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Boogeyman Movie Review

originally posted many years ago

It's not hard to understand why someone would make a movie about Count Dracula. Or the Wolf Man. Or Frankenstein's monster. They're all staples of movie terror, feared since they first appeared in literature, assorted stories and legends. Their very reputation has drawn crowds for decades, and every time they appear onscreen, whether in bad movies or good, they send shivers down countless spines. Infamy and presence is the name of their game-but the Boogeyman? If ever there was a black sheep of the ghost story family, it's him: the Boogeyman probably scares fewer children these days than the forgotten Bloody Mary, or even Michael Jackson. Kids stop worrying about the Boogeyman lurking in their closet or under their bed by the time they're seven-does this movie actually think that it can use him to scare a theater full of adults?

Boogeyman will scare no one except the easily frightened. Everyone else will look at this movie, and its absurdly serious consideration of a reality where the Boogeyman does exist, and shake their heads in disbelief. Others won't have time to shake their heads, because they'll be too busy laughing them off. Either way, Boogeyman proves to be about as scary as you probably imagine it is, and only those who still grip their covers at night, cowering before the sight of their darkened closet door, will connect with it.

Boogeyman would've made a really great parody. I can just see it now, a glorious spoof on all the other ridiculous horror films released recently, poking fun at random pop-out "boo!" scares, big foreboding haunted houses, and silly supernatural villains. The tragic thing is, Boogeyman has all of these elements, but it is not a parody. We laugh at it rather than with it, as director Stephen T. Kay tries in vain to make a pathetic fiend like the Boogeyman into a truly dark, terrifying horror film. Kay, god bless him, really wants us to be afraid of the Boogeyman. It's a shame that he wastes so much energy on such a futile project, when he could've easily turned this concept on its end and made a really funny film out of it.

Anyway, here's the plot: feel free to roll your eyes when ready. Tim (Barry Watson) had a run-in with the big Boogey at age eight when his dad was swallowed into his bedroom closet. Since then, no one has believed his story, and he has matured into his adult years tortured and misunderstood. When Tim's mom dies, visions of the Boogeyman start haunting him again, and he desperately tries to rid himself of the past. A doctor tells him to spend one night in his old house, to face his childhood fears head on. This is, of course, a terrible idea. Hasn't Tim ever seen a horror movie? Doesn't he know what always happens in big pretty houses late at night, when the lights start flickering and the floorboards squeak suggestively in the shadows? Well, the dumb idiot decides that the doctor's right, and he stays the night at the creepy place. Good riddance, I say.

The Boogeyman doesn't let him stay there the whole night though, because that would be boring. Occasionally, Tim leaves the house to spend time with his adorable girlfriend Jessica (Tory Mussett), whose sex drive has the damndest tendency to perk up whenever Tim has had another frightening vision form his youth. He is also visited by an old friend named Kate (Emily Deschanel), whose presence signals the Boogeyman to take a break while she and Tim talk about nothing. But eventually the girls leave (or die), and the Boogeyman can play his little game of opening random doors, creating illusions, and literally popping up whenever Kay feels the audience might be falling asleep. However, even then, we are unimpressed, and we even wonder if there are any seats left in Alone in the Dark down the hall.

Barry Watson is the wrong actor to play Tim, although it's hard to say if anyone could play this character believably. Jake Gyllenhaal might've made something out of it, added a little class to the mix, perhaps, but we'll never know. Watson is a terribly uninteresting young man to watch, and I sincerely hope someone gives him a good talking to before he decides to headline a major motion picture again. The two girls, Emily Dechanel and Tory Mussett, are both hilarious, but not in a good way. Finally, as if the other cliches weren't enough, Boogeyman actually caves and adds a little girl (Skye McCole Bartusiak) into the story. She, of course, is the only one who believes Tim, and even offers some good suggestions as to disposing of the Boogeyman. The girl's contrivance is far too obvious, and there won't be a single audience member who cares about her.

I'll go ahead and spoil the ending for you now, so if you plan on seeing Boogeyman, stop reading and then go slap yourself. You deserve it. Anyway, in the end, we do see the Boogeyman, and the buildup to his entrance simply isn't worth it. He looks uncannily like the Creeper from the Jeepers Creepers movies, which has me thinking-have modern horror films sunk so low that they're not only ripping off each other's ideas, but their villains as well? No, no, I won't stand for this, and neither should you. I won't waste another word on Boogeyman, and you must promise never to waste a single cent on it. Do we have a deal?

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