Combustible Celluloid
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With: Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Christopher Convery, Ralph Ineson, Anjali Jay, Oliver Rice, Natalie Moon, Daphne Hoskins, Joely Collins, Ellie King
Written by: Stacey Menear
Directed by: William Brent Bell
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror, violence, disturbing images and thematic elements
Running Time: 86
Date: 02/21/2020

Brahms: The Boy II (2020)

1 Star (out of 4)

Drag Doll

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Filled with lifeless characters, basic jump-scares, and very little else, this useless horror sequel betrays whatever good ideas the 2016 movie had in a gross attempt to create a monster franchise.

While The Boy actually told a pretty good, moody story, Brahms: The Boy II ignores it in order to create a Freddy/Jason-like supernatural killer that can be brought back to life in any number of sequels. In other words, this is yet another movie that feels more like a cash-in than a story yearning to be told. Despite some atmospheric cinematography, the movie gets off to a very rough start with the mechanical characters that not even admirable attempts at acting can bring to life.

In Brahms: The Boy II, a mother, Liza (Katie Holmes) is attacked by burglars in front of her young son Jude (Christopher Convery). The traumatic event causes Jude to stop speaking, so his father, Sean (Owain Yeoman), decides to move them to the country to recuperate. They find a beautiful little house (the former guest house of the mansion where the events of The Boy took place) and settle in.

Walking in the woods, Jude finds a doll buried in the dirt and digs it up. Jude and the doll, who is called Brahms, become inseparable. Jude announces that there are certain rules to be followed surrounding Brahms, and strange things begin happening. Liza must find out what's really going on before the worst happens.

As Brahms: The Boy II crawls through its amazingly long-winded 86 minutes, it fails to build any sense of dread or give us the creeps. The only scares are groaningly typical, including sudden movements in a mirror, sudden BANGS on the soundtrack, and the doll opening its mouth really wide while creepy-crawly things fly out of it. (There are also several "it was only a nightmare" scenes.)

The movie isn't even bold enough to include any shocks or slayings (except, astoundingly, a murdered dog); even an obnoxious bully gets off fairly easy. With an already-crowded slate of evil, killer dolls (Chucky, Annabelle, etc.), perhaps it's best if Brahms goes back in the toy chest for good.

Universal's Blu-ray release contains a fine transfer, highlighting the film's spooky blue-gray-forest green color palette, and with an effective DTS audio track. There are optional subtitles. Bonuses include an alternate ending and about 10 minutes of deleted or alternate scenes. The set also includes a DVD and a digital copy.

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