Brahms: The Boy II – USA, 2020 – reviews

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Brahms: The Boy II is a 2019 [released 2020] American horror feature film directed by William Brent Bell (The Boy; Wer; The Devil Inside) from a screenplay written by Stacey Menear (The Boy). The STX Films-Lakeshore Entertainment production stars Katie Holmes (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark), Ralph Ineson (The Witch), Owain Yeoman (The Belko Experiment), Christopher Convery and Anjali Jay (iZombie).

The movie was produced by Lakeshore Entertainment’s Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi and Eric Reid, as well as Matt Berenson, Jim Wedaa and Roy Lee.

Plot:

Unaware of the terrifying history of Heelshire Mansion, a young family moves into the estate, where their young son soon makes an unsettling new friend, an eerily lifelike doll he calls Brahms…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Bell and screenwriter Stacey Menear manage to concoct a finale barmy enough to compete with their original Boy, moving the story in a different direction. The Boy II ultimately could have gone weirder, further, and faster (even at a slim 86 minutes).” AV Club

“There’s an end sequence that reminded me of the much more harrowing doll scene in Argento’s Deep Red, but I really did enjoy the closing moments […] Brahms: The Boy II engages in world-building and trying to place a reason for all the madness, but in my opinion, the unanswered nature of the first film was a much more horrific experience.” B&S About Movies

“The plot beats and scares all feel stale. The horror plays much too safe. The idea of giving audiences exactly what they thought they were getting in the first film seems smart on paper, but this sequel is too afraid to take any real risks.” Bloody Disgusting

“Obviously, fans of The Boy might be more forgiving with the franchise redirection, which aims to trigger a plethora of productions tied to the menace of Brahms, but laziness is pervasive in Boy II, which presents the bare minimum in style and plot…” Blu-ray.com

“It’s so punishingly dull to watch, filled with dry, perfunctory dialogue from Stacey Menear’s consistently uninventive script and shot without even a glimmer of style, that even at a brisk 86 minutes, it feels like unending torture. Even the fun reversal of the first film, that the doll isn’t actually alive but instead, a man is living in the walls, is ruined by a finale that buckles under the weight of its own stupidity, as well as some god-awful CGI.” The Guardian

“There aren’t that many minutes to mess up, but the film manages to make it feel much longer. At just 86 minutes, Brahms: The Boy II should fly by, but the film lurches forward with its momentum punctuated by bad jump scares and odd flashback sequences. It all leads up to an assortment of exposition-heavy scenes that clarify nothing.” IndieWire

“Some of these changes are for the better and some for the worse; but on the whole, the overall quality remains about the same. Like its predecessor, The Boy II is a fairly corny and stodgy spook-show, with a few good jolts and one genuinely creepy killer toy.” Los Angeles Times

“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.” The Movie Sleuth

“Brahms could have been so much fun had it simply embraced the nutso premise its predecessor teed up for it. Instead, we have a movie that feels like it was made by people who never even bothered to watch the first movie, let alone make the damn thing. If you’ve ever wanted to see what a misguided attempt at course correction looks like, this is it.” Oh, the Horror!

” …a generic horror mystery that is clearly trying to make itself into a franchise to try and compete with an Annabelle, only it decides to spin everything the first film had on its head and leave us all scratching our own heads in turn, largely with the reaction of why did we even watch the first film when we could have just started with this one.” Ready Steady Cut!

” …peppered with jump scares and nightmare scenes, including a nightmare-within-a-nightmare bit. It’s all too tame (this is barely PG-13 stuff) and generic for hardcore horror fans, and—well, too tame and generic for anyone else, either.” Rue Morgue

” …while scary living dolls have a good track record in horror films, The Boy 2 has nothing to offer. It’s a film completely devoid of energy, or atmosphere. It’s so boring at times that it’s almost impressive.” Slash Film

“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 Times of India

“he [Bell] can’t even engineer a decent jump scare, with the cheap non-diegetic “loud noises” doing less to raise the blood pressure more than they are attempting to rouse the audience from their naps. Worse is his attempts to expand the mythology, which overcomplicates a simple premise and a decent swerve, and transforms this dumb franchise into the budget Annabelle everybody feared that it would be.” Vanyaland

“Brahms dares to reinvent himself, but choices do nothing except unnecessarily complicate truths that are quite certain in The Boy. Oh, and it’s also just a boring-as-sin horror tale whether you view it as an illogical sequel or humdrum standalone. A boy, his doll, and maybe a flipped dinner table or two.” We Got This Covered

“The film has no suspense, wit or shock value. It’s too ploddingly paced to elicit a proper jump scare, and it’s nowhere near insightful enough to get under the skin. The only thing interesting about this disappointing follow-up is how it takes the original film down with it, retroactively hurting the chances of “The Boy” becoming a beloved cult classic.” The Wrap

Production:

Principal photography on the movie began in Victoria, British Columbia, on January 31, 2019.

Release:

At CinemaCon on April 2nd 2019, it was revealed that the official title is now Brahms: The Boy II and that STX Entertainment will release the film on July 26, 2019. This was delayed until December 6th 2019. The movie was finally released by STX Entertainment on February 21, 2020.

Cast and characters:

  • Katie Holmes … Liza
  • Owain Yeoman … Sean
  • Christopher Convery … Jude
  • Ralph Ineson … Joseph
  • Anjali Jay … Doctor Lawrence
  • Oliver Rice … Liam
  • Natalie Moon … Pamela
  • Daphne Hoskins … Sophie
  • Joely Collins … Mary
  • Ellie King … Nanny Grace
  • Joanne Kimm … Nurse Receptionist

Filming locations:

Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
London, England (street shot and M1 motorway shot)

Technical details:

86 minutes

Box office:

Worldwide Gross: $20,311,536 on an estimated budget of $10 million

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