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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Review: Brahms: The Boy II

Director: William Brent Bell
Screenplay: Stacey Menear
Year: 2020

After the unexpected ending of “The Boy” no one could have thought that it would give way to a sequel. Now in February 2020, we get “Brahms: The Boy II”, the sequel no one expected. With a wider promotion than its predecessor, “Brahms: The Boy II” has generated plenty of expectation, but can it surpass what “The Boy” did?

After a family suffered a burglary in their home, they decided to move from the city to a house in the suburbs. Jude, who after the event stopped talking, finds a porcelain doll near the house and takes it with him. Jude starts to develop a tight relationship with the doll named Brahms that leads his mother to suspect that there is something wrong with the toy.

Many people that saw “The Boy” were surprised when the sequel was announced, as the ending of this movie didn’t leave much room for the story to continue. However, director William Brent Bell and writer Stacey Menear were not willing to let die the success they both garnered with “The Boy” and seek for a way to bring back the frightening doll to the screen, making the most out of the recent popularity of killer doll movies, with “Annabelle Comes Home” and the remake of “Child’s Play” as the most recent proponents. The success of the “The Boy” spins around creating a story in which you don’t know if the doll is controlled by supernatural forces or if there is something else behind the different events that take place in the movie.

“Brahms: The Boy II” forgets the story that distinguishes “The Boy” from the rest of the killer doll movies and goes straight into redoing all the stereotypes of these movies. This time it gets into the supernatural area, with which they already played with on the previous one and where it shows its lack of identity. To make things worse, it develops at a slow pace and with a style typical of a movie done to scare teenagers while trying to make the most out of the doll’s appearance. 

What keeps this movie aloft to avoid being a complete disaster is the suspense and the acting. Much of the suspense is managed thanks to the imposing and antique house and by its obscure cinematography. This is backed up by solid acting from Katie Holmes (“Batman Begins”) and Owain Yeoman (“The Belko Experiment”) as Jude’s parents, and even more from Christopher Convery (“Stranger Things”) as Jude, who nails down that sinister kid image that always proves to be effective.

As what happened with “The Boy '', this sequel plays with exposing several possible scenarios to try and fool the viewer about what’s going on, as using post-traumatic stress disorder as a possible explanation to the events. Different from its predecessor, this movie makes evident early on what’s happening and the attempt of proposing other scenarios is so badly executed that it seems more like an excuse to extend the runtime. As a consequence, the twists and surprises don’t carry the desired effect, make everything develop slower, and leaves the outcome without surprise or reward.

“Brahms: The Boy II” is the sequel that no one expected, and no one solicited. This movie shows that there are some ideas that work only once and they simply should be left at that, especially if the plan is to use the idea but do all the contrary to what made it successful. “Brahms: The Boy II” is not at the same level as “The Boy” and proves to be only a PG-13 movie to scare teenagers and continue making money out of a movie whose plot, as well as that of the sequel, makes no sense.

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