“The Boogeyman” Review

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“The Boogeyman” Rating: 4/5

We have a hit on our hands! “The Boogeyman” is a thoughtful horror film that manages to interweave intriguing, thematic elements with genuine scares.

We meet Sadie, a teenage girl who is reeling from the loss of her mother. Her father and younger sister also struggle to cope. They soon find themselves experiencing unsettling events in their home. The girls believe there is a sinister-being lurking in the dark, waiting to feast on their fear. Will they figure out what waits in the dark before it’s too late?

Positives

This creepy little film really snuck up on the movie market. It actually exceeded my expectations. The film is loosely based on the Stephen King short story, managing to craft a wildly creepy atmosphere throughout.

I was very impressed with the old school horror approach, featuring a creature that is more inferred rather than exposed. The filmmakers utilize the dark, hiding the monster to build suspense and tease the audience on its whereabouts. In turn, the film is much scarier. I was constantly on my toes wondering what would happen next.

There were certain lighting techniques that trick the audience to think the monster might be there, but in reality the ambiguous nature of what COULD be there prolongs the tension very well. The camera work is fantastic. Not only does director Rob Savage cleverly swing and cut the camera, but he manages to make the audience feel as though they are in the room with the characters. Almost as if the audience themselves will be another victim for The Boogeyman.

The use of lighting is also impressive. Each time there is a dark sequence (specifically featuring the young girl), the use of a glowing ball and a string of Christmas lights is very appealing to the eye. I enjoyed the lack of exposition and gore, too. The film embraces the “less is more” approach to sustain tension rather than relying on splatter. It’s true…horror films can still embrace these techniques!

Thematic exploration is at the forefront of the story as well. Each character deals with loss and trauma in a different way, leading to different kinds of vulnerabilities. This makes each susceptible to The Boogeyman in unique ways, which helps the audience connect to them as people, not victims. Each of the leading performances were impressive, especially the two daughters. David Dastmalchian adds another creepy showing to his resume. He was excellent in his small scene.

The film doesn’t overstay its welcome, which will please viewers like myself. The runtime was efficient and leaves audiences wondering what might come next. Stay tuned!

Negatives

While “The Boogeyman” succeeds in most aspects, there are a few areas that could have been cleaner. I’d say the pacing will be the main area where audiences are put off. There are a few stretches of the plot that drag, focusing on the exploration of grief rather than scares. I quite enjoyed this, but I could see viewers looking for a simple story losing interest.

I also wish the father’s grief was explored a bit further. He was clearly dealing with it in a way that pushed his daughters away, so that aspect of the story could have been more prominent.

Conclusion

“The Boogeyman” is a terrific horror film that will likely be one of 2023’s scariest films. An old school approach to conjuring scares gives me hope that a resurgence of classic techniques is possible! The characters are relatable and the story feels real. Elevated horror meets John Carpenter level tension.

I’d encourage anyone to check this out for the atmospheric scares. “The Boogeyman” earns a viewing and a high recommendation!

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