After escaping an abusive relationship by accepting a nannying position in the UK, Greta soon realizes her new job is less than normal. The child in her care is not a child at all, but a porcelain doll named Brahms. Soon after her arrival, bizarre things begin to happen and it would seem that Brahms is more than a doll and possibly something more sinister.
Spoiler Warning Below
Greta is left in charge of Brahms as his parents are away on an extended holiday. She is given a list of peculiar rules of which she ignores initially. The parents treat the doll as if he is a real living boy, giving him music lessons and reading to him, and Greta is to do the same. The only visitor to the estate is Malcolm, a grocery delivery man. He informs Greta of the sad history of the family. That Brahms was a real boy who died in a fire over 20 years ago.
As Greta settles into life at the home, while ignoring the rules, she begins to experience strange things. She can hear a child crying, her things go missing and Brahms is sometimes found in new positions and places. She recognizes that she must follow the rules and that Brahms is “alive”.
Malcolm begins to worry about Greta as she is seemingly losing her sanity. He explains that the real Brahms was a suspect in a girls murder at the young age of 8. She was found with her skull crushed and soon after Brahms perished in the fire. But she believes Brahms would never hurt her and chooses to ignore Malcolm’s warnings.
The film is very creepy. Just like Dead Silence and Annabelle, we are left wondering what is the secret hiding behind the dolls vacant stare. There are many great jump scares and moments that leave the viewer uneasy. All around, the film is very enjoyable and frightening, until we arrive at the “twist”.
After Greta’s abusive ex Cole surprises her at the home, he becomes enraged by her love of the doll and her refusal to return to the US with him. He rips Brahms from her grasp and smashes the doll into pieces. The lights begin to flicker and movement can be heard from behind the walls. Cole places his head against a mirror to hear where the noise is and it bursts. They look on in horror as an adult Brahms, wearing a similar porcelain mask, crawls through.
We realize that Brahms did not die in the fire 20-something years ago. Instead, he’s been living in the walls, peaking through and watching his parents and Greta, while living vicariously through the doll. While running through the walls trying to escape, Greta finds a suicide note by Brahms’ parents explaining that she is a gift to him and that the parents can no longer care for him. Greta presumably kills Brahms in a struggle and leaves. However, we soon see him repairing the broken doll.
This “twist” really ruined the film for me. It reminded me too much of Black Christmas, where the killer was living in the walls after being presumed dead. I wonder why the parents would keep him there, and how they built such an intricate system of wall tunnels and secret doors. A supernatural reasoning would have been so much more appealing and terrifying. For me, humans with motivation aren’t quite as scary as the spiritual.