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Watching Brahms: The Boy II, an awkwardly titled and staggeringly incompetent sequel to a film no one remembers, one’s mind will wander. After giving up on trying, and failing, to find some vaguely passable entertainment up on the big screen, a flurry of questions will circulate, ranging from the logical to the existential, an increasingly desperate attempt to understand the hows and whys of what got us all to this hopeless place. How did anyone think a sequel to The Boy was a worthwhile endeavour? Why isn’t Katie Holmes reading scripts before she signs on? How did a horror film get made by someone so unfamiliar with how to actually make a horror film? Why does any of this matter?
By the end, wearily stumbling on to the street, these questions will remain frustratingly unanswered – except for the last one. Brahms: The Boy II doesn’t matter. It’s a carelessly made slab of nonsense, ferried along a production line without emotion or enthusiasm, assembled by a team of inelegant charlatans feigning interest in a genre they seemingly know very little about. The first film was throwaway sleepover fodder but it proved diverting enough, thanks to a nifty last act twist and a committed performance from The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan. She’s been replaced here with Holmes, a star of higher wattage yet one with a more limited skillset on display, playing her part with such an uninvolved lethargy it’s a miracle she doesn’t keep nodding off mid-scene.
Brahms, a name that sounds like a collective term for the Inception trailer noise, is a controlling doll with a list of rules that his owner must abide by lest they face the consequences. After a home invasion leaves her on edge, Londoner Liza (Holmes) moves to the countryside with husband Sean (Owain Yeoman) and son Jude (Christopher Convery), who hasn’t spoken since the attack. They settle at a guesthouse near an abandoned mansion, hoping for some respite from the chaos of the city. But when Jude finds Brahms, buried in the woods, well, you really do know the rest.
There’s something willfully unscary about what follows, as if director William Brent Bell is trying to prove a point, shining a light on the sheer pointlessness of this kind of by-the-numbers genre trash by turning the film into an almost satirically suspense-free exercise. It’s an explanation that makes more sense than the alternative, that this is somehow supposed to be taken as an earnest straight-faced sequel made by people who give just the slightest of a damn about what they’re doing. It’s so punishingly dull to watch, filled with dry, perfunctory dialogue from Stacey Menear’s consistently uninventive script and shot without even a glimmer of style, that even at a brisk 86 minutes, it feels like unending torture. Even the fun reversal of the first film, that the doll isn’t actually alive but instead, a man is living in the walls, is ruined by a finale that buckles under the weight of its own stupidity, as well as some god-awful CGI.
Colon-loving Holmes, next seen in self-help adaptation The Secret: Dare to Dream, is so absent here that claiming she was on autopilot would suggest that she’s actually in the cockpit. She’s somewhere else entirely, probably sleepily wondering the same thing we are: why does Brahms: The Boy II exist and why is she starring in it? Hopefully she figures it out, because I have no idea.
Source: The Guardian
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