The Boy (previously known as The Inhabitant) is a 2016 American-Chinese psychological horror film directed by William Brent Bell and written by Stacey Delay. The film stars Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans. Filming began on March 10, 2015, in Victoria, British Columbia. The film was released by STX Entertainment on January 22, 2016.
Greta, a young woman from Montana, escapes an abusive relationship by getting a temporary job as a nanny for the British Heelshire family. Upon arrival in the United Kingdom and the Heelshire residence, Greta introduces herself to Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire before meeting the elderly couple’s young son, Brahms.
To Greta’s surprise and amusement, Brahms is a porcelain doll, treated like a living child by his “parents.” The real Brahms perished in a fire back in 1991, at the age of eight. Mrs. Heelshire, referring to the porcelain doll, states that Brahms has met “many nannies,” all of whom were “rejected.” Before the Heelshires leave on holiday, they give Greta a list of rules to follow, warning her that Brahms is not a normal child.
Initially, Greta follows a relatively normal routine, choosing to ignore the rules set in place for Brahms. She regularly calls her sister, Sandy, and befriends the Heelshires’ flirtatious grocery boy, Malcolm. Soon after Greta’s refusal to follow Brahms’ rules, strange things begin to happen—a child’s sobs are heard in the hallways, phone calls are cut off and Brahms seems to move on his own, vanishing before reappearing in other sections of the house. After Greta is locked in the attic by an unseen force and served a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich outside her door, she begins to believe that Brahms’ spirit lives on in the doll. Meanwhile, the Heelshires are seen on a coastline writing a good-bye letter to Brahms and filling their pockets with rocks before committing suicide by drowning.
After Greta demonstrates Brahms’ ability to move by himself, Malcolm begins to frequent the house. He informs Greta that the real Brahms was friends with a young girl about his age, who disappeared after a playdate with him in the forest. The girl’s body was later found with her skull crushed. Malcolm warns Greta not to stay in the house, but Greta, having previously suffered a miscarriage, feels obligated to care for Brahms and begins to follow his rules. Later in the attic, she finds photos of Brahms with his childhood friend Emily.
One evening, Greta discovers her ex-boyfriend Cole playing snooker in the Heelshires’ home. He questions why she has the doll, and wishes to see the real boy. After establishing that there is not a boy, Malcolm arrives while the three of them eat dinner. Malcolm leaves the house but stays in his car in case anything bad happens. During dinner, Cole shows Greta plane tickets and is determined to bring her home, which she refuses to do, making him angry.
Greta then goes upstairs to put Brahms in bed, and asks him for help. Later on, Cole becomes even more enraged by the appearance of a message written in blood, as he presumed that Greta wrote it to scare him away. Greta says the doll may have done it, which he does not believe. He then pushes Greta and tries to take the doll, and upon hearing the commotion, Malcolm enters the room and an argument breaks out. Cole then loses his temper and smashes the porcelain doll. Immediately after, the house begins to shake, and the lights flicker. Cole goes to investigate a mirror in the room, when suddenly the mirror smashes open and the real adult and very much alive Brahms crawls through the shattered mirror. It is revealed that he was living within the walls of the house the whole time.