Cinematic Releases: Brahms - The Boy II (2020) - Reviewed


Four years after the scary boy doll thrilled theaters with his own brand of porcelain horror, the story continues as a new family falls prey to Brahms and his ever evolving world of wall dwelling insanity. As a part two, this is a direct follow-up that truly does capture the essence of The Boy, even as it falters heavily in the third act. 

The second film picks up shortly after the original and tells a brand new chapter that further evolves the mythology of the horrific but well dressed doll. Dropping in to theaters just in time for the middle section of the cinematic dumping ground months, we once again find ourselves falling victim to dozens of jump scares, a plethora of eerie moments and Katie Holmes returning to a genre she hasn't done in a good while. And she definitely delivers on her promise to carry the film with doe eyed wonder and her amazing fortitude for looking freaked out at any given moment. She knows how to emote by using facial expressions to the max, which really works for this type of horror movie. 

As most good sequels should do, The Boy II builds a stronger foundation for what we learned in the 2016 movie and definitely expands in a positive direction. Taking us through a city based traumatic life event, Holmes and her family find themselves leaving for the countryside, eventually falling victim to the evils of The Boy. Steering away from being a direct copycat of its predecessor, the continuation breaks fertile ground by giving us new characters, more history, and some fresh environments. While many horror hounds may take issue with this basic story, this is meant to be a popcorn flick intended to straight entertain. In that aspect it delivers. 

So, when are we getting the Dawson's Creek reboot? Katie needs work!

Much like the first movie, this revels in creating tension laced moments that are almost always capped by a shrill and terrifying moment that erupts in a theater of laughter. No, this isn't quality storytelling at its peak but it will probably make a killing this weekend set against its meager budget. The Boy II uses modern themes of tragedy and familial stress to perfection. As a young man wades through his own struggle with mental distress, he finds himself the new beacon for the evil intentions of Brahms. Over an hour and forty minutes we're reminded how simplicity can lift a story when its actually well written and shown a little love. But we're also cognizant of how repetition can bore us to death. Brahms is a steady mixture of both. When it's good, it's really good. But when it starts to wind up, it gets awfully bad. In turn, February is a perfect time for this release. 

If you just want some dumb escapist fun that doesn't require your thinking cap and you enjoyed The Boy, you'll probably find something to like here. There are some sweet visual effects and the doll definitely ups the ante on creep factor this time around. Showing more movement this time with some cool transitions and sweeps in the editing room, The Boy II feeds us a sweet and devilish treat before we start to transition to blockbuster season again. It's nowhere near perfect but it's one of the better sequels of the last couple years. 

-Chris George