Story: A traumatic home invasion has prompted Sean (Owain Yeoman) and Liza (Katie Holmes) to move from the urban sprawl to a remote rural locale, a more serene place for their son Jude (Christopher Convery) to grow up. The family settles into the guest house on an isolated estate and while it is a drastic change in lifestyle, the parents hope the calm and quiet can help Jude recover his voice and find some measure of normalcy again. No sooner does the family arrive than Jude makes a new friend, a creepy doll that was buried in the woods and discovered during a nature walk. Of course, Liza is hesitant about the unusual find, but she wants to help Jude move on and since the doll seems to comfort him, she agrees to let him keep the doll, even if it does give her the creeps. When strange things begin to happen and Jude’s behavior shifts in dramatic ways, is the family just adjusting to the changes or is there a darker force at work?

Entertainment Value: I was interested in the concept of The Boy, mostly due to the eerie design of the Brahms doll, but the movie itself left me rather unsatisfied. In Brahms: The Boy II, what little there was to praise about The Boy has been reduced and this sequel proves to be a total snooze. The narrative is fine, not much fresh paint from the original, but some potential, which is then wasted in short order. This film seems content to show scenes of either a motionless Brahms or Katie Holmes in an emotional panic, with little else offered here. The pace is glacial, very little at all happens and of the little that does happen, nothing here stands out as memorable or even fun to watch. I can usually find a scene or two in even the most boring or mundane pictures, but no such luck in his case. Even the location is a downgrade, as at least the creaky house was a source of some basic atmosphere, whereas this sequel settles for a much less interesting guest house approach. I was bored to tears here, so I have to give Brahms: The Boy II a failing grade.

As I mentioned above, this movie has a lot of time devoting to showing us how scared Katie Holmes is and sadly, that’s about the extent of her performance here. She doesn’t seem too engaged with the material and rather detached, though perhaps that was an intentional aspect of her turn. Her reactions are kind of fun in an over the top way, but it starts to wear off after a while and so little is done with her character. The writing puts minimal effort into development of any kind with Holmes’ character, so perhaps that is another reason her performance is so bland. Even so, Holmes is a more than capable performer and I think she could have done more with the role. There’s a small role here with Ralph Ineson that is more or less the highlight of the picture, or at least it is for this viewer. His character is a little odd and so is Ineson’s turn, so it all combines to provide easily the most memorable part of this one, the creepy caretaker. The cast also includes Owain Yeoman, Christopher Convery, Oliver Rice, and Anjali Jay.

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