Greta Evans (Lauren Cohen) a young American woman needing a fresh starts takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year old boy in a remote English town. Greta soon learns that the boy is actually a life-sized doll, that is cared for like a human. Greta is left with a strict list of rules surrounding the care of Brahms, when she violates it a series of unexplainable and disturbing events make her believe the doll is alive.
Initial Release Date: January 22nd, 2016
Box office: $64.2 million
Budget: $10 million
Director: William Brent Bell
Screenplay: Stacey Menear
Music Composer: Bear McCreary
Cast: Lauren Cohen, Rupert Evans, James Russel, Jett Klyne, Ben Robson, Diana Hardcastle, Jim Norton, Stephanie Lemelin and Scott McGlynn.
The eerily quiet English town puts majority of the audience at either ease or “on edge” from the start. There is just something about the cliche old Victorian style house that let’s you know all hell will break loose. Is it the fact that nobody will get there quick enough to save you, or that you’re all alone? Whichever way you look at it, it works like a charm every time. The soft lull of music introduces you to Greta (Lauren Cohen) and the Heelshire’s, (Jim Norton & Diana Hardcastle) the audience is allowed to familiarise themselves with the surroundings just like Greta. This is the opportune moment for the director to script petty jump-scares to make even the bravest hearts race. As Greta eases into her cushy life-style looking after a doll, everyone suspects the dumb mistake she will eventually make.
The pace of the movie begins quite slow, as if it is tricking you into a relaxed state of mind. It somewhat mimics the atmosphere of the house, as barely anything moves except those who occupy it and rare appearances from guests. By neglecting her duties Greta unlocks an unexplainable and disturbing presence within the doll Brahms, allowing her to believe it’s alive. The communication of the soul within Brahms through sound and shadows alone is one of the cinematic stars of this film.
As Malcolm frequents the house, he reveals the truth about the families dark secret. With Greta finally acknowledging the disturbing presence of Brahms, she becomes attached to the doll due to a previous miscarriage. Greta’s past eventually catches up with her, and with a plea to Brahms chaos takes ahold. The camera angles and light and shade shown through the moving images, portrays pure fear and is another perfect way to inject jump-scares in the film. The film portrays Greta’s emotionality outweighing her fear. The cinematic structuring of these scenes encapsulates the perfect dim lighting, with hints of moving images and the sound causing suspense throughout.
The scenery shot throughout the flashbacks is jaw-dropping and unfathomably beautiful with the overlay of dulled footage allows the audience to watch and listen careful as the pace of the movie has changed. The voice-over from the parents in their flashback scene is poetic and symbolises their undying love for their son, the both of them committing to what they have chosen is both courageous yet sickening.
With the flurry of suspense and jump-scares in the concluding scenes, the film seems to finish quickly with a few shots piecing together an implied ending. The final scene is a typical thriller/mystery finale as it leaves the audience in suspense, fear and somewhat confusion as they come to terms with what they have just watched. The final scene implies that not everything is finished as we were led to believe in the scene before, will there be a sequel? Send me a comment below or fill out the contact form here.
My score: 6.5/ 10
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