Brahms: The Boy II (PG13)
Starring Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Ralph Ineson
Directed by William Brent Bell
Oh, boy. Brahms: The Boy II, a movie ostensibly about a demonically possessed doll wreaking havoc among the living, is really a cautionary tale for homebuyers, about realtor negligence.
When the film’s beleaguered family — Katie Holmes as Liza, Owain Yeoman as hubby Sean, and Christopher Convery as their son Jude — moved into a country house, why weren’t they told anything about the burnt-down mansion with the bad ju ju next door?
I know, I know — this withholding of info is a plot device to drum up suspense and mystery. But c’mon, this movie is set in the present-time, not the pre-Internet era. Even if the property agent weren’t forthcoming about the place, surely the family has at least Google it?
Regrettably, they didn’t. These white folks are super-trusting. (Just like Jason Clarke’s character in Pet Sematary; someone conveniently forgot to mention that animal graveyard to him.) They only start to dig for intel after the fact, when the s*** has already hit the fan — and dripping from it.
Had Liza & Co. be warned about her neighbours and their dark legacy, imagine all the pain and suffering she could’ve saved her family from. Even if that means the movie has one less excuse to exist.
If we let this little technicality slide, what can we make of the rest of the film? It’s a serviceable fright-fest, if not a particular riveting one. It’s another mindless slog through familiar tactics; creepy child clichés meet creepy doll clichés when lonely kid Jude befriends Brahms the cursed plaything.
Knowledge of the first Boy isn’t a requirement. (Full disclosure: I didn’t watch it or maybe I did but have no recollection whatsoever.) Then again, if you’ve seen Annabelle and Child’s Play (and their sequels), you know what to expect.
The frights are watered down too. But I must say that for a PG13 movie, there’s one pretty nasty moment involving an obnoxious bully picking on Jude. With a little help from his menacing inanimate pal, Jude gets his revenge by introducing the victim to the wrong end of a sharp stick. Far from being terrified, I was actually rooting for Brahms. The bully had it coming. But I did feel bad for the stick. (**)
Photo: Golden Village Pictures/STX Films