Just a fair warning right away: if you have not seen The Boy or care to see the first movie, then there will be spoilers ahead. There’s not a right way to give an adequate opinion on BRAHMS: THE BOY 2 without discussing what happened in the first. Now for those who watched the original, like me, we have all been questioning why a sequel exists. In The Boy, a woman is hired as a babysitter only to discover she’s actually caring for a doll that resembles their dead son. Their son didn’t exactly get along with other kids and is blamed for horrific acts while he was alive and believed to have died in a fire. As it turns out, Brahms is still alive and living in the house walls, messing with the doll to create the illusion that it is indeed alive. The woman and her love interest barely escape and the movie ends with an indication that Brahms might still be alive and is putting the doll back together.
The movie was a moderate success and somehow managed to get a sequel that no one saw coming. Katie Holmes stars as Liza, who is attacked with her son during a home invasion gone wrong. Six months later, both are still traumatized as Liza is unable to confront her demons and her son, Jude (played by Christopher Convery), has become a mute. With her husband, they move out into the country, not realizing that they just stepped through the other side of the woods where Brahms grew up. Jude hears voices whispering him to follow them and he finds the doll which he takes home as his own. His parents hear him speaking to the doll, but only when doors are closed and it seems to never stay in the same place.
Also, Brahms sets the same set of rules with some changes from The Boy. Liza thinks the doll is causing her son to go further down a hole, but it is argued that Brahms is creating a safe space for Jude. BRAHMS: THE BOY II plays with the idea that mental illness is playing its part and Liza might be imagining things after her trauma, but the movie never takes it seriously instead inducing several cheap jump-scares. Her husband’s main role is to have someone wake her up from one of the many nightmare sequences that occur throughout. Jude is far more interesting as the camera focuses on his inability to communicate yet does so much through his eyes.
The abusive relationship storyline from the first movie helped us understand why someone would stay in the odd situation they’re placed in, but here, it feels rushed and not exactly thought through. It begins strong but once Brahms enters the story, it feels rushed and chopped together. Brahms is the perfect symbol for dealing with trauma but he ends up being another cliche horror trope in THE BOY II.
Maybe there will be a string of barely related low budget sequels that integrates the doll. I’m thinking something like what’s referred to as the “Cursed Collection” from the Amityville franchise. For those unfamiliar, they’re straight to TV/DVD sequels that have no continuity but utilize a haunted object that’s somehow connected to the Amityville home. All fictional, of course, but they can be entertaining and, even at times, original. Brahms can be that object if done correctly, but it’s always surprising to see what becomes a franchise and what doesn’t.
BRAHMS: THE BOY II is now in theaters. For more on the film, check out our interview with director William Brent Bell here.