Boogeyman Review

As a child, Tim Jensen lived in terror of a monster that lurked in his closet and came out to threaten him when it was dark. Tim's father tried to convince him there are no such things as monsters. Unfortunately, the monster begged to differ and dragged his father away to his doom. Years later, as an adult, Tim (Barry Watson) is still traumatised by the incident. He's tried to convince himself that he dreamed it up as a way of dealing with his dad's disappearance. Of course he doesn't really believe that but he's embarassed to confide in anyone, even his girlfriend Jessica (Robyn Malcolm), who wonders why he gets so tense around closets.

The death of Tim's mother brings him back to his hometown for the first time in years. He decides this is his opportunity to confront his demons and he resolves to stay in his childhood home and prove to himself that he imagined the whole thing. His old schoolfriend Kate (Emily Deschanel) is a pleasant distraction from his fears but when night falls and he's alone in his room, the creaking and the movements in the shadows start afresh. Is it just Tim's imagination? Not according to Frannie (Skye McCole Bartusiak), the little girl he finds huddled in his shed. She tells him she's afraid to go home because of what is waiting for her there in the dark.

If this sounds a wee bit familiar, perhaps it's because Boogeyman is the third horror film in three years in which a monster from a child's bedroom returns to terrorise him in later life. They (2002) and Darkness Falls (2003) not only used the same plotline, they both opened with effectively the same scene and they both featured the same gimmick of creatures that dwelt in darkness and shadows. Neither film was any good and Boogeyman doesn't break the pattern in that respect either. Maybe it's the premise that's the problem: the thought of a monster living in your closet is not particularly scary to anyone over the age of ten.

Even if you could be scared, there's no one you can care enough about to be scared for. The only person allotted any real screen time is Tim and he's a cold fish from the beginning. Judging by the callous way he treats his concerned girlfriend, he's a bit of a prick too. The Boogeyman itself is a very poor monster: a nameless CGI Thing that jumps out and grabs people. It has no personality. It follows no rules - not even staying in the dark! Like the ghosts in The Grudge, it's the equivalent of a mechanical skeleton in a fairground House Of Horrors that flies out and goes "Boo!" I was expecting some sort of twist at the end that would explain what it was but none came.

I'm growing heartily sick of this new breed of no-frills horror film that provides nothing but an endless series of jump scenes. They're stripping all the fun out of the genre. They have very little plot, no interesting characters, not even any humour, just scene after scene of people being startled or pounced upon. This is inevitably going to get boring even if the jump scenes are well staged and Boogeyman's are not. Director Stephen T Kay, who made the Get Carter remake, is as inept at shooting horror as he is at action. Unless you're the kind of scaredycat who automatically covers his eyes when a character walks into a deserted old house, this film is not going to frighten you. As a horror movie veteran since childhood who's survived the best George A Romero and John Carpenter could throw at me, I was bored rigid.



out of 10
Category Film Review

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