In 2016, the world was introduced to a creepy porcelain doll named Brahms in The Boy. The film was one in a long line of creepy doll horror movies, but it was surprisingly pretty effective in its execution with a methodical, tension-filled pace and horror-movie logical plot twists. The closing moments of the movie hinted at a potential sequel, but anyone who actually watched it could tell there was nowhere really to go with the story. That has never stopped capitalism, thus we have Brahms: The Boy II here to see if it can recapture the small amount of magic the original generated.
This time the story centers on the Liza (Katie Holmes), her husband, Sean (Owain Yeoman), and son, Jude (Christopher Convery). Following a traumatizing home invasion, Liza is saddled with PTSD and Jude has voluntarily become mute. Unable to move past these events, the family takes the summer to get away from the city and stay in a guest house on the property where the first movie occurred. While walking in the woods one day, Jude finds Brahms buried underground and asks his mom clean him up where he can keep him as a friend. His parents are unsure of the doll at first, but are encouraged when they hear Jude talking for the first time in months. But as any sane person would tell you, it is always a bad idea to bring a creepy doll inside your house.
Spoilers for the original movie appear in the following paragraph
The sequel has an odd relationship with the original movie where it mostly wants to stand as a separate story, yet still reference events that happened previously. This puts the audience in a really frustrating position where nothing gels within the mythology from which they constantly pick and choose. The first movie worked due to the reveal that there were no supernatural elements actually occurring. The fact that there was someone living in the walls moving the doll was inherently creepy and should not be built upon. What this movie chooses to do is acknowledge that these events happened, but throw everything else we know about Brahms out the window. It is a move that turns the story from something genuinely creepy to just another run of the mill creepy doll movie.
While a movie can get past plot changes if they are executed well and bring the thrills, this movie does not accomplish such a feat. The pacing of this movie is just terribly slow with no real scares to be found. Actors that normally have some sort of screen presence like Katie Holmes and Owain Yeoman seem to just be sleepwalking through their roles. This is a story that should have concluded with the initial film as this entry just fails to bring anything to the table.
The film debuts on Blu-Ray with a 1080p presentation in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio that mostly captures the film well. The movie itself has a very muted color palette that was never going to make this a disc you show off, but there is a fine amount of detail and clarity. There is slight loss of detail in fast panning shots, but it is not pervasive throughout. For a movie that relies on darkness to build tension, it is important to have deep black levels, which this thankfully does. Objects hold up pretty well in the shadows and retain their depth. There is no damage or digital noise detectable in this transfer. There are not really any moments that are going to jump off the screen, but this is a solid video presentation overall.
Brahms: The Boy II comes to Blu-Ray with a commendable DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. The movie is mostly on the quiet side with bursts of activity when Brahms is terrorizing the family. The low end of the track is especially active during these moments with a bit of wall shaking happening. The dialogue and sound effects are appropriately balanced with the creepy score where nothing gets lost in the track. Surround channels get some nice activity during the nature scenes and with the creaky house during any lead up to a “scary” reveal. There are no issues whatsoever with this track.
- Alternate Ending: The last nine minutes of the movie are presented here with the only difference being there is no meaty interior inside Brahms when he is smashed up. It’s slightly less ridiculous so they probably should have gone with this version.
- Deleted or Alternate Scenes: Six scenes totaling ten minutes are presented here with only two entirely new scenes. Most of the scenes just make the movie more heavy-handed so it is good they were cut. There is an included scene that would make the movie a bit more logical, but it would not have saved it by any means.
Brahms: The Boy II comes to Blu-Ray with a pretty nice A/V presentation and a few serviceable extras to round out the package. Unfortunately, that does not make up for the lackluster story that the film delivers. If you are in desperate need of a movie with a creepy atmosphere, have at it, but do not go in expecting much of anything in the way of scares or originality.
Brahms: The Boy II will be available to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 19, 2020.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.