turns out to be a life-sized doll made in the likeness of the real son who died over twenty years before.  Instead of immediately but politely, saying there must be a mistake and hightailing it out of there as anyone NOT in a movie would’ve done, she humors them and sticks around. There are rules she has to follow, “waking” the doll, getting his breakfast, playing with him… in other words, treating him like a real child…rules Brahms “himself” has set up.  Odd little happenings, shadows, footsteps outside her door, etc., made her think the doll comes to life. By breaking the rules, she discovers the truth…

Be prepared for some shocks—“jump” scenes—and then a big let-down. This is one of those movies where the audience will want to shout, as in a recent insurance commercial parodying such cinema,  “Don’t do it! Run!”

In spite of its clichés, the story is well-scripted and scary with more than a few jolts. It’s atmospheric and from the beginning will give the viewer a frisson as soon as the mansion comes into view. There’s an immediate hint of a sinister something in the way the camera hovers lovingly over the portrait of Brahms with his much-younger parents, and the fact that several children he was fond of disappeared, but any veteran horror movie-viewer will guess the entire plot from the moment Greta is introduced to “Brahms.” (I did.) I was reminded of the slew of dark movies made in the late Seventies and early Eighties which dwelt with similar themes.

Nevertheless, the story is well-played out with a good build-up and some tense moments. It’s well-acted by Lauren Cohan as Greta whose character is perhaps a little more cautious than the usual Scream Queen but not enough.

The non-ending ruins the whole thing, however. With a satisfactory conclusion, this movie would’ve been a 5-star-plus.

I don’t doubt Brahms is waiting in the wings with a couple or more sequels. Look for The Boy 2 and 3 and…

This movie was viewed at a theater with paid admission and no remuneration was involved in the writing of this review.


Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.  In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books. She recently was asked to join the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and also Paranormal Romance Guild. She is an amazon reviewer and a professional reader for Netgalley.

See more about Toni at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeney

Twitter: @ToniVSweeney

toni sweeney

Blurb for A Bit of the Dark World, a Lovecraftian horror novel with a Southern flavor.

When Lisa Chambers awakes in Temple General Hospital, she’s injured, widowed, and pregnant and her nightmares are just beginning. Frightening dreams of her dead husband, her baby, and grotesque creatures following a man with burning eyes spiral into wide-awake scenes even more sinister.

Daniel Walker is Lisa’s surgeon, a part-Native American whose people believed in a monstrous creature living in the waters off the Georgia coast. Drexl Von Dorff is the wealthy recluse who pulled her from the burning car, a man living on land once owned by Daniel’s ancestors. They’re bitter enemies and don’t care who knows it.

The two men are paying the new widow too much attention. Each wants her for himself, but the worse fact is…something else wants Lisa, and it may not be human…


Lisa awoke, surprised to find herself alone. Rude of me to fall asleep like that. I didn’t even tell Martha good night. Oh well, I’ll apologize in the morning.

The fragrance of Drexl’s roses was strong in the little room.

Mmm…Lisa took a deep breath, immediately cutting it short in mid-inhale. Something’s wrong. The smell changed, wasn’t sweet as she expected, not as they’d been at first. There was a bitter, dusty underscent as if they were dying, but that couldn’t be…

She looked at the white vase. They were dying. Three of the buds were blackened and drooping, the petals curled and dry. As she watched, one of them fell from its stem, then a second, striking the table top with a whispery rustle.

Something dripped from the center of the remaining blossoms, slim scarlet threads stretching and abruptly curling upward, hovering wormlike in the air. They wavered blindly…as if searching for something.

For me… They’re looking for me… Lisa’s hand went to her mouth, stifling the scream bubbling against her lips. I have to be quiet. Not a sound.

The worms hesitated…movement stopped, all pointing in her direction.

They’d found her…the slender strands would stretch out and reach her and…

A burst of decaying vegetation poured over her. Gagging and choking, Lisa fumbled for the light cord, clutching at it with frantic fingers…

The reading lamp came on…light flooded the room, making her blink. The flowers were where Martha put them, fresh and red and sweet, no dead petals, no blood-red strands…

She slept the rest of the night with the light on.

Buy Links:

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/cat-romance-paranormal/a-bit-of-the-dark-world-513-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bit-Dark-World-Toni-Sweeney-ebook/dp/B00OICNQGG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1471755438&sr=8-2&keywords=A+Bit+of+the+Dark+World

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-bit-of-the-dark-world-toni-v-sweeney/1120604050?ean=2940046348651

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=a+bit+of+the+dark+world