‘Brahms: The Boy II’ is a hastily and lazily-crafted sequel of the 2016-released horror film, ‘The Boy’. It brings back the creepy doll which ended up having a twisted secret in the earlier edition.
The narrative begins in staccato manner. After an untoward incident that affects Liza (Katie Holmes) and her young son Jude (Christopher Convery), Sean (Owain Yeoman) decides to give his disturbed family a well-deserved break. They move into the guest house of the erstwhile Heelshire Mansion, unaware of its terrifying history.
It is only after Jude gets attached to the eerily life-like doll he finds half buried on the estate that his behaviour changes drastically. The doll, who calls himself Brahms, communicates with “the damaged ones,” in this case – Jude. And, like in the previous edition, the doll relays a list of rules to be followed, failing which the obvious would occur.
Worried about the wellbeing of her son, Liza investigates, and soon stumbles upon a list of untoward incidents that happened to the previous occupants of the mansion. How she and Sean take the reins in their hands to save their son forms the crux of the narrative.
The plot, lacking layers, has many tense moments created by the general foreboding of the doll sitting ominously, jump scares and nightmare sequences, but they soon pale with the exposition, making the sequence of events seem naturally unfounded and dismissive. The final act, with preposterous cliches, is unimaginatively crafted and narrated in a deadpan manner, which gradually makes the film a flat and unexciting watch.
On the performance front, with a character path that is forcibly mapped into the plot, Katie Holmes, as the troubled Liza, is convincing. She displays a carefree and concerned demeanour with scepticism and apprehension, effortlessly. She is aptly supported by Owain Yeoman, as her husband Sean, and Ralph Ineson as the overbearing, intrusive neighbour Joseph. Unfortunately both the characters are one-dimensional and cardboard thin.
Similarly, restricted by the script are Anjali Jay as Jude’s counsellor Dr. Lawerence and Oliver Rice as Jude’s Uncle Liam. Nevertheless they are effective and shine during their moments of on-screen glory.
Christopher Convery, charmingly innocent with a poker face, is the main attraction of this film. Your heart goes out to him especially when he has to apologise to his parents for no fault of his.
Returning director William Brent Bell once again teams up with production designer John Willets to recreate the Heelshire Mansion and Brahms’ universe, which is not exploited to the fullest. But looking from Jude’s point of view, the film is well-mounted with moderate production values, which is captured by Karl Walter Lindenlaub’s cinematography. With static camera shots that are intermittently atmospheric and exciting, he manages to exploit the interior as well as exterior shots with equal flare.
Editor Brian Berdan deserves praise for seamlessly interlacing scenes and creating many edgy moments along with Brett Detar’s understated score.
Overall, “Brahms: The Boy II” is decent but not an overtly exciting horror fare that would haunt its audience much after they leave the theatres.