‘Brahms: The Boy II’ offers generic, enjoyable slice of PG-13 horror

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of STX Entertainment | Daily Texan Staff

"Annabelle” is officially canceled. 

“Brahms: The Boy II” is the sequel to 2016’s “The Boy.” The film follows a new family that moves into the guest house of the Heelshire Estate after a home invasion in their former city residence. At the estate, the couple’s son stumbles upon the eerie doll from the first film and slowly begins to form a terrifying bond with the porcelain boy. 

The protagonist family of the film consists of Liza (Katie Holmes), Sean (Owain Yeoman) and their son, Jude (Christopher Convery). The narrative is mostly anchored in Liza’s perspective as she tries to recover from the intense trauma of the burglary. Holmes plays the part effectively, truly conveying a mother figure that cares immensely for her son’s well-being.

Sean, though not a particularly interesting character, adds to the family dynamic. His genuine and comedic attitude help to balance out the moments of extreme stress faced by Liza. The characters play well off of each other, helping sell the believability of their marriage. 

Christopher Convery fulfills the creepy kid trope with his satisfying performance of Jude. Because his character is mute for the majority of the film, Convery is constantly emulating unease with a simple glare or blank stare. His line delivery is sufficiently nuanced, although some of his dialogue is a bit on the nose.

Unlike other creepy doll flicks, “Brahms: The Boy II” explores an interesting dynamic regarding whether or not Jude’s reliance on the doll is beneficial for his coping process. This issue intensifies the relationship between Liza and Sean, allowing their character’s viewpoints to come through clearly. 

The framing, lighting and camera movement convey a sense of dread throughout the majority of the film. Most scenes are naturally lit, casting smooth and eerie light upon the faces of the characters and the titular doll. Shots often remain static during scenes and only become glaringly dynamic during the more haunting moments.

While the previous film impressed audiences with its subgenre bending plot twist, “Brahms: The Boy II” does a bit of backtracking in order to fit the narrative of the film. While the storyline could have (and should have) gone in a more unique direction, the film does a sufficient job at telling its tale. While there are a few effective jump scares, the true terror of the film comes from its slow burn of a storyline. The final sequence of scenes offers some wild visuals that will surely cause any horror fan to grin with morbid delight. 

Despite being an overall fun tale, “Brahms: The Boy II” does struggle a bit with its script. A lot of dialogue feels very on the nose and corny, taking audiences out of the moment when they are engrossed in the haunting tension. Additionally, a plot point in the film seems to repeat itself twice, diminishing its effect the second time around. There’s also a completely unnecessary cliffhanger moment that seems to be a mainstay in all generic PG-13 horror films.

“Brahms: The Boy II” is an enjoyable slice of casual PG-13 horror. It’s unnerving and slightly cheesy, but by the end audiences are rewarded with some pretty neat sequences and callbacks. 

3 well-mannered porcelain boys out of 5