Tuesday 29 August 2023

REVIEW: The Boogeyman (2023) Starring Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, and David Dastmalchian

Review by Jon Donnis
The Boogeyman, directed by Rob Savage and based on Stephen King's 1973 short story of the same name, presents a chilling tale of family trauma and supernatural terror. While the film may not fully capture the depth of its source material, it does a good job creating a haunting atmosphere and has strong performances all round from the cast.

The story revolves around the Harper family, particularly the two sisters, Sadie (Sophie Thatcher) and Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair), along with their therapist father, Will (Chris Messina). Struggling to cope with the sudden loss of their mother, the family's world becomes even darker when a disturbed man named Lester Billings (David Dastmalchian) enters their lives. The encounter sets off a series of unsettling events, as the family becomes entangled in the deadly grip of an evil entity known as "The Boogeyman."

The film succeeds in creating an expertly calibrated atmosphere of dread. The visual style is memorable, with haunting imagery that lingers even after the credits roll. The performances, particularly those of the young cast members, contribute significantly to the film's effectiveness. Sophie Thatcher as Sadie and Vivien Lyra Blair as Sawyer manage to convey a convincing mix of vulnerability and determination, anchoring the audience's emotional investment.

However, The Boogeyman does stumble in some areas. While the buildup of tension is masterfully executed, the payoff sometimes falls short. Director Rob Savage leans on jump scares and a thunderous score to deliver frights, occasionally relying on these conventional tactics rather than pushing the boundaries of the genre. The film walks the line between being effectively spooky and slipping into generic horror territory.

Additionally, the story's potential to delve deeper into the psychological trauma of the characters is left somewhat unexplored. The audience is given glimpses of the family's emotional struggle, but there's room for a more profound exploration of grief and its impact on their relationships.

In the end, The Boogeyman is a commendable attempt at bringing a classic horror story to life on the screen. While it might not fully realize the potential of its source material, it manages to deliver a satisfactory level of fright and suspense. With its memorable visuals and committed performances, it's a movie that will leave you checking the dark corners of your room. Just be prepared for a few bumps in the night that might feel a tad formulaic.

As far as supernatural horror films go, The Boogeyman earns its place as an intriguing addition to the genre. With some refinements in its storytelling and a willingness to experiment beyond the expected scares, it could have truly excelled. For now, it's a spine-tingling ride that leaves you pondering what might have been lurking under your bed all along.

I score The Boogeyman a solid 7/10

Out now