Saturday is Horror Day #15 – Night of the Living Dead (1968), Brahms: The Boy 2

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Barbra and her brother Johnny make a yearly pilgrimage to their father’s grave on behalf of their mother, in order to place flowers on his grave, despite the fact that it’s a six hour round trip. And they only stay for a few minutes, while placing the flowers.

 

 

Johnny is a playful brother and likes to tease his sister by scaring her, telling her that people are coming to

get her. He points at a lone man who is slowly making his way through the cemetery, and tells her “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!” Laughing, he turns away, but his laughter ends abruptly when Barbra is attacked by the man. Johnny goes to her rescue, only to be thrown violently down, hitting his head on a tombstone.

Barbra runs for her life but can’t get far in the car, because Johnny has the keys. She coasts as far as she can then runs to the nearest home. She enters the farmhouse and looks around but there is no sign of life. Heading upstairs, she makes a gruesome discover – a grisly corpse, looking much the worse for wear. Terrified, she runs, only to see headlights and then a man comes rushing in. His name is Ben and he needs gas and stopped there, seeing the gas pump behind the house. Unfortunately, Barbra has no idea where the key is. And the number of people outside only seems to be growing, as they work at getting inside, trying to kill Barbra and Ben.

 

It turns out that there are people hiding in the cellar. Mr. Cooper and his wife and ill daughter, and Tom and his girlfriend Judy. Cooper doesn’t see the point in leaving the cellar, but Ben says they’ll be sitting ducks there. As night falls, things go from bad to worse…

Director George Romero’s film started a trend in horror films that continues to this very day, namely the zombie film. Although over forty years old, this film withstands the test of time. It was a very low budget film, and the zombies were played by friends and relatives. I’m willing to bet you won’t soon forget the final ironic scene. Worth revisiting, for sure. I give it a solid 4 stars.

Brahms: The Boy 2

After a horrific home invasion, Liza (Katie Holmes) and Sean (Owain Yeoman) decide to make a fresh start somewhere else, so they move into the remote English countryside, along with their son Jude (Christopher Convery). Ever since the incident, Jude hasn’t spoken, communicating only with the use of his writing pad, and his parents are naturally concerned.

 

 

Delighted with their new home, they decide to explore the area around it. Jude spies a hand sticking up from the dirt. He unearths it to discover a most unusual doll. He takes it home and they clean it up. Jude seems to like the doll, which bodes well for his recovery, right? When asked his name, Jude writes that it is Brahms… and that the doll told him this. Of course his parents chalked that up to their son having a great imagination.

Or does he?

 

Jude seems to be growing more and more defiant after presenting his family with the rules according to Brahms. Of course no one in their right minds would go along with such rules. Not to mention it’s only a doll, right? But Liza becomes very concerned when she finds pictures Jude has drawn, showing him standing over the dead bodies of his parents, holding a shot gun. She confides her concerns to Jude’s therapist, with whom he remains in contact via Facetime

Jude tries to tell them that Brahms will hurt them if they don’t follow the rules. Accidents happen, but are they really accidents? Is Jude acting up in Brahms’ name… or is there something more sinister going on?

Liza is determined to get to the bottom of things. They live near a manor house known as Heelshire,

abandoned and desolate. Liza follows Jude there and discovers a small entrance that leads behind the walls. Later, the caretaker/man in the woods tells her about the previous family, whose son killed a young girl and then lived for thirty years behind those walls. What was the boy’s name, she asks. 

Brahms.

Liza knows she has to do something or she’ll lose her son – and maybe her whole family – forever.

This is the sequel to The Boy, which I recently reviewed. And what made the first film interesting has been completely changed, but into what?  ****SPOILERS FOR THE BOY ahead*** In the first film, the doll turned out to be just a doll, and Brahms was actually alive and living in the walls. Much creepier than believing in a strange doll entity, right? But in the second film, there is no such explanation, and it’s all on the doll.

How does that even work? I don’t know, but stretches credulity. The film itself isn’t badly made or directed, despite the thin plot. However, Katie Holmes doesn’t give a particularly strong performance. Christopher Convery as Jude is sufficiently creepy, and so is the caretaker, played by Ralph Ineson, whom I never could decide if he was safe or sound or batshit crazy.

At the end of the film, Liza discovers that this doll goes back a long time, which seems to negate the premise of the first film.  Although the two films share the same director, I think someone else wrote the second, which explains much. I’m not sure what sort of vibe they were going for, but if it was supposed to be scary, it failed. 

Okay, I just read something about the ending explained. Let’s just say, it missed the mark, at least for me. I hope they’re done with this franchise. There are better films to watch. I’ll give this 2.5 stars, and shaky ones at that.

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