Review: Boogeyman

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  February 4, 2005 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

At some point in all of our lives we have been scared of the things that live under our beds or the creatures ready to pounce on us when we open a closed closet door. Some of us have even uttered the word "boogeyman" once in a while. But have we ever been curious enough to build a horror film around the concept? Maybe if we were all age seven and never grew up.

Our imagination plays wonderful and sometimes frightening tricks on us and for nearly fifteen years, Tim Jensen (Barry Watson of WB's 7th Heaven), has had to live with the horrific fact that the "boogeyman" is actually real and that he took his dad when Tim was just eight years old.

Emotionally wooden and paralyzed by his fears of shadows and closets, Tim has tried to put his past behind him and move on with girlfriend Jessica (Tory Mussett).

But another tragedy befalls the Jensen family, bringing Tim back to the very house where he witnessed the phenomenon steal his father. Tim must reconnect with the world he so desperately wants to forget and finally face his fears.

Boogeyman is a horror film based on one intricate concept. If you don't believe, it won't scare you. Not for one moment does it try to be credible or even trick us into thinking that Tim's imagination may be in fact false. If it did and played with the idea that Tim was in fact insane, it could have been a better film. But there is no psychological drama here.

There are oodles and oodles of door-knobs zooms and close-ups. There are a couple quick scans, moody atmosphere, the quintessential nearly naked co-ed, the misunderstood hero, and of course the phenomenon. But there is no shred of originality in this dullard of a film. It is brain dead and just going through the motions.

Barry Watson comes from the WB stable of the "cute-&-marketable". But it is rather interesting to see how many different expressions the actor can come up with for being frightened of a shadow or doorknob. I think I counted two and the others seemed to be a cross between constipation and frustrated boredom. Even if we had the most critically acclaimed star in this film, it still wouldn't have worked, so I can't entirely blame Watson.

Also, was it just me or did Tory Mussett, Watson's girlfriend on screen look a lot like a young Priscilla Barnes from Three's Company?

My blame probably will go to the screenwriter and director who should have tried to dazzle, impress, or solidify themselves as credible visionaries. Can you imagine what this film could have been if it had some psychological twists and turns and maybe even an accusation of murder?

Horror is a perfect genre to prove yourself worthy of developing bigger and better projects, especially with the genre seeing a resurgence with sleeper hits like Saw and The Grudge. Horror films are cheap to make and easy to market so why not run with it? I guess I just wish they would have upped the ante some.

There were some interesting things in the film's third act, but really nothing worth waiting around for. I liked some aspects of third act but I still can't even recommend the film as a video rental.

As I watched Boogeyman, all I could think about was that I wished the boogeyman would come out the shadows and take me away from this abysmal film. (1 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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