the boy trailer

It’s official: between the new trailer for The Boy and the upcoming sequel to Annabelle, possessed dolls are officially a trend. Ready your spec scripts, ladies and gentlemen. Murderous inanimate objects are in.

The new trailer for The Boy does look familiar, but comfortably so. Sometimes, all you need is a movie where a toy stalks a woman (Lauren Cohan, a.k.a. Maggie on The Walking Dead) through an oppressive Gothic mansion, forcing our in-over-her-head heroine to solve mysteries, survive countless jump scares, and maybe escape to the end credits with some breath left in her lungs. The killer doll subgenre of horror cinema may not be the most respected corner of the genre, but it has its moments.

Watch the Boy trailer trailer after the jump.

Cohan plays an American nanny who takes the wrong job, in the wrong English village, in the wrong stuffy house. The job: watching over a young child. The caveat: that child is actually a doll. The larger issue: that doll is actually inhabited by the spirit of the real kid, who died a few decades early. The conflict: he’s not a very nice kid, apparently.

For reasons that will undoubtedly be explained the movie itself, simply leaving the house and driving as fast as possible in the other direction is out of the question.

The trailer is plenty familiar, even utilizing shock moments nearly identical to those seen in Annabelle last year. Like Annabelle, “Brahms” is too cool to actually let mortal eyes see him move and murder. The days of Child’s Play and The Puppetmaster are long gone – killer toys these days are more about the “moving when you aren’t looking” and less about the “stab stab stabby stab stab.”

The big red flag here is director William Brent Bell, whose 2012 film The Devil Inside is, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic and cruel, one of the worst horror movies to ever find a way into actual movie theaters. I vividly remember my entire theater booing the screen when the credits rolled and agreeing, as a group, to march to the box office and demand their money back.

For the record, they all got refunds.

To be fair, The Boy couldn’t look more different than The Devil Inside, which was a found footage exorcism thriller. This looks to be a far more traditional haunted house movie, which should provide its own fair share of unique pleasures. Since it’s healthy to want to love every movie you see, The Boy deserves at least some benefit of the doubt, right?

Here’s the official synopsis for the film:

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.

The Boy opens on January 22, 2016.

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