Released: 20th February
Seen: 25th February
So, most paints you buy at a hardware store are made up of four ingredients. The pigment is what gives it the colour and comes in several forms, such as organic and inorganic which work differently depending on where you’re using it and have different kinds of colour. There’s also extender pigments which include things like clay, silica, diatomaceous silica and zinc oxide to name a few. After pigments, there are binders which basically is what holds everything together (hence the term binder, it’s very self-explanatory in that way) and the binder is what gives pain it’s gloss retention, makes it washable and helps with fade resistance. There’s a lot of binder types, like latex and water and oil so that’s probably what gives them their names, I’m not a paint expert. After that there are solvents, basically the thing that makes paint into a liquid so it’s usable. Lastly, there are additives, things that change the viscosity of the paint or keeps it from separating. Now you know this, it might help you understand why it takes so very long for paint to dry. Hell, go out, buy a 5 dollar tin of paint (I suggest a nice hickory brown) and a large piece of wall and just paint a single line so the paint can drip down as it dries. Congratulations, I just offered you a cheaper and more exciting experience than Brahms: The Boy 2.
Brahms: The Boy 2 is a sequel to the film The Boy, which is a film that actually existed and is what you might call “Skull numbingly boring”. The original film at least had the mildly interesting hook of the doll belonging to an old English couple who treated their doll as a child so everything might have been just a figment of the imagination of the main character and then (spoilers for a film you probably didn’t see and don’t give a shit about) it turns out that the doll was never alive in the first place, instead, it was an adult named Brahms who lived in the wall who kept doing everything. It wasn’t a great twist, but there is something to be said for the attempt. Taking all the trappings of a haunted house movie and revealing at the end that the house was never haunted, it was someone in the walls? I’m actually fine with that. So, naturally, Brahms ignores all that shit and just decides to make the doll haunted and evil and show it moving around a lot because originality is dead, long live repetitive boredom.
Brahms: The Boy 2 focuses on a family with no last name that consists of married couple Liza (Katie Holmes) Sean (Owain Yeoman) and their son Jude (Christopher Convery). When Liza and Jude are at home during a break-in that causes Liza to have her head bashed in, the family decides to go on a holiday in the middle of nowhere. Oh, I should also mention that this serious head injury that apparently almost causes Liza’s death never actually affects her for the rest of the movie, at worst she gets headaches but there’s no real recovery time to speak and it’s apparently so traumatic for Jude that he becomes mute because this film needed someone other than the doll to be emotionless and silent. ANYWAY, they move to a creepy little home in the woods that happens to be the guest house on the same property as the house from the first movie, Jude finds Brahms buried (because obviously, one would want to dig up a buried doll and take it home) and then allegedly scary things keep happening because apparently, they keep breaking the rules that are never properly explained. Oh, and this time the doll is actually haunted. As in, we see it moving on its own, the stupid doll is alive and I can only assume it’s because they couldn’t think of a good hook for a sequel and instead of just not making one, they went for the dumbest option.
Nothing about this film works, in part because they’ve decided to remove the one element of the original that was interesting. The film tries desperately to remind the audience at every turn “Oh this thing is alive. See, you just saw its head move so it’s alive” and after a while, it just gets annoying and removes any tension. The magic trick with a haunted/possessed/killer doll is that we don’t know if the doll is the one doing everything at first, it’s always heavily implied that it’s the kid the doll is attached to. Here, they don’t even bother trying to imply that it’s the kid doing anything and there goes most of the tension. Any remaining tension is killed by the objectively pathetic CGI and almost adorable attempts at jump scares. It’s almost cute when they try to hide something in the background or have someone scream in the camera, they think they’re a real movie and it’s precious. None of the jump scares made me even slightly unnerved. I had a more extreme reaction when the paper straw in my soda broke in half and I was forced to drink out of the cup… like an animal!
The part of this series I have never understood is the rules. The original film had 10 of them that included “Save meals in the freezer” “Read a Bedtime Story” “Clean the Traps” and “Only Malcolm brings deliveries”… NONE of these rules is followed in this movie, some just because there are no traps around the house and Malcolm isn’t coming back to deliver things. This film also has rules that are never told to the audience, but we’re expected to find it scary when the mute kid writes “You should have followed the rules”. Not hard to ask for a film that claims there are rules to explain those rules to me so that, when they’re broken, there can be some kind of tension built. That’s why you have rules like this in a film because once you break one of them the audience is left wondering what will happen. A great example of this is in Scream where we’re told the rules of a horror movie in a scene where every single rule is being broken (No drinking, no sex, never say I’ll be right back) so the rest of the movie has the audience knowing the rules have been broken so we’re aware that anything could happen. Brahms doesn’t tell us the rules, we only know they’ve been broken after something happens and we’re told explicitly it’s because of rules being broken… it’s so badly thought out that it just sucks so much potential out of this film, and this film didn’t have much potential to begin with so it needed all the help it could get.
When the film isn’t being lazy with its execution, it’s being pathetic with its scares. None of them works, none. There was no moment of shock or surprise, at best there were loud piano chords and shit happening in the background for no reason other than trying to scare the audience and failing at it. The few moments of potentially shocking violence don’t work because the characters are boring and the film basically yells “HEY! HEY, WE’RE ABOUT TO HURT THIS BAD KID! WATCH ME MOMMY! WATCH ME!” before it does the thing it set up so obviously and so badly that it just doesn’t get any kind of reaction out of me. Actually, I take that back, I did react to one scene near the end… that reaction was laughter, I couldn’t stop laughing for the entire climax of the film because it was 12 kinds of dumb and 7 strains of stupid. I refuse to spoil it but oh my god, the worst CGI in the entire film is found here and it is laughable to look at and beyond stupid when you consider everything that came before it.
Brahms: The Boy 2 is a sequel that no one asked for and doesn’t even seem to know what property it’s actually a sequel to, which is stunning considering it’s by the same writer-director as the first one. There isn’t anything good here, nothing scary or interesting or relevant. It exists because the film before it made a surprising amount of money and the studio assumed they could repeat that… forgetting that most people were indifferent to the first movie and probably weren’t going to come back for this one. Those people made the right call because there is no reason to return to this series, I look forward to forgetting about it by the time this post goes live and probably never thinking about it again because it was just that boring and bland.