In spite of its modest, but surprising, box office success, Lakeshore Entertainment took four years to release a sequel to The Boy. Maybe they should have left the doll on the shelf. Director William Brent Bell returned for sequel, Brahms The Boy II. But Katie Holmes steps in for Lauren Cohan this time around. And the January release date was traded in for a much more ambitious February opening. Unfortunately, the sequel abandons the original story while also trading in minor Gothic atmosphere for derivative horror plotting. The result – significantly diminished box office returns and a likely end to this creepy doll franchise.
After a traumatizing break-in, Liza and her husband, Sean, decide to re-locate to the remote Heelshire property with their son, Jude. Since the home invasion, Jude has withdrawn and remained mute. During a walk along the property, Jude finds an old porcelain doll buried in the woods. Now settled into their new home, Jude begins to come out of his shell, bonding with his new “friend”, Brahms. But Jude’s behaviour becomes increasingly strange as his fiction with Brahms grows. Soon Liza worries that something evil is hiding behind Brahms’ porcelain shell.
Brahms The Boy II Inexplicably Undoes All the Goodwill Of Its Predecessor
No one is going to confuse The Boy with classic horror. No, it’s not Child’s Play and probably falls somewhere in between the great Annabelle: Creation and the dull Annabelle. But it’s a watchable, occasionally creepy horror movie, with a fun twist. Not content to just rehash the first movie, director William Brent Bell and Stacey Menear turn in a sequel that accomplishes two dubious feats. Not only is Brahms The Boy II worse than its predecessor, the sequel manages to undo any goodwill its predecessor achieved. Like another recent sequel – The Houses October Built 2 – Brahms The Boy II retcons The Boy to such an extent that it’s almost impossible to go back to that movie and enjoy it.
Not only is Brahms The Boy II worse than its predecessor, the sequel manages to undo any goodwill its predecessor achieved.
After subverting audience expectations and revealing that “Brahms” is just a doll – the real Brahms is a man living inside the walls of the house – Bell and Menear walk their own premise back. No, as it turns out, Brahms really is an evil, demonic doll that orchestrated everything in the first movie. Menear’s screenplay even builds in more backstory through convenient exposition and … Google searches. As a result, Brahms The Boy II doesn’t really require you to have even watched the first movie. It’s a story-making choice that justifies the sequel’s existence when one was really unnecessary. Conversely, the narrative decision also serves to wipe the sequel of everything that made the first movie surprisingly good.
Loud Sounds and Jump Scares Replace Gothic Horror
Despite its perplexing story change, Brahms The Boy II could have still been scary. Previously, Bell showed he could orchestrate Gothic atmosphere and some chills. And in the opening moments, Brahms The Boy II scores one unsettling moment and decent jump with its home invasion scene. Too bad it’s all downhill from that point onward. What Bell offers for the remainder of the sequel is a lazy collection of loud sounds, telegraphed jump scares, and repeated scenes of Brahms turning his head. It’s not creepy the first time and doesn’t improve with repetition. Despite clocking in at just under 90 minutes, Brahms The Boy II drags terribly. Bell even threatens audiences with a tease for another sequel.
What Bell offers for the remainder of the sequel is a lazy collection of loud sounds, telegraphed jump scares, and repeated scenes of Brahms turning his head.
Though Katie Holmes is arguably a more recognizable star, Brahms The Boy II misses Lauren Cohan. Of course, Holmes isn’t responsible for her character’s generic background, Menear afforded Cohan with a more fleshed out backstory that isn’t available to Holmes who just looks tired for most of the sequel. As husband and father, Owain Yeoman has very little to do here and comes out relatively unscathed. Only the always wonderful character actor Ralph Ineson (The Witch) makes any impression. As for the porcelain doll itself, Brahms is no Annabelle or Chucky – the “Brahms” mask is actually much creepier. But Brahms does get something of a big finale that may at least wake viewers from their stupor.
Brahms The Boy II as Disappointing as the Original was Suprising
If there was ever a movie that stood as an example that not every property needs a sequel, Brahms The Boys II is that movie. Even with its original creative team returning, the sequel feels terribly removed from its predecessor. If The Boy was quietly effective, if not familiar, its sequel is utterly derivative, bordering on cynical. And it’s not just the original movie’s ending that is completely glossed over. For some inexplicable reason, Bell and Menear abandon everything that worked well the first time around for tired horror movie tropes. What’s left is a forgettable movie that feels much longer than its short runtime.