Film reviews and more since 2009

Boogeyman (2005) review

Dir. Stephen Kay

By: Steve Pulaski

Rating: ★

Looking back, the mid-aughts saw horror in a landscape akin to the Wild West. You had the birth of torture porn with the Saw franchise and furthered with the likes of Hostel and Wolf Creek. That movement was combatted by lighter, PG-13 movies, most notably American remakes of Japanese movies (The Ring, The Grudge), and visionaries like Rob Zombie and Zack Snyder make statements with their respective works. Then you had schlock like Boogeyman, remembered mostly for being inexplicably awful.

While this era produced a few low-key PG-13 gems (the 2006 remake of When a Stranger Calls to name one), movies like Boogeyman were sadly more common. This is a movie that would fit right in with The CW lineup insofar that its focus is on attractive actors and milquetoast scares than anything resembling substance or creativity.

The film revolves around Tim (Barry Watson), a twentysomething who has been haunted by a mysterious figure since his childhood. His mother disappeared and his father died at the hands of the figure when he was little, resulting in him living with his uncle. However, his adult-life has been stunted because of his inability to grapple with what happened many years ago. With the support of his girlfriend (Tory Mussett), Tim returns to his creepy childhood, and reconnects with Kate (Emily Deschanel), a childhood friend who has been fascinated with the house too.

Screenwriters Eric Kripke (Supernatural), Juliet Snowden, and Stiles White (the latter two would later collaborate on the 2014 horror film Ouija) admirably try and hook us early by doing a few things: (a) they don’t give us a clear look at the Boogeyman and (b) believably illustrate Tim as a many who is missing closure, something that leads to him being stuck in neutral with his own life. But after about 20 minutes, Boogeyman descends into a darkness even more drab than the closets and drawers in which the titular figure lurks. Inconsistent plotting, boneheaded dialog, a lack of character development, and rote jump-scares don’t provide us with any clarity as to who or what this monster is.

Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski gifts the film an impressively ugly visual palette, filled with dull grays and saturated, inky blues that, in conjunction with the threadbare story, beg you to tune out. In typical, shoddy horror movie fashion, after giving you over an hour of nothingness, Boogeyman hurls itself towards a loud, poorly edited climax that fails to offer any context or insightful reveals. Eventually, the only thing that proves impressive about Boogeyman is how committed it is to wasting your precious time, and making a less-than-90-minute film feel like the length of an epic.

NOTE: As of this writing, Boogeyman is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

My review of Boogeyman 2

Starring: Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Tory Mussett, Charles Mesure, and Lucy Lawless. Directed by: Stephen Kay.

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About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

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