REVIEW — “The Boogeyman”
Dark, moody, and littered with jump-scares, The Boogeyman is an easily digestible and forgettable summertime horror snack.
Consumed by grief after the recent death of their mom, high schooler Sadie Harper (Sophie Thatcher) and her little sister Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair) lean on each other to get by. Their father, Dr. Will Harper (Chris Messina), buries himself in his work as a work-from-home psychiatrist instead of tending to his family and processing his loss.
After a tragic visit from Lester Billings (David Dastmalchian), a desperate and frightened patient who claims a monstrous entity has stalked his family and killed his children, the pain-soaked Harper house becomes the new home of the titular creature.
Through several terrifying scenes, the monster begins to target young Sawyer at night; however, her claims of a Boogeyman living in her closet go largely ignored by her family. The creature’s power slowly builds as it preys on the family’s suffering, leading big sister Sadie to realize its presence and attempt to unravel the mysteries of its origin.
Based on a short story from horror master Stephen King’s anthology Night Shift, the film features commendable performances from its leads, particularly standouts Thatcher (Yellowjackets) and Blair Obi-Wan Kenobi). The two convey a realistic bond as terrified sisters taking on a supernatural force.
Thatcher channels her inner Ellen Ripley as she ventures into the Billings family’s dark and unsettling past to battle the Boogeyman armed with Christmas lights, a hockey stick, and a lighter. The film also stars Marin Ireland, LisaGay Hamilton, and Bizaardvark’s Madison Hu as a sympathetic classmate of Sadie’s who is torn between her and a group of mean girl frenemies.
Ultimately, The Boogeyman is a bleak monster house horror that actual plays better as a thriller. At times, it grabs you tightly by the ankles and pulls you under into darkness. Directed by Rob Savage (Host) and produced by Shawn Levy (Stranger Things), the film is often uneventful and predictable; however, it serves as a fine spine-tingling early summer nightmare.
Rated PG-13 with a running time of 1 hour and 38 minutes, The Boogeyman opens in theaters on June 2, 2023.