Brahms: The Boy II (2020)

*. I actually liked The Boy, at least more than I had expected I would, but I didn’t think they’d be making another. Though, as I said in my notes, the ending left at least the theoretical possibility of a sequel. I just didn’t think there was any real demand for it, as the box office return hadn’t been great.
*. Well, I guess someone crunched the numbers and so here we are. Or maybe they looked at the money train Annabelle had turned into and figured they wanted some of that cheddar. That seems more likely given how Brahms (the doll) is given a whole new back story or mythology here that suggests he’s ready to be franchised. In the original, as you’ll recall, the doll was nothing special and the evil force was just a crazy guy with a burned face who lived in the walls of the mansion. In this movie, however, it turns out that the doll really is an evil spirit. Or something.
*. I’ve talked a lot in these notes about the role expectations play in our response to any movie. Since I’m also a contrarian by nature a lot of hype usually leads to a let-down for me, but I just as frequently find something good even in a movie that bombed or was panned. In the case of Brahms, however, I have to say that it’s just as lousy as advertised.
*. The same writer-director team (Stacey Menear and William Brent Bell, respectively) reunited for this one, and they at least had a decent, if unremarkable, initial premise. A boy and his mother, both traumatized by a home break-in, move with their father to a place out in the country. Specifically the guest house on the massive estate that was the haunted mansion in The Boy. There the son, Jude (Christopher Convery, whose hairdo was making me feel ill), digs up the Brahms doll, which then proceeds to possess him.
*. That might have worked, but it goes nowhere here, despite a game performance by Katie Holmes as the mother, Liza. The problem is, there are just no new ideas in all this. The big twist I already mentioned, that Brahms really is demonic, is itself only a swerve that’s taken to make him more marketable.
*. But here’s the problem: if you’d seen The Boy (and if you hadn’t I don’t know why you’d be watching this) then you’d be assuming the “real” Brahms was still the one behind everything and that little things like Brahms turning his head were all Liza’s imagination. So there’s none of that “is he, or isn’t he?” vibe going on. Then, when we do get to the end, it comes totally out of left field and it seems like everyone (the producers included) has gone insane. Reading some of the reviews I wasn’t surprised to find myself with plenty of company in thinking some kind of horror-parody was intended. But no such luck.
*. No suspense. A flat, clichéd manner. A handful of cheap jump scares. It all adds up to a boring cash grab of a sequel that I don’t think anyone really wanted. Given how badly it flopped one hopes this will be the end.

3 thoughts on “Brahms: The Boy II (2020)

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