"Boogeyman" should have stayed under the bed

Feb. 8, 2005, midnight | By Nora Boedecker | 19 years, 5 months ago

There are some horror films that promote deep, meaningful thought about the meaning of life or the existence of ghosts. There are other films, like the recent "Boogeyman," which promote a different kind of thought. Namely, how anyone could have thought that making a film about the boogeyman would be a good idea.

In "Boogeyman," Tim Jensen (Barry Watson) returns to the house of his childhood after his estranged mother dies. There, he must not only face his past but fend off the omnipresent and ever-powerful boogeyman, who haunts the closets and killed his father years before.

Yes, it is really as dumb as it sounds.

It's hard to make a quality horror film. Most wind up being either completely disgusting or incredibly dumb. What makes a horror movie memorable and unique is most often the psychological element, something beneath the surface so that the audience has to think about and discuss the film until they can truly understand it. "Boogeyman" was not that kind of film. For a few fleeting moments it seemed as though it might have been developing some kind of intellectual twist, but it dropped this thread almost as soon as it had picked it up.

Like most scary movies, this film is characterized by really, really stupid people. The kind of people who actually think that nothing bad will happen when they walk into the dark, spooky house in the middle of the night. Thankfully, many of these incredibly stupid people are removed from the gene pool.It's hard to classify "Boogeyman." Unlike horror films such as "The Ring" or "Psycho," there is not a single aspect that defines this movie. In fact, it seems to try and include every scary element ever put into film. "Boogeyman" includes everything from creepy old houses and weird little children to kamikaze birds. And, of course, lots and lots of machine-produced fog.

The only thing that makes the film worth watching is its handsome star, Barry Watson, best known for this role on the long running primetime soap opera "7th Heaven." His performance is not bad. In fact, it might be to his credit that he could actually talk about the boogeyman with a straight face.

That's not to say that the film isn't scary. It is suspenseful and frightening, but it isn't that hard to scare American audiences. All a film maker has to do is turn down the lights, play a little sinister music and have something jump out unexpectedly and the audience will scream. The suspense in "Boogeyman" is mostly just obnoxious, and the audience spends much of the film looking at their watch, wondering when the misery will end.

To make matters even worse, "Boogeyman" is exceedingly predictable and the ending is anti-climatic. In fact, during some of the most "dramatic" scenes in the film, the audience was actually laughing.

In short, the movie is just dumb. Though it may entertain some viewers looking for a cheap thrill, it's not worth the price of admission. For those looking for a less expensive substitute, have a friend hide in the closet and jump out; it will probably be more fun.

"Boogeyman" (86 minutes) is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror and terror/violence, and some partial nudity. Area theaters.

Last updated: May 4, 2021, 12:46 p.m.

Nora Boedecker. Nora Boedecker wants to be more like Eve when she grows up. More »

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