Plot: The Boogeyman is based on the 1973 short story of the same name by Stephen King. Still reeling from the tragic death of their mother, a teenage girl, and her younger sister find themselves plagued by a sadistic presence in their house and struggle to get their grieving father to pay attention before it’s too late.
Cast: This horror film is directed by Rob Savage from a screenplay by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, and Mark Heyman and a screen story by Beck and Woods. The film stars Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, and David Dastmalchian.
“The Boogeyman,” adapted from a Stephen King short story from the 1970s, delves into the eerie realm of a creature that has haunted children’s imaginations for generations. However, while the story itself is gripping, the film could benefit from a more captivating title that doesn’t sound like a bargain DVD.
The narrative introduces us to psychiatrist Will Harper (Chris Messina), his teenage daughter Sadie (Sophie Thatcher), and her younger sister Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair). As the plot unfolds, we encounter the classic horror movie trope of a monster lurking in the closet or under the bed. This malevolent entity preys on emotionally troubled children, reveling in fear before claiming its victims. Young Sawyer Harper finds herself next in line unless her older sister Sadie can intervene.
The recent loss of their mother has plunged Sawyer into night terrors, while Sadie struggles with her own challenges at school. The film brings to mind other recent horror offerings, such as “Mama,” “Smile,” “The Babadook,” and “Lights Out,” which explore similar themes.
Will, grappling with grief, descends into a downward spiral until a mysterious stranger (David Dastmalchian) enters his life, revealing a horrifying truth—that a supernatural entity is responsible for the deaths of his own three children. It appears this malevolence may have followed him into the lives of the Harper family.
Terrifying events begin to unfold, with ominous black webbing appearing on walls and ceilings. However, the film poses intriguing questions: Where did this entity come from? What does it truly desire? And is there more than one of its kind?
“The Boogeyman” weaves together elements of family values, grief, and childhood fears, using them as metaphors for the monstrous entity at its core. The film is shrouded in deep shadows and darkness, leaving the audience only fleeting glimpses of the undefined monster lurking within. One chilling scene involves a drawing depicting the creature. The combination of darkness, silence, and an enigmatic demon provides an effective visual metaphor.
While the demon is undeniably terrifying, the film refrains from showcasing it in intricate detail. Instead, it relies on a pervasive atmosphere of darkness to ignite the viewer’s imagination. The characters, however, often behave foolishly, with a notable lack of practicality, such as refusing to turn on lights when it would be the most logical course of action. In one scene, a character chooses to burn candles instead of flicking a switch, which feels contrived.
Sophie Thatcher delivers a remarkable performance, carrying the film on her shoulders with emotional depth and complexity. Her tangible on-screen sisterly bond with Vivien Lyra Blair adds authenticity to their characters’ shared fear. Additionally, David Dastmalchian leaves a lasting impression despite his limited screen time.
“The Boogeyman” stands as one of the most unsettling PG-13 horror movies in recent memory. It excels in sound design, mixing, and a captivating musical score that effectively builds anticipation for each scare while maintaining an unwavering tension throughout the film.
Overall, “The Boogeyman” is an above-average scare-fest that deserves a recommendation for horror enthusiasts seeking a well-crafted, genuinely chilling cinematic experience.