There are plenty of horror films that I’ve loved over the years that I would die to see receive a sequel. Ones that really deserve to have their stories continued, expanded, and explored further. Sadly, those sequels seldom happen. Then, there are times when sequels that you would never expect come to fruition. William Brent Bell’s Brahms: The Boy II is one of those sequels.
After a traumatizing home invasion/burglary, a family moves to a quiet countryside estate for a fresh start. Shortly after arriving, however, young Jude (Christopher Convery, “Gotham”) befriends a doll that he finds buried on the grounds, leading to some rather troubling behavior.
Released in 2016, The Boy was marketed as a supernatural, killer doll flick. If you’ve watched the film since then, you’ll know that in the end, there was much more to it than initially met the eye. For this out-of-nowhere sequel, it seems that the team of writer Stacey Menear and director William Brent Bell have doubled back around to those supernatural elements and increased them tenfold.
I’m not sure of the general consensus viewers had of the original film, but I was actually quite fond of the direction it went in its final act. I’ve revisited it a number of times since my first watch and still think it is a pretty enjoyable time. Even still, I did not expect to ever see a sequel. When the follow-up was announced, I quite frankly had no idea what they would do with the story, but I was certainly intrigued.
Brahms: The Boy II does a good job of continuing the story told by its predecessor, while also filling in a lot of the gaps that may have been leftover. Menear and Bell have done a pretty impressive job of expanding on their mythology of the character(s), while trying to make something all their own, something different from other killer doll films that we’ve seen over the years.
The unfortunate thing about expanding as they have is it almost leaves me with more questions than I had originally. Bringing the story back into supernatural territory is fine. Hell, it’s been done with almost every other creepy doll tale before — Child’s Play, Annabelle, Dead Silence, and so on. The problem is just that though. Every other creepy doll tale has done it before!
I liked 2016’s The Boy because it presented a swerve that I’m sure most people didn’t see coming. I know I didn’t. To bring things back the way the creative team have done here is almost disappointing. It’s as if they ran out of their originality and just fell back on what has been successful in the past.
The Boy II does have a lot of positives to speak of even if I am left somewhat dispirited overall.
Katie Holmes (Disturbing Behavior, Batman Begins) leads a talented cast. Her portrayal of Liza, the mother of Jude, is practically flawless. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of Holmes or that I’ve ever thought twice of one of her performances, but I really do love what she did here.
Liza was the victim of a home invasion that traumatized both her and her son in different ways. While poor Jude took to being a mute, Liza bottled up her trauma in a much different manner. This slowly seeps out throughout the film’s 87 minutes. This type of emotional distress goes a long way in a story like this. Is the doll really responsible for these acts or is Liza’s deteriorating mental state manifesting everything?
The talented veteran Holmes is joined by young actor, Christopher Convery, who I was completely unfamiliar with before Brahms: The Boy II, and Owain Yeoman (The Belko Experiment), playing her on-screen husband, Sean. Both Yeoman and Convery also do great with their respective roles. I’m sure Convery’s was especially challenging given he did not have much dialogue. This left him to rely on facial expressions and body language to get things across to the audience. This is no small feat for an actor of any age, and this young man did just fine with it.
Brahms: The Boy II at Home
I was unable to catch Brahms: The Boy II in theaters when it was initially released, but thankfully the film is now available to own on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
The picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray home release are all that you’d expect with the film’s 16:9 2.39:1 Widescreen presentation and English DTS-HD Master 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio tracks. There are also optional English SDH, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish subtitles available, as well.
In terms of bonus features, this Universal Pictures release features deleted and alternate scenes and an alternate ending, which is just as effective, or ineffective depending on your take, as the one shown in theaters. It doesn’t change things much, but I am glad they included it here nonetheless.
Brahms: The Boy II is a sequel that I never thought we’d get. While I greatly enjoy the first film, I am not sure I even needed this one. Still, it is worth a watch; It features talented actors, impressive special effects, and its fair share of scares. It doesn’t rely too heavily on cheap jump scares and does a decent job of creating some pretty suspenseful moments. I don’t think the expansion of the universe was enough to warrant this follow-up film, but perhaps that will be remedied if they ever make this a trilogy.
Give The Boy II a watch and see for yourself, as I give this one 3.5 lists of rules out of 5.