The Boogeyman – REVIEW

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The half open cupboard door with the suspicion that something is lurking inside is a staple of horror and this adaptation of Stephen King’s short story ‘The Boogeyman’ is no different with an opening scene in a toddler’s bedroom where something lingers. It’s ideal territory for director Rob Savage whose two lockdown films ‘Host’ and ‘Dashcam’ were highly effective chillers with some exceptional scares. Here he works from writers Scott Beck, Bryan Woods and Mark Heyman script adaptation who were behind ‘A Quiet Place’ conjuring up nightmares more terrifying than those of Prince William’s children when they found out that Uncle Andrew was babysitting that night.

The Boogeyman centres on the home of the Harpers where Will, a widowed father and psychiatrist, works from home and raises his teenage daughter Sadie (Sophie Thatcher) and her younger sister Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair).  Their home is dark even in the day with the production designers muted tones and dark corners making it ideal for a creature that fears light that comes out only in the dark. Initially we are given only glimpses of the creature which works well when it does emerge under cover of darkness to terrorize the sisters. It’s a technique that Savage has done quite brilliantly in his debut feature Host that took the most effective scares from less well known horrors. The Boogeyman goes for the same effect but works less well and produces a sense of unease rather than out and out scares. Scenes with a football sized ball of light has many of the best moments as Sawyer clutches onto it for comfort or in an effort to find out what’s hiding in the dark rolls it down hallways or in one sequence under her own bed suspicious that the creature is hiding there, something that many female parliamentary researchers do before they get into bed in case they find Boris Johnson hiding there.

The Boogeyman, like so many of King’s books, doesn’t always make the successful transition to the big screen and for director Rob Savage this is a slight disappointment after the truly scary Host and the batshit crazy Dashcam which used modern technology (zoom, live streaming) to great effect and for all the playfulness of everyday technology in his films The Boogeyman misses the opportunity for such an upgrade in a film that unsettles rather than terrifies.

related feature: What happened to the Doctor Sleep spin off film?

related feature: How did ‘Host’ director Rob Savage totally freak out and terrify one of his actresses?

Here’s the Boogeyman trailer……

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