Christopher Convery in Brahms: The Boy II (Photo: STXfilms)
BRAHMS: THE BOY II
★ (out of four)
DIRECTED BY William Brent Bell
STARS Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman
Lest anyone think Brahms: The Boy II is a continuing biopic of Johannes Brahms during his formative years, it should be quickly clarified that it’s actually a follow-up to the 2016 horror yarn The Boy. Yet if the makers of this franchise absolutely had to borrow the name of a famed composer for its central character, perhaps Beethoven would have been a better fit, given the tone-deaf nature of this stultifying sequel.
The Boy circled around the Heelshires, an elderly British couple whose 8-year-old son Brahms had died tragically two decades earlier. They replace him with a porcelain doll, and it soon becomes apparent that there are supernatural forces at work that link the lad and the doll.
Brahms: The Boy II takes place shortly after the events of the first film, with a troubled family moving to the Heelshire property as a form of therapy. While dad Sean (Owain Yeoman) was working late, mom Liza (Katie Holmes) had been the victim of a home-invasion attack, one that left their son Jude (Christopher Convery) traumatized and unable to speak. The subsequent move to the isolated Heelshire estate allows Jude to find the Brahms doll, which he embraces as his own. Liza initially approves of the doll as a distraction for Jude, but once strange things start happening around the house — a turned on TV set, an upended table — and once Jude starts treating Brahms like a real person, she becomes worried and begins to wonder if the doll is actually alive.
Watching Brahms: The Boy II, one gets the feeling that the picture was only made on a dare: Create a horror movie about a doll and make it even more dull and derivative than the other doll-faced films of late (the Annabelle chain, the Child’s Play remake, etc.). A dark figure bolts across the screen — cue the loud single note of music! A dog senses the evil emanating from the doll — cue the tragic fate of our furry friend! (For those worried, “No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture.” Alas, the same couldn’t be said about brain cells.)
This movie’s utter lack of imagination is downright depressing, never more so than in its closing minute. If anyone thought this film would end any other way, well, I have a patch of land on the Heelshire estate I would love to sell you.