The Boy was hated by both critics and audiences so why are we revisiting this story in Brahms: The Boy II? And, did it work?
When the first trailer for Brahms: The Boy II were released, many likely asked why this movie was getting a sequel. The first film, The Boy, received bad reviews from both critics and the general audience. As of today, the critic rating for The Boy is sitting at 30% favorable and the audience rating is slightly above it at 38%. However when it comes to the horror genre, critical success is rarely the goal.
While most people didn’t like The Boy enough to review it favorably, they still went out to see it. Made on a meager budget of $10 million, The Boy brought in a whopping sum of $74 million worldwide. Any movie that makes back seven times its budget is considered a success and when you have $64 million in profit, you can afford to spend another 10 to see if you can recreate the magic.
Enter The Boy II.
We’ve answered the why, now let’s get into the how. One good thing about Brahms: The Boy II is that you didn’t need to see the first movie to enjoy this one. Any prior knowledge you had about the story is a plus but it isn’t necessary. Part of the fun in the first one was that we really had no clue what to expect and that always enhances a scary movie for me.
In the second movie, we are dealing with a family. Without going too deeply into detail, a tragic event leaves the mother with PTSD and the son, Jude (Christopher Convery), is refusing to talk. Mom (Katie Holmes) and Dad (Owain Yeoman, Turn) decide that the family should get out of the city for a bit to try to reset and clear their minds about what happened.
When they arrive at the house, which is not the same house from The Boy but rather a guest house on the same grounds, they decide to go for a walk through the woods. That is where Jude finds our friend, Brahms. He’s a creepy doll but the parents are trying to get their son to speak and they accept him. They even consult Jude’s therapist who gives them reassurance that the doll could help so when weird things start happening, they’re slow to react properly.
Add to this that the son was already a bit of a prankster and the small signs that something isn’t right take far too long to be addressed.
Did it work?
Nobody is going to be asking that Brahms: The Boy II be nominated for awards, but as a horror movie it most definitely works. We simply can’t get enough of our creepy murderous dolls and Brahms is officially deserving of a place on that list.
What you get with these movies is the idea that this object, which you rarely see move on its own, is somehow controlling things. With Brahms, you may see his head turn, his eyes move, or even a quick smile that fades before someone notices but he isn’t a physical threat.
Now, the first movie took the drama to another level with a twist that I doubt anyone saw coming. I recall thinking this was an unintentionally hilarious movie until the twist happened and I was completely stunned. Based on how that situation was resolved, I wasn’t sure what to expect in The Boy II. I am pleased to report that they found a way to surprise me again.
Part of the appeal, for me, is the humorous element. There’s no way I can look at this doll and take everything seriously. When Jude tells his parents he’s not eating until they put out a plate for Brahms, I have to laugh. When Jude tells his parents that Brahms told him something, and we know he did but his parents think it’s cute, I have to laugh. None of this takes away from the creepy or scary elements to me but I understand unintentional humor can ruin a movie for many.
If you aren’t bothered by the unavoidably funny elements of the movie then you should be able to enjoy Brahms for what it is. It doesn’t rewrite the genre in any way but you’ll get your scary moments, you’ll see characters make a few decisions that will make you roll your eyes, and you’ll get a dramatic resolution. You’ll also get a twist or two that you may not expect but that are different from the twists in The Boy. While critics hate the sequel, the public is enjoying this iteration slightly more than its predecessor.
You can find Brahms: The Boy II in your local theater.