Movie Review: “Brahms: The Boy II”
Brahms: The Boy II
After a home burglary leaves their family traumatized, Liza (Katie Holmes) and Sean (Owain Yeoman) take their son—Jude (Christopher Convery)—on a getaway vacation to a remote house. The house used to be the guest house of a larger estate, but once the old owners sold it, the new owners began renting it out. Liza and Sean were hoping that this little getaway would be just what they would need to recuperate and get back to normal. However, their son Jude ends up making a discovery that is anything but normal.
After Jude discovers an old doll that had been buried outside the main house of the estate, Liza and Sean struggle to separate the boy from the doll. At first, the doll seemed to be helping Jude through his issues—the ones left behind after the burglary. However, Jude seems to have become oddly attached, even claiming that the doll talks to him. Then Jude begins to act out, claiming that it was actually Brahms—the doll—who was responsible for the incidents. Jude seems to be on a dangerous path, but as Liza tries to separate the doll from their son, she begins to suspect that there may be something supernatural going on.
The Pros & Cons
The Family (+5pts)
Brahms & Jude (+5pts)
The Scares & The Climax (-8pts)
The Bully (+2pts)
Character Development (-4pts)
Pro: The Family (+5pts)
Usually, the families or main characters in horror movies are poorly developed. Filmmakers usually get caught up in delivering horror—you know, the most important part of a horror movie—and the development of the main characters end up falling to the wayside. This is usually to the point where I do not really care about them or their relationships with one another. Fortunately, this movie was different in this regard.
One of the best things about this movie was the family. They had a shared trauma, but they each had their own experience in that trauma. They all needed to recover, but their storyline was really about Liza and Sean trying to power through their own issues in order to help their son. It was an interesting storyline, and was one that was made even more interesting by throwing a potentially possessed doll into the equation. I found their family‘s storyline more interesting than your typical horror movie protagonist's storyline, and I liked seeing how the presence of Brahms played into that.
Con: Boring (-8pts)
Wow, this movie was boring. Renember what I said before about a lot of horror movie filmmakers get too caught up in trying to deliver horror, causing them to forget about developing their characters? Well the filmmakers of Brahms: The Boy II did the opposite. They were so focused on trying to develop their characters that they seemed to forget about the horror. This led to nothing really happening for long stretches of the movie's duration.
The unfortunate thing is that I think there was an easy way for fix this. There was a point in this story—toward the end of the movie—where both Liza and Sean made a realization about Brahms at approximately the same time, which then led into a candlelit scene between Liza and the groundskeeper. From this scene on, there was enough going on to make for a decent horror movie. However, the filmmakers just breezed through it to wrap up the movie. If they had made the realization scene happen about thirty minutes earlier, and stretched out the rest of the movie, the filmmakers could have delivered a much more effective and intense horror movie. Instead, what they delivered was pretty boring and uneventful for most of the film’s duration.
Pro: Brahms & Jude (+5pts)
I remember seeing The Boy and I remember how it ended, so when I saw that they were making a sequel, I was worried that the filmmakers would contradict the movie that came before. If you saw the last movie, then you will probably have shared my concern. However, I was glad to see that the filmmakers connected the two movies in a way that made sense and actually added an additional layer to the last movie. They did that through the relationship between Brahms and Jude.
I do not want to get into this part of the story with too much detail, as I want to avoid getting into spoiler territory, but know that I liked the relationship between Brahms and Jude for two reasons. The first was that I liked how it connected the two movies while adding a new layer to the first one. However, the second reason was that I just enjoyed the relationship between these two characters within this story. It made the character of Jude pretty conflicted. Brahms was helping Jude through his trauma, but Jude was also blaming Brahms for the bad things that were happening around the house and even seemed afraid of what he thought the doll was capable of at times. Again, I do not want to talk about this in much detail, but know that I enjoyed seeing how the doll affected Jude and how the character responded to it throughout the course of this movie.
Con: The Scares & The Climax (-8pts)
This was a horror movie that was lacking horror. It had all the lazy jump scares that you would expect from a stereotypical horror in which the filmmakers utilized jump scares to try to hide the fact that they did not have enough real horror. Then it finally came to the climax, and I thought there would finally be some real scares or real horror at the end, but the filmmakers ended up dropping the ball with that as well. Given the story that the filmmakers had with the climax, there was definitely the potential for some true horror moments. However, the filmmakers just sort of breezed through the climax of this story with the tiniest amount of horror possible. The result of all of this was a movie that could have been a decent horror, but the filmmakers seemed to leave all of the horror out of it, and instead resorted to the lazy horror.
Pro: The Bully (+2pts)
This was a pretty short scene, and I do not want to give it away, so I will keep this one brief. Anyway, there was a point in this movie where Jude encountered a bully and it was really suspenseful. Brahms was right there to witness the whole thing, and—knowing Jude's relationship with Brahms and his tendency to blame bad things on the doll—I knew something bad was going to happen, I just did not know what would happen or when. This scene was drawn out, but it was pretty intense so I thought it worked well. It was a short scene, but it was one of the better, more captivating scenes in the entire movie, which made it worth mentioning in this review.
Con: Character Development (-4pts)
This may seem a bit contradictory to an earlier section in this review, where I talked about how I enjoyed the development of the family members, but bear with me. I enjoyed how the filmmakers developed these characters initially. In other words, I liked how the filmmakers set them up, and how they developed their relationships throughout the first half of the movie. However, in the second half of the movie, none of the characters seemed to have changed or grown in any way.
They each just continued to say the same things, and act the same way as they did in the beginning. It was as if the filmmakers were on the right path when it came to the character development, thought that they were done, and just stopped developing the characters. Good character development shows characters evolving from the events of their story. This could be positive or negative evolution, but there should be some amount of change internally. With this movie, however, none of the characters seemed to evolve at all, which made the events of the movie feel pointless.
Grade: D+ (67pts)
I saw The Boy a few years ago. It was a decent enough horror movie, but I really enjoyed the reveal toward the end. Then I saw the trailers for this movie, which seemed to suggest that this movie would directly contradict the last one. Then I saw the movie, and actually ended up liking how the filmmakers tied the two together, as they did so in a way that added a new layer to the last movie. Unfortunately, the movie was not great otherwise.
I liked how the filmmakers setup the family, as I liked how their shared trauma affected them throughout this story. I also liked the relationship between Jude and Brahms, as the boy‘s attachment to the doll added an extra variable to the family’s already troubled situation. Unfortunately, this movie was incredibly boring. It seemed to be absent of any real scares, and the filmmakers resorted to the laziest form of horror. The character development also seemed to stop at about the halfway point of the movie, with none of the characters growing or evolving from the events of the story. It was a horror story that had potential, but ended up lacking in horror, making it a pretty boring movie.