There have been a few Boogeyman movies over the years, and none have really been that good. Director Rob Savage, known for cam-centric films like Host and Dashcam takes his talents to more traditional filmmaking with The Boogeyman and the result was a moderately enjoyable ride of horror and what lurks in the shadows. Based on the Stephen King short story this film centers on a small family grieving from the loss of the matriarch who find their lives further turned upside down when a malevolent force is introduced to them.
This adaptation certainly thrives on the performances and the direction from Savage who shows he can do more in this genre than cam films. I think he did a great job of framing up a collection of genuinely eerie sequences that utilize lighting and shadowing to have you on edge while watching. I also enjoyed a few of the well-crafted jump scares. There is an ominous atmosphere to this movie, by PG-13 standards, that complements the story well.
The performance from Chris Messina as Will the father was solid for the needs of his role. Vivien Lyra Blair as the youngest Sawyer, and particularly Sophie Thatcher as Sadie were very good as well. They’re required to deliver a wide range of emotional intensity and they all did great. Messina and Thatcher have a strong scene together, and a natural chemistry overall, and I really enjoyed the sisterly bond between Thatcher and Blair which is essentially the driving force of this movie.
The writing effectively connects you to the grief of this father and his two daughters who have recently lost their mom/wife in a tragic accident. The first act explores the vulnerability of grief and trauma and how this evil entity is able to get inside their lives. So, The Boogeyman has an enjoyable balance of story-telling and frightening moments to lure you in. It’s dark and moody but clean enough for younger audiences looking for some horror to kick off their summer. This movie also has a crisp 98-minute runtime so the pacing of the plot progression for the most part is steady as the intensity of the sinister activity escalates.
However, and this is a rather large, however, there were a lot of things in this movie that didn’t work for me at all. I do prefer my horror to go all-in and either make it violent and frightening. Or I want it to tell me a story that will creep into my head and have me thinking long after the credits roll. Being a family friendly horror flick, The Boogeyman didn’t really provide either. The story here, despite being based on King’s short does feel by-the-numbers and it does have a level of predictability to it. There were also many conveniences injected into the writing to maneuver the story and they were noticeable. One example would be that one character, in this case the father, who simply disappears from the film, while in the same house when it’s required to focus on the daughter’s story arcs.
These aren’t large hindrances because you can still easily sit back and enjoy this movie. Yet the borrowed elements and repetitive set-ups for many of the scarier sequences will get old quickly for some. Because despite enjoying this movie it did feel about thirty minutes longer than it actually was the final closing, for my taste, felt a bit too generic and anticlimactic. Yet again for younger teens, and parents bringing kids in this movie will entertain just fine.
Cast: Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, Madison Hu, Marin Ireland, David Dastmalchian, LisaGay Hamilton, Maddie Nichols Director: Rob Savage Writers: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, Mark Heyman, Stephen King (Based on short story) Distributor: 20th Century Studios Running Time: 98 minutes Rating: PG-13 (for terror, violent content, teen drug use, and some strong language) Year: 2023 Language: English Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2023 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.