The Plot & Meaning Of The Film The Boy (2016), Content, Explanation Of The Ending, Similar Films. Who ran the Ending Explained: an explanation of the famous thriller
Country: USA, Canada
Genre: horror, thriller, drama
Year of production: 2016
Director: William Brent Bell
Cast: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Ben Robeson, James Russell
tagline: Every child needs love
The meaning of the film The Boy can hardly be called deep and multi-layered. However, the creators managed to make a horror film that is intriguing and, thanks to the ending, deceives the expectations of the audience, and thus stands out from other clichéd “scarecrows”.
What is the movie about
The main character named Greta comes from the USA to England to a country house owned by an elderly couple – Mr. and Mrs. Hilsher. The girl was hired as a nanny for their son Brahms at the time of departure. But it turns out that there is no boy – instead of him there is a porcelain doll. However, the Hilshers treat her like a living child. The “father of the family” in a personal conversation with Greta says that he understands her bewilderment, but claims that Brahms is actually here.
Lauren Cohan played the role of Greta. Frame from the film.
The Helshires leave a list of rules for the girl to follow while nursing the doll. According to them, the nanny needs to wake up Brahms every morning, dress him in clean clothes, feed him, play his favorite music, read books, put him to bed in the evening and even kiss him before going to bed. The Helshirs go into seclusion to “talk” with the doll, who allegedly reports that he likes Greta.
From the telephone conversation of the heroine on a landline phone (there is no cellular connection in the mansion), we learn that in America she has a violent boyfriend, from whom she ran away and who wants to find her.
The old people say goodbye to the girl, while Mrs. Helshere whispers in her ear: “I’m sorry.”
Realizing that it makes no sense to take care of the doll, Greta, who had previously played along with the owners of the mansion, after their departure, ignores the rules and tries not to pay attention to Brahms. She covers him with a blanket, but after a while he is no longer on him. In the hearts, the girl throws the doll on the rocking chair. At night, Greta dreams of a child crying, but when she wakes up in the morning, it does not seem to disappear. She goes downstairs and sees a “tear” in Brahms’ eye. The answer is right there: the case is in the leaking ceiling – the water from it got on the doll. The girl is also disturbed by a phone call: the caller is silent on the phone.
Grocer Malcolm, who delivers food to the mansion, tells Greta that the real Brahms died in a fire twenty years ago on the day he turned eight. After the death of their son, the parents made a doll in his image and likeness.
Malcolm asks Greta out on a date. But while taking a shower before her planned departure, someone steals her evening dress and gold chain. Also, the girl discovers that someone, probably, cut off a tuft of her hair during sleep. While searching for the intruder, Greta sees a lowered ladder leading to the attic, climbs it and finds herself locked. In addition, she faints at the sight of the mannequin. The meeting breaks down.
Rupert Evans stars as Malcolm. Frame from the film.
In the morning, the girl finds an old photo album in the attic with images of the whole family, including the real boy Brahms. Together with the newly arrived Malcolm, Greta checks the stairs leading to the attic: it turns out that it folds automatically from a slight movement of the hand. The guy says that according to Mr. Hilscher’s description, the real Brahms was a strange boy. We are given to understand that the couple’s conversation can be heard while in other rooms with the help of air vents.
At night, Greta dreams of the doll moving. Waking up, she finds Brahms sitting on the couch with a sheet of rules. The girl is frightened and locks herself in her room. There’s a phone ringing. Picking up the phone, Greta hears a child’s voice addressing her and urging her to follow the rules. The same voice comes from behind the door. The boy promises to be good. Opening the door, Greta finds a tray with a cooked sandwich on the floor. All this convinces the heroine that the doll is alive. After that, the girl begins to treat Brahms with love, like a real boy, and follow the rules.
We are shown how Mr. and Mrs. Hilsher left Brahms a farewell message and committed suicide by drowning themselves in the lake.
The doll continues to move around the house. Greta asks Brahms to show this to Malcolm so that he will believe her. And indeed, from the second time (when the girl threatened her departure), the experiment in the form of leaving the doll in the room and returning to her shows that she changed her location.
Greta tells Malcolm that in America she had a boyfriend named Cole, with whom she had a hard time. Moreover, the girl lost her child after another beating on his part. In this regard, Greta considers the mystical circumstances in the mansion not accidental.
Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle as Mr and Miss Heelshere. Frame from the film.
Malcolm and Greta try to get some privacy, but music starts playing in another room. After that, the guy tries to persuade the heroine to leave the mansion at least for a while. But she does not want to leave Brahms. Then Malcolm tells that the real boy had a girlfriend who came to him from the city. Before the fire, the girl disappeared and was found dead in the forest. In the attic, the heroine finds her photograph.
Cole infiltrates the mansion and orders Greta to pack up and leave with him. The girl does not want to do this and asks Brahms to help her. Afterwards, Cole discovers “Get Out” written in rat blood. He’s furious. Malcolm, who is in a car near the house and heard the swearing, comes running and demands that Cole leave. But he breaks the doll in rage.
Loud sounds are heard and a man in a porcelain mask and with a child’s voice climbs into the room from a broken mirror. The heroes understand that this is the real Brahms, who is still alive and has been in the mansion all this time. With the shards of the doll, he kills Cole and then grabs Greta. Malcolm stops him with a blow to the back of the head, the heroes try to escape. Moving around the mansion, they discover secret passages and a shelter with everything necessary for life – what Brahms used. In the secret room, the girl also sees her stolen evening dress: Brahms built a rag doll out of it, from pieces of Greta’s hair and burlap. There was also a message from Mr. and Mrs. Hilscher, addressed to Brahms. It says that from now on Greta belongs to him.
The girl understands that all the mysticism that happened in the house receives a reasonable explanation. All this is the atrocities of Brahms, who actually hid in the secret rooms of the house for twenty years after the fire.
In the end, Greta gets out of the mansion, but Malcolm is captured by Brahms. He calls after the girl to stay, gradually changing his voice from a child to a more adult one. Brahms yells that if Greta escapes, he will kill him “like everyone else”.
The heroine realizes that she cannot leave Malcolm and returns to the mansion, armed with a screwdriver. Greta speaks to Brahms, demands to go to bed. He obeys, but in a childish voice asks to kiss him. Kissing the mask, Greta stabs Brahms with a screwdriver. There is a fight, as a result of which the heroine wins. The wounded Brahms falls, his mask splits, and we see part of the face mutilated by fire. Greta takes Malcolm out of the house – the heroes are saved.
In the finale, we see how someone in the mansion glues the Brahms doll.
The meaning of the ending of the film Ending Explained is that all the mysticism shown, in fact, turned out to be explainable by the actions of real people. Ending Explained was not alive. It was moved by the real Brahms, who survived the fire. He hid in the house and, judging by his words, terrorized and killed people – everything was clearly not limited to the dead girl. Brahms’ parents probably knew about this and specifically hired Greta as a parting gift to their son. The content of their note confirms this.
This explanation of the ending still does not reveal many details. For example, it is not clear what was the point of hiding in secret rooms after a fire. It is clear that the parents tried because of the murder of the girl (and maybe someone else) to hide the fact that Brahms is alive. But they lived in seclusion – the boy could well go unnoticed next to his parents, hiding from the eyes of strangers only in rare cases.
It is not clear why it was necessary to order a doll in the image and likeness of the son. However, all this makes sense if we assume that after the fire, the parents did not want to put up with the terrible appearance of the child and with his actions. They found a replacement for him in the form of a doll and began to communicate with their son through it. The boy was removed from sight, having equipped secret rooms for him.
However, this interpretation is only a guess. The creators did not give explicit clues about this. The film has a sequel called Ending Explained 2: Brahms. Thanks to him, a completely different idea is laid in all the understatements. However, the sequel also ignores some of the events presented in the first film as facts. So both parts should still be analyzed separately from each other.
Frame from the film.
Another strange detail that diverges from the realism of the first part is the voice of Brahms, changing from a child to an adult. Someone in their analysis suggests that the guy remained in childhood, not only psychologically, but also partly physically. That is, his voice is not broken. But it is not clear how he could furiously and hoarsely shout after Greta to return. If you do not add mysticism and fantasy, then we can assume that the guy just skillfully imitated the children’s timbre.
And finally, the last riddle: was Brahms still alive? If, again, stick to realistic versions, then it is unlikely. Without the necessary skills, he would not be able to provide himself with medical care. So the doll was glued together by someone else. Who exactly is not very important. The move itself with the restoration of a frightening object is a typical technique that ends many horror films so that the viewer understands that evil is not defeated and remains in suspense after the session.
The meaning of the film
It is difficult to see any hidden meaning in Ending Explained: all the efforts of the creators are clearly aimed at the final twist. The essence of the film is in it. You can try to deduce the moral that everyone needs love, but even love must be given in a “dosed” way – not to turn it into permissiveness. But it is unlikely that the screenwriter and director looked so deeply. Ending Explained, despite its clever approach to realism, remains a typical horror film, the main task of which is to create an oppressive atmosphere and scare the viewer.
Frame from the film.
- Crimson Peak (USA, Canada, 2015): gothic horror film from Guillermo del Toro;
- House of Shadows (Spain, USA, 2017): children are haunted by something in the house they cannot leave;
- Hide and Seek (Germany, USA, 2005): a widower living with his daughter learns that she has an evil imaginary friend;
- Shelter (Spain, Mexico, 2007): a woman returns to her childhood home thirty years later, her son soon disappears – perhaps it’s his fictional friend;
- The House on the Other Side (UK, US, 2020): after her husband’s strange suicide, a girl discovers his secrets;
- The Phantom of the Opera (UK, 2004): musical thriller about a disfigured genius behind a mask.