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When I first about the release of Brahms: The Boy II there was two thoughts that crossed my mind.

1. Was it really necessary to make a sequel? Sure the first film was okay and had a fairly decent plot line that didn’t irritate too much, with a twist that was well played out. Plus Lauren Cohan will always focus my attention. But, did it warrant a franchise to be generated? Evidently, the production team felt the desire to resurrect the porcelain doll and his antics for the big screen again. At least the same director, William Brent Bell would be attached, so the vision and style should be consistent.

2. It starred Katie Holmes, which struck me that I hadn’t seen her since the whole Tom Cruise situation and the last horror film that I can recall her starring in was Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, which didn’t exactly ignite any passion in my heart.

The end result though is a curious one as it felt as though it completely forego the previous movies’ conclusion and went back to the heart of a possessed doll.

This in itself would be forgiven if the filmmakers really decided to ramp up the scares, but sadly this is lacking. I think they were attempting to build up on tension with a minimalistic approach, which didn’t come across at all. I know that the Brits (the supposed setting of the film is the UK) are incredibly reserved in many ways, but that’s taking the realism of the feature to the extreme.

The sequel does try to keep a theme throughout its franchise by having its central characters as victims of physical abuse. This time around mother, Lisa (Katie Holmes) and her son, Jude (Christopher Convery) of a house break-in that leaves them both mentally scarred. The latter is unable to talk since the ordeal.

So after numerous bouts of counseling, the father, Sean (Owain Yeoman) who is also feeling guilty from being away at work at the time of the attack, decides that the family needs to have a break and get away from it all. This brings them to the Heelshire’s property from the first film where Jude discovers a partially buried Brahms and instantly forms a close bond with it.

From here on in the feature attempts to instill some animosity with strange events occurring around the house, which Lisa believes is just her son playing up, but when things start to take a sinister turn, she begins to question her own sanity. Is Brahms real? Again this could have been played with more intelligence and evoked a reaction from both the character in delving into the psyche of Lisa and played upon the impact that physical abuse can have on people, especially if it ramped up the isolation component, a hard thing to do with 3 main characters, but not impossible. Instead it just coasts along content with ticking the boxes.

The only other character of note is Joseph the ominous groundskeeper who in fairness is expertly played by Ralph Ineson (The Witch). In fact all the cast deliver worthy performances, but the script and plotline is all too obvious. The only question I had for a brief second was whether there was an ulterior motive from the father Sean. Was he somehow involved in the ruse, but this was quickly swiped aside when it was evident that the movie was going in a very different direction.

The Prognosis:

There was ample opportunity to create a franchise from a fairly average film, but both director and the creative team seem content to rest on their laurels

The scares are absent. The thrill factor is non-existent. And my interest waned before the half hour mark, as I had no care or interest in what happened to the characters.

Another disappointment for the start of 2020.

– Saul Muerte