A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brahms: The Boy II is the sequel to the 2016 horror movie The Boy, about a creepy doll. Violence is the biggest concern and includes a woman being attacked and hit in the head by unseen male intruders (a child sees the whole thing). A dog is shown gutted, a bully is impaled on a pointy wooden stake (he survives), and another character dies. A man gets hot candle wax in the face and is hit with a shotgun (the shotgun is held by a young boy but never fired). There are also jump scares, nightmare sequences, creepy imagery, murder stories described in the news, and a child's drawings showing blood and violent acts. Language includes a couple uses of "s--t," plus "hell" and "oh my God," as well as a bully's mean taunts. Characters drink wine during a get-together. Sex isn't really an issue. Katie Holmes, Ralph Ineson, and Owain Yeoman star.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In BRAHMS: THE BOY II, a mother, Liza (Katie Holmes), is attacked by burglars in front of her young son, Jude (Christopher Convery). The traumatic event causes Jude to stop speaking. So his father, Sean (Owain Yeoman), decides to move the family to the country to recuperate. They find a beautiful little house (the former guest house of the mansion where the events of The Boy took place) and settle in. Walking in the woods, Jude finds a doll buried in the dirt and digs it up. Jude and the doll, who's called Brahms, become inseparable. Jude announces that there are certain rules to be followed surrounding Brahms, and strange things start happening. Liza must find out what's really going on before the worst happens.
Is it any good?
Filled with lifeless characters, basic jump scares, and very little else, this useless horror sequel betrays whatever good ideas the 2016 original had in a poor attempt to create a monster franchise. While The Boy actually told a pretty good, moody story, Brahms: The Boy II ignores it in order to create a Freddy/Jason-like supernatural killer who can be brought back to life in any number of sequels. In other words, this is yet another movie that feels more like a cash-in than a story yearning to be told. And despite some atmospheric cinematography, the movie gets off to a very rough start, with mechanical characters that not even admirable attempts at acting can bring to life.
As Brahms: The Boy II crawls through its amazingly long-winded 86 minutes, it fails to build any sense of dread or give viewers the creeps. The only scares are groaningly typical, including sudden movements in a mirror, sudden "bang!"s on the soundtrack, and the doll opening its mouth really wide while creepy-crawly things fly out of it. (There are also several "it was only a nightmare" scenes.) The movie isn't even bold enough to include any shocks or slayings (except, astoundingly, a murdered dog); even an obnoxious bully gets off fairly easily. With an already crowded slate of evil, killer dolls (Chucky, Annabelle, etc.), perhaps it's best if Brahms goes back in the toy chest for good.
Talk to your kids about ...
What's the appeal of scary movies?
What's the relationship like between Jude and his parents? What happens when they disagree? How is this similar to (or different from) times you've disagreed with your parents (or children)?
What were your feelings toward the bully character? How is he dealt with? What other ways are there of dealing with bullies?
How does this sequel compare with the 2016 original?
- In theaters: February 21, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: April 3, 2020
- Cast: Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Christopher Convery
- Director: William Brent Bell
- Studio: STX Entertainment
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, terror, brief strong language and thematic elements
- Last updated: June 24, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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