Brahms: The Boy 2 – Review

The Boy 2

This review will contain spoilers because boy do I have some thoughts about this film. It came out months ago but I just need to get this off my chest.

I wrote a review about the original film ‘The Boy’ here and I really enjoyed it. I’d seen the trailer on Facebook a few months before the film actually came out and was immediately hyped to see it. It looked interesting and although I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations I was happy to say that it did. Arguably my favourite thing about it was the plot twist.

For those unfamiliar with the original film a nanny named Greta moves into a large British house to look after a child only to discover the child is actually a doll. Through a series of unexplainable events Greta begins to think the doll is possessed by the spirit of Brahms, a child who passed away in a fire years ago. After her abusive ex-boyfriend breaks the doll it’s revealed that the doll was never possessed, the real Brahms (now an adult) has been living within the walls of the house and making it seem like the doll was alive.

The Boy

That’s a quick overview anyway.

What I enjoyed is that we have a number of creepy doll films and this was one of the most original and well thought out, compared to the likes of films like Annabelle and it was actually genuinely scary. A grown man pretending to be a child scuttling around the walls of an old abandoned house is 100% scarier than a small possessed doll.

When this trailer was released I was instantly worried because it looked like they’d gone back on everything the first film had shown us and I saw many other comments from equally worried people. The trailer made it look like a supernatural horror in which the doll genuinely was possessed but some people advised that the trailer for the original film had looked this way – maybe it was to mask the original plot twist for people who hadn’t seen the first film? I kept an open mind and went to see this film with my friends Becca and Jess a couple of days after it was released.

The Boy 2 still

Jesus. The only good thing I can say for it is that it was short. We went to the 6:45PM showing and we were out by 8:30PM. None of us enjoyed it or could find anything positive to say about the film. A lot of time with horror films we have quite differing opinions – for example Becca loved ‘Hereditary’ whereas Jess and I weren’t that keen. This film was unanimous – we all agreed it was dreadful.

It was like they took everything that I’d enjoyed about the first film and crapped on it. Brahms, the actual child/adult from the first film had supposedly been acting under the influence of the possessed doll which makes literally zero sense. The doll was made to look like the Heelshire’s ‘dead’ child and that was the reason he was called Brahms in the first place. To suddenly decide the doll actually dated back thousands of years before ‘The Boy’ even took place was a weird decision.

My main issue is that we’ve seen this film. A family suffer something traumatic together, decide to move somewhere secluded, child finds ‘possessed’ object, creepy things start to occur. My favourite thing about ‘The Boy’ was that it brought something different to the table whereas this took a decent plot and turned it into ‘Generic Horror Movie #58271’. There was nothing new, nothing interesting, it was a film I’ve seen 100 times before. Which for a standalone film would maybe be forgiven but for a sequel to a good film? Unacceptable. I’m shocked to see it’s written and directed by the same people – absolute sell-outs, clearly more interested with a profit for this movie rather than creating something decent.

The Boy 2 still 2

I read a couple of fan plots on iMDB that would’ve literally been a million times more interesting than this generic mess of a film so you’re honestly telling me that this was the best the professionals could come up with? It also sort of ruined the ending of ‘The Boy’ as in this it looks like Brahms has somehow survived and put the smashed doll back together to continue living alone in the house through the doll which was eerie and worked well. Whereas in ‘The Boy 2’ they’re like ‘nah he died, some creepy random old man found the little pieces of the doll and put him back together – and now he’s gonna spend the rest of the film uselessly hanging around, being a little bit creepy but overall not adding much to the plot.’

Parts of it also just made zero sense compared to the first film. The reason adult Brahms reveals himself is because Greta’s abusive ex-boyfriend smashed the doll which just went into pieces (as it would) whereas in this film the Dad smashes the doll to reveal some burnt up little, I don’t even know, demon I guess sitting inside the doll. I just… What was the point in that, huh? What did that even mean, what did that represent?

And then the ending. I’m gonna spoil it for you. The son chucks the doll into the fire, they all leave, go to a new house, it looks like they’ve had a happy ending and then the son gets up, puts the Brahms mask on and says “I think we’ll be happy here.” Does this mean Brahms won? Because throughout the film Brahms wanted the son to go to the mansion and to live with him there alone so I’m not… How did Brahms win? How is he with the son? It made literally zero sense and it wasn’t even scary. Big deal.

I genuinely don’t have a single good thing to say about ‘Brahms the Boy 2’. I will forever love the first film but this… I can’t accept this, it was just plain awful. I’ve never been so disappointed by a film in my entire life.

So overall, I definitely don’t recommend this film for anyone – if you enjoyed the first film you will hate this film, if you didn’t like the first film you will also hate this film, if you haven’t watched either films then definitely watch ‘The Boy’ ‘cos I really recommend it but don’t watch this. It’s an absolute disgrace, honestly.

What I Miss About ‘Normal’ Life

Shelley's Party

I know I was aiming for more ‘light-hearted’ content but I wanted to write a quick post about the things I’m missing today. Although overall I’m doing okay I am having moments or days where I’m completely fed-up and instead of focusing on what I can do I’m focusing on what I can’t do. I don’t want to take that attitude ‘cos that’ll just make things more difficult but maybe writing a list will help as it’ll show me what I have to look forward to when we eventually get out of lockdown (and I think it’ll be a while before we’re completely out of it). But here we go, some things that in no particular order, I miss about ‘normal life’.

Nights Out

50th Birthday

I literally only went clubbing once for the entirety of last year (although I did go to a few parties) but I weirdly miss it now that I can’t do it. I went earlier this year with my friend Sorcha and we had a good time and we had been planning to go again the week the country went into proper lockdown. I was looking forward to it but if I’d been asked to compile a list of my favourite things to do clubbing wouldn’t have been very high. I prefer parties and getting drunk whilst dancing to cheesy music with friends and their family (who I trust) rather than being surrounded by strangers listening to tunes that I don’t know.

And yet, here I am, wanting to get dressed up and go for a night out on the town with my best friends. When the clubs open up again I think it’ll be one of the first things I do, I already have my outfit picked out so I’m bloody ready for a night out.

Drunk Conversations with my Friends

Girls

After Hirst’s Halloween party last year me, Jess and Becca stumbled back to my house, ordered takeout and just talked until stupid o’clock in the morning. On New Year’s Eve we met up again to get drunk and although we mostly played games my favourite moments were our drunken conversations about life, politics and everything in between. One of my favourite parts of being drunk is the stupid conversations me and my friends have.

Okay, so I could get drunk and FaceTime my friends but God it’s not the same. Alcohol goes one of two ways for me, I’ll either be super happy or super sad so if I end up super sad I don’t think it’ll help my lockdown life at all. So I’d rather wait until I can see them in person. I want a night in at one of their houses playing stupid drinking games or something, or maybe just a drunk conversation and takeout session after our night out at the club. I just miss them so much!

Long Car Rides

Weirdly specific but obviously I haven’t left my hometown since this all kicked off. Once a week me, my Mum and brother would drive to visit my Nan in West Bromwich and the journey would take about 40 minutes in the car to get there and then another 40 minutes to get home and I loved sitting back and listening to music whilst staring out the window. My Mum’s still driving over to my Nan’s, not for a visit but to drop off supplies and I did think about volunteering to go with her as company for the car ride but she generally pops over before work and also maybe she appreciates just having some alone time in the car.

In fact, this doesn’t just apply to cars. I also miss long train journeys. I’m used to visiting London quite regularly and I appreciate the long train journey. It’s just a nice bit of time to sit and relax. Obviously I’m still listening to music and chilling at home but it’s not the same.

Meals Out

Me + Ian

I’ve been lucky enough to not have any specific cravings for fast food or my favourite foods from particular restaurants but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss them. Having to think what to make myself for dinner every single bloody night is grating on me, I don’t like spending too much time in ASDA anymore so I feel like I can’t go up and down looking for ingredients so I’m grabbing whatever’s convenient. I can’t wait to go back to a restaurant, have someone cook my food for me and then do the washing up for me like yes please.

The places I miss the most are probably Wetherspoons (controversial but it’s cheap and quick) and TGI Friday’s (which is weird ‘cos I never even ate there that often). I’ve not had many cravings for fast food like McDonalds or KFC but no doubt once those open I’ll go and grab some. Weirdly I’m also missing my Boots meal deals that I’d grab at lunchtime which is very irritating as I was getting bored of them when I was still working in the office.

I know we can still get takeout from certain places but my parents are being absolute snakes and keep ordering it without telling me so I haven’t even been able to enjoy that at the moment, I just keep having to cook for myself and it’s stressful. Every time I go to the shop I forget every food I’ve ever enjoyed so I’m finding myself eating a lot of the same lately.

Cinema

Cineworld

I love going to the cinema. I love going to my local Cineworld, ordering myself a large milkshake and then settling into my seat to pay attention to a film for a couple of hours. I can watch films at home but my attention wavers a lot at home whereas at the cinema I’m able to focus solely on the film even if I’m not 100% enjoying it. I’m way fussier about films at home, I don’t know why, I think it’s because I’m surrounded by too much temptation. Plus I’m one of those people who won’t even take their phone out for a split second to check the time in the cinema ‘cos I think it’s really rude so it’s almost impossible to get distracted.

There were some cracking films coming out this year as well that have been pushed back, the one I was looking forward to most was definitely ‘A Quiet Place 2’. I can’t wait for the cinemas to be open again, honestly.

Browsing in Stores

I’ve managed to perfect my food shop so that I only need to go to ASDA once every two weeks now and whilst I used to really enjoy shopping I actually low-key dread it now. Okay, that’s not entirely true – I like getting out of the house to actually do something but God being in the store stresses me out. I feel the first few aisles are okay, everyone’s respectful and I wonder why I got so worried. Then the middle and end aisles are horrendous, people just don’t give a damn about social distancing and can’t follow the arrows on the floor. By the time I’m done I’m absolutely exhausted from shoving round my full trolley whilst trying to avoid getting too close to anybody else.

Before lockdown I was a ‘shop as and when’ girl so I’d put enough food for the next couple of days into a basket and then just go out when I needed. I also liked to take my time, weigh up my options in my mind, did I really fancy that etc. Now it’s basically grab and go. Nowadays I sort out a mental list of everything I need a couple of days before I go and try my best to stick to that. It’s also more annoying now if I forget anything non-essential. Last Monday I forgot to grab custard but obviously won’t be popping out to buy any. I miss being able to take my time and also not worrying that all the other shoppers were gonna infect me with a deadly disease because they don’t understand the concept of bloody social distancing.

It’s not just grocery stores either, I used to pop to my local shopping centre every lunchtime at work and I’d love to have a browse in PRIMARK and other stores but that’s obviously not an option at the moment.

Visiting Family and Friends

Me + Little Nan

This is obvious and I’d imagine probably applies to most people. Obviously I’m still talking to my friends but it’s not the same as when we’re all sat in a room together chatting shit. Or out and about doing something. My Dad’s phoning me once a week but it’s not the same as going to his house for dinner. I used to see my Nan weekly which I obviously can’t anymore so I’ve been writing her letters and putting them in with the food deliveries my Mum takes. But it’s obviously never going to be the same as seeing your loved ones in person.

Unfortunately I think my grandparents will be some of the last people I see because even once the restrictions are lifted we’re still going to be a risk to our elderly relatives. I know my brother’s missing my Nan (he keeps throwing tantrums whenever I look after him the little shit) so it’s a shame it’s going to take so long to get back to ‘normal’. But we’ll all have to be patient.

Having the House to Myself

I love having the house to myself. As many of you may know I really don’t get on well with my step-dad and even if I did I’d still appreciate having some alone time to roam around the house. Sometimes it’s just for an evening or sometimes it’s for a bit longer if my parents are on holiday. I like it because I have full access to the kitchen to make whatever I want without worrying I’m taking too long and I can also sit in the living room which apparently is a privilege in our house.

To be fair I imagined we’d have all reached boiling point by now since none of us can go anywhere but we’re ticking by okay. But I’m still looking forward to when they can go out again so I can have the house to myself again. At the moment I’m sort of just stuck in my room and although it could be worse it could also be better.

Travelling

Tokyo 2

I was due to go to Sweden over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend but that obviously didn’t go ahead. To be fair I already knew before we went into full lockdown that I wouldn’t be able to go but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t the end of the world. As I’ve pointed out a couple of times I managed to have my big trip to Florida in February so I could give up my weekend in Sweden. I’m due to go to Disneyland Paris for four nights in November but obviously that’s not a certainty anymore but I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I think that since I’ve booked it all through a travel company they’ll be able to rebook for me so it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Last year I did tons of travelling, probably the most I’ve ever done in a year (6 countries) and I really miss it. I think it’s hard not being able to book anything to look forward to because we don’t know when everything’s going to be back to normal. Yeah, I am struggling with the lack of travel. I can’t even explore the UK at the moment let alone other countries.

Theatre

Me + Hirst

I bloody love going to the theatre and to be fair, before we went into lockdown I’d already been a fair few times. Shortly beforehand I managed to see Six two nights in a row, the first with my Mum and then the second time with Hirst. I’d also had a few weekends in London watching various different shows. I am missing it though. In April I was meant to see ‘Friends – The Musical Parody’ which unfortunately was cancelled. Me and Mum were due to see ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first weekend in June but I’m certain that will be postponed which is a shame as it was my Christmas present. I’m definitely missing my theatre trips.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things that I miss if I thought about it for a while longer but these are the main ones. Feel free to let me know what you guys are missing but for now stay home and stay safe.

Midsommar: Review by Hollie Bareham

Midsommar Poster

Just over a month ago I was at the cinema to watch a movie and the trailer for ‘Midsommar’ played during the previews. I was instantly excited – it looked interesting, scary and something a little different which is everything I look for in a horror movie. The fact that it was made by the people who made ‘Hereditary’ didn’t put me off. I didn’t hate ‘Hereditary’ it just wasn’t what I’d been hoping for.

For those who haven’t seen the trailer or heard of the film the basic plot is that Dani and her boyfriend Christian have a very strained relationship. Just as he’s working up the courage to end things a family tragedy occurs leaving him feeling like he should stay with her. When Dani discovers Christian and his friends are planning a trip to Sweden to attend a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival Christian guiltily invites her along with them. However the carefree holiday soon takes a dark turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that become increasingly disturbing.

The moment tickets dropped for this film I messaged my friends Becca and Jess asking if they wanted to go to the 8PM showing on the opening night. They’re both horror fans too so they were up for it and soon we were off. And Jesus wept, I was not prepared.

By that I don’t mean I wasn’t prepared for the scares because really there weren’t many. The film was rated 18 and due to this it was a bit gorier than a 15 rated film would’ve been but in terms of things like jump scares there weren’t really any. Which would’ve been fine because I’m not really a massive fan of films that solely rely on jump scares to make themselves scary but other than the gross and gory scenes it wasn’t particularly scary.

In fact, I found parts of it absolutely hilarious and it wasn’t just me – Becca was weeing herself with laughter and there was one particular scene that had me and most of the audience in absolute tears because it was so bizarre. I won’t go into immense detail but there’s an extremely strange sex scene that I couldn’t for the life of me take seriously. I’m not sure if the director wanted us to laugh or what we were really meant to be feeling in that scene but I was genuinely crying, I couldn’t contain it.

Midsommar Still 2

The things I hadn’t liked about ‘Hereditary’ were that it was quite slow and that I just didn’t fully understand it at the end. I don’t necessarily like everything being wrapped up in a big bow but equally I don’t like feeling completely confused. For example, ‘Us’ was a confusing film but I still feel relatively satisfied with its ending. Unfortunately I think the negatives from ‘Hereditary’ were passed onto ‘Midsommar’.

The film was quite long, it was about two and a half hours and that’s mainly due to it being just so slow. It takes a good while for them to even reach the Swedish commune and takes longer still for anything creepy to begin happening. Then when the disturbing events did begin to occur I just feel like there was too long of a gap between each event to keep up the atmosphere. I wasn’t scared, I was just left waiting.

Then there was the confusion aspect. I just have a lot of questions. Maybe that was the point of the film, I don’t know, but I feel like a few things were thrown in and then not really explored making me wonder what the point was. I feel like the director was just going for shock value which like was definitely delivered, parts of it were quite… Odd, which is putting it mildly. But was there anything beyond that? I’m not sure there was.

Midsommar Still.png

Also this is probably quite nit-picky but I hate the over the top crying that occurs both in this film and in ‘Hereditary’. At the start of the film when the family tragedy occurs Dani cries whilst Christian comforts her and it’s so over-the-top that I don’t really believe it’s genuine. It was how Peter cried during ‘Hereditary’ and it just absolutely drove me up the wall. I know Dani was obviously very distraught but I’ve never heard anyone cry like that in real life and it makes me wonder why they keep putting this in the films as it just feels so out of place.

The rest of my review will contain spoilers so please stop reading if you don’t want to see them!

Some character deaths were just a bit annoying and almost too easy if that makes sense? For example Will Poulter’s character Mark was having dinner with his friends and the rest of the commune when a girl approaches him and says “Come, I will show you” and then… That’s it. He’s dead. We don’t see his death he’s just gone from the rest of the film. Of course we did see his face carved out and placed on top of somebody else but that’s the only indication we have that Mark did die. Similarly Simon and Connie, the British couple who decided to leave as they’re too disturbed to stay, they’re just sort of disposed of. I’m not saying every death had to be on screen but the fact Mark was led off by a Swedish girl and then didn’t go to bed that night or appear at breakfast the next day and his friends were just like ‘ayee I bet he’s having fun’ was just so stupid.

As mentioned, there were tons of things thrown in almost just for the sake of it. For example they have a deformed child (I think it was a child?) who they consider an oracle but there’s not much explanation as to why or what that was even about. This kid just paints pictures and the elders or whatever study them. Why? I don’t understand why.

To be honest I think I’d have enjoyed this movie more if it was shorter. So much of it just felt so unnecessary and like I said, the gaps between anything weird or spooky happening were just too long to keep me interested. I also just got the overall sense that they were like “yeah let’s do a weird folk festival movie” and decided to film it before they actually figured out what they were doing – if that makes any sense?

Midsommar Still 3

Overall I am glad I watched it as it was certainly something different. I’m unlikely to watch it again due to the length and how slow it is but some scenes were interesting and worth the watch. That sex scene alone was hilarious and I’d recommend watching that but scenes like the dance to become the May Queen were interesting as well. So I’d recommend watching it just once but be prepared for a long and slow ride.

Harry Potter Films: Worst to Best

Harry Potter.jpg

It’s no secret that I’m a massive Harry Potter fan and since watching Cursed Child my love for the Harry Potter universe has only intensified. So I wanted to put the Harry Potter films in order of my least favourite to my most favourite. I won’t be taking into account the books at all because that would be a completely separate list. So, here goes nothing!

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One (David Yates, 2010)

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I used to absolutely despise this film because what actually happens? Not an awful lot. When I went to an eight film Harry Potter marathon over the span of a weekend I was dreading re-watching this film but to be fair, it wasn’t as bad a second time. But it’s still definitely the worst film out of the series because it’s just building up to something that’s not delivered because it all happens in part two. Although I wouldn’t go as far to say I hate the film anymore it’s definitely the worst one in the series.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two (David Yates, 2011)

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Part 2 is massively more interesting because there’s the battle of Hogwarts and generally just a lot more going on but it’s still towards the bottom of my list. Probably because although I did like the Deathly Hallows movies I still prefer the films that are set completely at Hogwarts, showing lessons and general student life (and obviously Harry, Ron and Hermione’s adventures). It’s also the end of the series which is just generally quite sad.


6. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009)

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I know I said I wasn’t going to bring the books into this but actually the book helped me enjoy the film. When I first saw this movie I don’t think I really understood it (I was 12 I think when it was released) and I hadn’t read the books. Years later, when I turned 19 I finally got into reading the Harry Potter series and found myself feeling deflated when I got to the Half Blood Prince book – I was surprised when I ended up really enjoying the book. So I gave the film another chance and ended up enjoying it this time!

It’s still not one of my favourites because I think I enjoyed the book (I keep breaking my own rules) a lot more but I still appreciate this as a film and love it a lot more than I used to. I love that there’s more Luna in this film since she doesn’t enter until the fifth film and she’s one of my favourite characters. I also love the scene where Harry’s taken the liquid luck and goes to Aragog’s funeral with Hagrid and Professor Slughorn. So yes, it’s definitely a film I love more now that I’m older.

5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001)

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It’s crazy that I was five when this film came out and that for a while this was the only Harry Potter film to exist. I remember owning it on video and I’d rewatch it over and over again. I tried to get into the books but I just couldn’t do it at the time but I was more than happy to sit and watch the film. I think it’s one of those that because it’s been around for so long though that I’ve seen it so many times that I couldn’t say it’s my favourite. I actually haven’t seen this one in a while, I wouldn’t mind rewatching it.

Ultimately, how can you not love the first film? The film where we’re introduced to Hogwarts for the first time and are introduced to all our iconic favourite characters. This film is a classic and I don’t think a day will ever come where I dislike it.

Quick story – I was at work and told my colleague, Sue, who sits next to me that I was going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the theatre and she told me she’d never seen a Harry Potter film. I was honestly horrified and was even more horrified to find out my other colleague Shirley hadn’t seen any either. I thought this was weird but I was even more horrified when I asked our seventeen year old apprentice Kelsey what her favourite Harry Potter film was and she replied “I actually haven’t seen any of them.” What are you guys doing? These films are absolute gems!

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Alfonso Cuaron, 2004)

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I remember going to see this at the cinema when it was released and it was probably the first Harry Potter film I’d seen at the cinema. Unfortunately I was probably a little bit too young to appreciate it at the time and I remember getting a bit bored so I ran up and down the aisle pretending I was riding a broom stick like Harry (then came home and borrowed our brush so I could carry on pretending in the garden, haha!). Now that I’m older I love this film and fully appreciate it.

There are so many things to love about this film; Harry riding on Buckbeak just looked absolutely amazing, getting introduced to the marauders, Harry casting his first patronus, time travel… There’s just so much to love! This is another film I really want to rewatch now; I haven’t seen it for ages.

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Chris Columbus, 2002)

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For a long time this was my favourite film from the Harry Potter franchise but unfortunately I think it’s one that I watched too many times. I do still love it obviously but I don’t know. I’m not even particularly sure what made it my favourite, it just was. Interesting fun fact for you all even though this book was the second shortest it is the longest Harry Potter film. It’s just one of those films that you can’t help but love – until you watch it too many times. But it’s definitely still one of my favourites.

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mike Newell, 2005)

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When I ask people what their favourite Harry Potter movie is most of them say this one and I can see why. It’s packed full of adventure and it’s sort of the last light-hearted one before everything goes to shit and Voldemort comes back and all that jazz. There are so many iconic and funny moments in this one and I never got bored of rewatching it. Also it’s got a lot of Cedric Diggory in it which is always fun – until the inevitable happens and then it’s just sad again.

Every Harry Potter fan always agrees this movie is awesome and it stays pretty true to the book so it’s a good one to watch!

1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates, 2007)

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Back when I’d only seen the films this one was my favourite. I’m not really sure why, I liked the beef with Umbridge and the secrecy around creating Dumbledore’s Army – it was really exciting! It’s been my favourite for ages and most people argue with me and say it’s boring but I completely disagree. It’s definitely my number one favourite.

Due to it being my favourite film I was looking forward to reading the book and this book is my favourite too. However it’s sort of made the film a bit disappointing. This is the longest book and yet this film I believe is the shortest. I suppose a lot if had to be cut ‘cos it does have a lot of side plots, what with Hermione starting SPEW and Ron joining the Quidditch team but even if they’d given these side plots a little nod that would’ve been enough if they didn’t have time for the entirety of it.

Well there you go; those are my favourite Harry Potter films from worst to best! Feel free to leave a comment of your favourite Harry Potter movies.

Favourite Movies

Ponyo

I was originally going to write a list of my favourite five films but in the end I had to choose six because I just couldn’t eliminate one from the list and I also made the decision not to include any horror movies because I already wrote about my top ten favourite horror films here [x]. So this is a list of six films I love, in no particular order that I am happy to watch again and again and again.

The Maze Runner (Wes Ball, 2014)

I think this is on here because Death Cure came out not long ago and I’m not over it to be honest but I did love the first film a lot. I’m pretty sure I went back to see it at the cinema about four times. The sequel ‘Scorch Trials’ came out just before I went to university and I remember seeing it with my three best friends the day before I left. Then if I was having a shit day at uni and needed to get away from my flat mates I’d go and watch ‘Scorch Trials’ until it eventually left the cinema. I love this series.

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The Maze Runner is about a boy called Thomas who wakes up to find himself in a community of boys with his memory erased. He soon discovers they’re trapped in the middle of a maze and joins the ‘runners’ to try and find a way out.

To be honest when the original film was released I remember not being all that interested but because Becca had enjoyed the books she dragged us to see it. Immediately I was pulled into the story and a few weeks later I did try to read the book but I couldn’t get interested. I think I donated my copy of the book which I now regret because I want to give it another go so I might need to buy another copy. They’re great films and I could watch them over and over again without getting sick of them.

Into the Woods (Rob Marshall, 2014)

I don’t know if it’s just me but I didn’t see any advertising for this film like at all? I think when I went to see it I hadn’t even seen a trailer for it. I’m going to be completely honest with you and admit that I only knew about this film because at the time I was completely in love with Chris Pine and it was listed on his iMDB page. So when I noticed it was on at my local cinema I invited Jess and off we went.

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Into the Woods is a musical about a baker and his wife who are desperate to have a child but discover they can’t because a witch has placed a curse on their family. They’re tasked with finding items from classic fairytales to reverse the curse.

It’s a musical that has a lot more songs than speaking which I don’t normally like but Into the Woods is an exception. I love the soundtrack so much that I burned all the songs onto a disc so me and Jess could listen to it in her car. It got to a point where me, Jess, Hirst and Becca knew all of the songs and we all had our own parts to sing on long car journeys. This film is amazing with a brilliant cast and it’s definitely my favourite musical. This one I saw at the cinema about six times. I’d love to see the stage version one day even though I’ve heard it’s extremely different.

My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

I could’ve included a ton more Studio Ghibli films but I had to go for my favourite which will probably always be ‘My Neighbour Totoro’. I didn’t actually like it that much when I first watched it because although I thought it was sweet I didn’t really see the point. But after rewatching it I soon began to love it and it became my favourite.

This film is about two young girls Mei and Satsuki who move to the countryside with their father to live closer to their hospitalised mother and the adventures they have with the forest spirits who live nearby.

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This is a film I love to stick on whenever I’m sad or having a bit of a shit day and it cheers me right up. I love everything about it, especially the soundtrack. I’m going to Japan later this year and if I don’t go to the Studio Ghibli museum I might be sad for the rest of my life. If you haven’t seen a Studio Ghibli film then you’re missing out, they’re truly magical.

Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009)

I feel like the majority of my list are children’s films but this is a film I would think twice about before showing to my children. I must’ve been at least 12 or 13 when I first watched this but I was still creeped out. Even now it gives me the creeps. The book is amazing too and just as scary.

Coraline is about a girl who moves to an old house in the middle of no where and feels bored and neglected by her parents. She finds a hidden door and crawls through to find a parallel world where things are more interesting and everyone has buttons for eyes. When the Other Mother invites Coraline to stay there forever she refuses and soon realises the alternate reality is just a trick to trap her.

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I doubt there are many people who haven’t seen this film and I think it’s honestly really good. Every so often I’ll get a craving to re-watch it and each time it’s just as good as I remembered. I was actually lucky enough to meet Neil Gaiman and now I have a signed hardback copy of Coraline – which I can never read because it’s too pretty so I had to go out and buy a paperback copy too so I could actually enjoy it.

My Sister’s Keeper (Nick Cassavetes, 2009)

I first watched this film in Science because we were learning about designer babies or something and I enjoyed it but it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me or anything. I’m pretty sure we watched it again in Religious Studies, but again not much impact. Then I went out and bought a copy for my Mom because she’d sounded interested when I’d told her about it. The more I’ve watched it the more I’ve fallen in love with it and now it’s one of my favourites.

My Sister’s Keeper is about Anna Fitzgerald who was born with a particular purpose – to save her sister Kate who has been diagnosed with cancer. But when Anna turns eleven she files for medical emancipation so that her parents can’t force her to donate her kidney to her sister. Soon she is caught up in a legal battle against her own mother.

My Sisters Keeper

My description doesn’t do the film justice but it is amazing and I always cry absolute buckets whenever I watch it. The acting is brilliant, especially from Sofia Vassilieva who played Kate. There’s nothing about this film that I don’t love and it’s a must watch.

Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)

I always forget about Room whenever someone asks me what my favourite film is but it’s probably this one. This is another film that makes me cry absolute buckets and I just think it’s so beautifully done. I haven’t seen it that many times because I keep forgetting I own the DVD but I still think it’s my favourite film.

Room is based on the book by Emma Donoghue (which is also amazing) and is about a young boy named Jack who has grown up in the confines of a small shed with his Ma. He has never left Room and knows nothing about the outside world. But as Jack’s curiosity grows and Ma’s resilience reaches breaking point they hatch a risky plan to escape Room.

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I’d actually never heard of the book at the time and I learnt about the film from Jess who wanted to go and see it. I liked the look of the trailer so the two of us went to see it and I loved it. I loved it so much that I saw it two more times at the cinema and then bought a copy of the book. The book is also amazing but different to the film – sadder but more realistic. Overall I think I prefer the movie. This is another where the acting is amazing, Brie Larson 100% deserved her Oscar and Jacob Tremblay did an amazing job of playing Jack. If you haven’t seen Room then I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

So there we go, there are six of my favourite films in no particular order! Feel free to leave a comment with your favourite films, if you have any recommendations then send them my way.

The Boy: Review by Holly Bareham

The Boy

I’m long overdue on several reviews including The Other Side of the Door and The Witch but I’m going to write this one first and I’ll explain why in a second. I’m pretty sure I have a book review to write as well… I will get round to all of this, I’m just having a bit of a writer’s block at the moment!

Just so you guys know, I’m thinking of writing a spoiler version of this review soon so be sure to look out for that but I’ll try and get my other reviews out first…

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So I have been driving my friends crazy about this film for the past couple of months. I saw the trailer on Facebook ages ago and I have been counting down the days until its release. You would honestly not believe how mad I was going for this film. When it finally arrived in cinemas I was prepared to be disappointed. That might sound daft but after imagining this film for months and months, the anticipation, the build-up, even if the film was good it surely wouldn’t meet my expectations?

I’m so glad I was wrong.

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For anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer, ‘The Boy’ is about an American woman named Greta who comes to England to be a nanny for a wealthy families eight year old son. When she arrives she’s shocked to find that the eight year old boy is a doll that the family treats as if he’s alive. However, when the parents leave she starts experiencing a supernatural presence and starts to believe that maybe the doll is really alive after all.

I’ve seen a lot of people comparing this film to Annabelle, which I wrote a review about a while ago, and I think the two films are completely different. ‘Annabelle’ barely felt like it was about the actual doll whereas ‘The Boy’ is definitely centred on Brahms (the doll). I wasn’t too impressed with ‘Annabelle’ whereas I found ‘The Boy’ to be everything I love about a horror film: atmospheric, creepy and my personal favourite, an amazing plot twist.

I’m gonna talk more about the plot twist in my spoiler review, assuming I write it, because obviously I don’t want to give anything away but I honestly did not see it coming. I went with two friends, one didn’t see the twist coming, the other kind of guessed it but wasn’t sure. However, when the reveal came, all three of us were honestly terrified – I was holding hands with one of them. I’ve been reading through the iMDB forums as I do and a lot of people have been complaining that the plot twist ruined the entire film but I completely disagree. I think it was the best, most reasonable ending it could’ve possibly had. But again, I’ll talk more about that in my spoiler version.

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One thing I hate in a horror film is when they include random jump scares that aren’t even necessary to the plot. Now, while The Boy did this I feel like their jump scares were almost a foreshadowing of what was going to happen so I can forgive them. There was one jump scare that really terrified me – I admit that I jump a lot in horror films but this one really got me, my heart was pounding for a full five minutes afterwards.

Anyway, I cannot stress to you how good I thought this film was and I urge you not to listen to the negative reviews and just judge the film for yourself. Before watching it I was told by my Mom “It has really bad reviews” to which I replied “I didn’t expect anything more”. It was honestly better than people are saying it is, just trust me!

I almost forgot my fun fact! The cast members used to prank each other with the doll until one cast member got so scared during one prank that they threw the doll out of their trailer window and a replacement had to be made. Hooray for fun facts.

Go and watch the movie!

Snervous: Review by Holly Bareham

Snervous

Right, so those of you who read my review of Binge [x] know that although I’m not a massive fan of Tyler Oakley I do like him. And I figured since I’d done a review of Binge it might make sense to watch Snervous and write a review of that too. Since it was on Netflix I decided to give it a watch and now here I am writing this review.

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So after reading Binge I’d heard stories of Tyler’s childhood and more stories about his YouTube life etc etc but I didn’t know much about his fan base or the community he’s created because really I don’t see them. I don’t follow any Tyler blogs on Tumblr; I don’t see their tweets… Occasionally I look at the comments section on his videos but to be honest I can’t remember what they said. So yeah, I didn’t know much about his fans other than that girl I once met who told me she’d kill a man for him. That’s where Snervous came in.

The documentary starts off with Tyler going on his UK tour, which I totally would’ve gone to if I’d known it was coming to the UK but as I don’t particularly keep up with what he’s doing I didn’t know so I missed out. I’m gutted because it looks like it was amazing and the atmosphere seemed like it was really friendly and fun. It was interesting to see how the meet and greets and everything backstage was from Tyler’s point of view – although I didn’t attend this show, I did attend Dan and Phil’s so to see what it’s like going on behind the scenes is really interesting.

We don’t just see Tyler’s fans obviously. In Binge Tyler talked about his Father wasn’t accepting of him being gay when he first came out and that’s talked about more in Snervous when we see Tyler meeting up with his Dad and there’s an interview with his Mom. That’s just one of the emotional moments in Snervous that really get to you. I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch it as a die-hard fan because even just as a casual fan I was getting all emotional at certain points.

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Obviously it’s not all doom and gloom, there are some funny moments too! Especially the moments with Korey, he is honestly so funny. As is Tyler’s Mom who is completely fabulous. I think it’s so nice that Tyler has let fans into his life and that he’s so open with them. I also loved his honesty when talking about meeting fans and not cutting out the bits where he got stressed or annoyed. It’s good for us to see that YouTuber’s aren’t superheroes who can just keep going without getting emotional, they’re people too!

Also, can we all draw attention to this please because I think it’s really important?

Tyler Oakley

So Tyler if you’re reading this, don’t like and leave next time! Tell me what you thought! Please?

Anyway, my personal recommendation to anyone reading this is that you should get your butt onto Netflix and start watching. It’s definitely worth it!

The Forest: Review by Holly Bareham

The Forest 2

So I saw the trailer for this film and was told one thing by my friend – “Apparently it’s really shit.” To be honest the trailer didn’t look that bad and Natalie Dormer was starring in it so although I hadn’t thought it’d be the best film ever I was kind of surprised to hear that. I’m not one to judge a horror film based on other people’s opinions (ironic, being a reviewer) and I wouldn’t miss out on a brand new horror anyway so I went and saw it.

The basic storyline is that a woman named Sara travels from the US to Japan to look for her twin sister Jess who went into Aokighara forest, a forest in Japan that’s known for the mass amount of people who go in to commit suicide. Sara believes she can ‘feel’ that Jess is still alive so she goes into the forest to look for and is soon taunted by a supernatural presence.

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I’m gonna admit it straightaway, I did find this film scary while I was watching it. There were some good jump scares and a creepy atmosphere. If it had managed to maintain that for the entirety of the film it probably would’ve been good. However, the ending of the film suddenly became rushed and quite frankly completely stupid. Especially the last five seconds which really ruined it for me – there was no need to throw in one last jump scare, it was creepy for a second and then it was just ridiculous.

Because people kept saying the whole film was shit I was actually more impressed with it than I perhaps would’ve been if people hadn’t said anything about it all. I was expecting a complete train wreck of a film but I actually felt it was pretty decent. My only problem was that I kept imagining plot twists in my head so to reach the actual ending was kind of disappointing. I’ve seen whole theories on iMDB that Jess and Sara were actually the same person but personally, I don’t think the filmmakers put that much thought into the film for it to be possible.

Time for my fun fact: Natalie Dormer actually went to visit Aokighara forest and went five meters off the path to take pictures but her Japanese driver refused to step an inch off the path.

Overall, this film is good if you want a few scares. It’s better than Krampus but it’s definitely not the horror film of the year. On the bright side there were some trailers for other horror films and I am so looking forward to ‘The Boy’! Wait for that review!