Photo courtesy of Lakeshore Entertainment
After admittedly not being a fan of The Boy, I went into Brahms: The Boy 2 with low expectations. Sadly, I should’ve lowered them further as the film goes through the motions of a haunted house movie without any sense of fun and few scares to match. At an hour and twenty-five minutes, the story is very bare bones and leaves us wondering what could’ve been.
After a traumatic event leads Liza (Katie Holmes) paranoid and her son Jude (Christopher Convery) silent, the father decides they need to get away from the city and head to a country house, which, ironically is far more isolated. With only one obviously creepy neighbor (Ralph Ineson) and a larger abandoned house a stones toss away, it doesn’t take long for the troubles to begin as Jude finds the mysterious doll and list of rules we were introduced to in the first film. The parents are faced with a dilemma. The doll is strange and Jude becomes obsessed, but it helps him talk again. What’s a parent to do?
This film acts like it will have something to say about trauma or overcoming one's fears, but it handles its themes clumsily, often only using them as a Boo! device to fill time. The movie clocks in at less than an hour and a half, and yet, there isn’t much to digest. It’s not required that a horror film always have something profound to say, but it certainly would’ve helped here.
Even a horror movie adhering to the typical conventions can pass the bar and be good entertainment, but such isn’t the case here. Katie Holmes already has starred in haunted house fare like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark that had far more style and teeth, and actually had me caring about the characters. Here, she tries just as hard but the script and direction don’t back her up. She suffers nightmares, tries to connect with her son, and her husband obviously isn’t believing any of it until the climax. One of the first films important parts was it took place in the colossal house where hauntings could happen around every corner. Here, only a fraction of the scares happen in that house which just feels like a waste.
There certainly was potential with this film. Dolls are an ever reliable source for evil when they begin telling kids to take the sharp knife, but even with the original writer onboard to follow up to her own story, this feels more like fan-fiction or a student film. I would understand a student film not getting to work in the mansion. Here, it just seems lazy.