Movie Reviews

The Boogeyman Review: Don’t Forget Your Night-light

From the mind of best-selling author Stephen King comes “The Boogeyman.” High school student Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer are reeling from the recent death of their mother and aren’t getting much support from their father, Will, a therapist who is dealing with his own pain. When a desperate patient unexpectedly shows up at their home seeking help, he leaves behind a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims. “The Boogeyman,” directed by Rob Savage (“Host”) with a screenplay by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods (“A Quiet Place”) and Mark Heyman (“Black Swan”) and a screen story by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods based upon the short story by Stephen King, stars Sophie Thatcher (“Yellowjackets”), Chris Messina (“Air”), Vivien Lyra Blair (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”), Marin Ireland (“The Umbrella Academy”), Madison Hu (“Bizaardvark”), LisaGay Hamilton (“Vice”), and David Dastmalchian (“Boston Strangler”). The producers are Shawn Levy (“Stranger Things”), Dan Levine (“Arrival”), and Dan Cohen (“The Adam Project”), with John H. Starke (“Sicario”), Emily Morris (“Rosaline”), Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, Ryan Cunningham, Adam Kolbrenner (“The Tomorrow War”), and Robyn Meisinger serving as executive producers.

The Boogeyman Trailer:

The Good:

The Boogeyman wastes no time in setting the tone of the entire film with its opening scene. I liked the fact that the creature’s unique tactics of luring its victims were on early display. The distorted voices and other sound effects were chilling especially once it was revealed how they were used in the film. The beauty of this film is that it created a good connecting point for the audience with a common experience of possibly hearing phantom sounds. Plus, the initial victim was a great way to communicate to audiences that this monster was not one to be played with.

I thought the cinematography aided the film in a couple of ways. Director Rob Savage made a wise choice in occasionally subverting expectations with the unique ways the camera shots set up the future scares. I liked how we got to see long, lingering shots at the closet doors that were either closed or cracked open. That in itself reminded me of what it was like being a kid and being terrified of what may be looking back from inside the closet. In other words, it was an excellent way to create a sense of paranoia for the audience and create a level of uneasiness whenever a closet came into view.

Vivien Lyra Blair as Sawyer in 20th Century Studios’ THE BOOGEYMAN. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The camera work and foreshadowing led to some effective jump-scares in The Boogeyman. I felt like the jump scares were earned because sometimes they would just happen after a successful amount of build-up. Even though I felt it was spoiled in the trailers, I still enjoyed the scene where the ball of light was rolled under the bed. That scene speaks to the effective use of shadows to cover up the monster. The shadows only added to the fear factor of the threat that the monster posed and it made the film that much more terrifying in certain moments. I think one of the best scenes in the entire movie had to be the hallway scene in the old abandoned house. The confined space and dark spaces had my mind racing. (I’ll share more thoughts on that later.) 

Lastly, I thought the overall theme of grief was handled well. I thought it was interesting to have the film connect this monster with the theme of being hurt and/or vulnerable. Figuratively, that carried a lot of meaning to me as it seemed to communicate that there is an ugly side of grief that is scary to confront. At times it can feel like a monster in itself that you simply can’t escape and seeks to consume you. This film found a way to manifest all of that into the form of a horror story and I thought it was pretty effective.

The Bad:

One of the biggest missed opportunities in The Boogeyman was the reveal of the monster in the third act. A good majority of the film kept the monster in shadows, and I believe that made the creature so much more scary to think about. There was no need to reveal what the monster looked like because my imagination was doing a lot of that work on its own. The real terror is in the unknown, and when we get a chance to actually see what the monster looks like, it became less scary. A lot of the mystery and curiosity started to fade all because the creature started to resemble something from a bad alien movie. This was a good time to remember the phrase, “Less is more”.

Marin Ireland as Rita Billings in 20th Century Studios’ THE BOOGEYMAN. Photo by Patti Perret. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The only other minor issue goes back to one of my favorite scenes in the movie. The hallway scene was probably the most exciting moment in the film, but it was entirely too short. Granted, there’s only so much house the characters can run through, but I thought that with all the candles and darkness in the corridors, it made for a perfect scene to be chased by a monster. Unfortunately, that scene lasted for maybe less than a minute.

The Verdict:

The Boogeyman is a solid horror film that can make full-grown adults relive their childhood fears. I enjoyed this movie for what it was and what it offered. However, I do think that it left a lot more to be desired. This is based on a short story by Stephen King, and the movies based on his books usually fare pretty well. Maybe there’s room for a potential sequel, and if there was one green-lit, I’d be interested. I wouldn’t say this was one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. On a scare meter, it falls short below movies like Insidious 1 & 2. However, it’s still good enough to make you second guess whether you should sleep with your lights off at night. Check out The Boogeyman in a theater near you if you like.

Director: Rob Savage
Writer(s): Scott Beck & Bryan Woods, Mark Heyman
Stars:  Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, Marin Ireland, Madison Hu, LisaGay Hamilton, and David Dastmalchian
The Boogeyman hits theaters June 2nd, 2023. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews for more reviews and contests. You can follow on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more!

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The Boogeyman Review: If F**k Them Kids Were A Monster
  • Acting - 6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
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    The Boogeyman Review: Don’t Forget Your Night-light

    From the mind of best-selling author Stephen King comes “The Boogeyman.” High school student Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer ...
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