Brahms’ ‘The Boy II’: perplexing and unengaging

A review by Melanie Solari

If you’re looking for the latest horror film to watch on the market, I highly suggest that you look elsewhere.

You would think that for a sequel, ‘The Boy II’ would find scarier ways to amplify the plot following the first film. However, it disappointingly does not, with only a few jump scares that do not add much scare factor to the film.

Picking up after the events of ‘The Boy’, Liza (Katie Holmes), her husband Sean (Owain Yeoman), and their son Jude (Christopher Convery) move into the guest house at the Heelshire Mansion. Jude befriends a life-like doll named Brahms, and begins to exhibit odd behaviour to the dismay of his mother and father, as they try to communicate with the young boy to figure what’s going on with him.

Katie Holmes hasn’t been in a lead role for a while, and she certainly brings credibility to her character with her performance. Holmes makes it easy to sympathise with the mother Liza, who is troubled by events that take place at the start of the film. This is also reflected through her son Jude who is quite unsettling as the young boy battling his demons. It also helps that the actor resembles the little doll, which makes for some creepy visuals. Owain Yeoman who plays the father, Sean, does not feature as much within the story, but Ralph Ineson is effective as Joseph in his brief role. The movie’s cinematography and production design succeed in creating an eerie atmosphere throughout. That is the only positive feedback that I could say about the film.

There are significant issues with the film’s pacing, especially in the second act. The film drags on without any significant plot developments, and although we get to see the effect Brahms has on Jude, it isn’t captivating enough to keep you engage for long. Other than one sequence involving bullying, the film trudges on as it heads to the third act, especially the climax, which only raises more questions in a frustrating manner. The entire setup goes to waste by this point because director William Brent Bell is tasked with a perplexing script by writer Stacey Menear. The writer also worked on the first film and oddly, chooses to flip its narrative. Even if you haven’t watched ‘The Boy’, this film starts with the potential to address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but throws it away by the end. Besides some jump scares and the sporadic unsettling visuals, you won’t get much bang for your buck as a horror fan.

‘The Boy II’ seems to want nothing to do with its original storyline from ‘The Boy’. This is an odd and detrimental outcome for the direct continuation of Brahms’ ongoing story. The film didn’t have any shocking moments apart from the ending, which was interesting but other than that, ‘The Boy II’ had a weak storyline.

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