The Boogeyman Review

Horror movies are my jam! I grew up watching horror movies and even as I watched them with my hands covering my face I always enjoyed them a lot. As I got older I realized that horror movies were not always about the monsters you see but also about the ones you do not see. Movies like The Devil’s Backbone, Frailty, and even recently Parasite showed us that evil sometimes lies within. While there is a physical evil in The Boogeyman it seems that the real evil is the one between the father and his daughters.

The first scene of the movie is something of a nightmare for parents. I won’t specify what happens but there is nothing worse than hearing an infant cry and not being able to soothe them or in this case, save them. We are introduced to Sadie, her sister Sawyer, and their therapist father Will, played by Sophie Thatcher, Vivien Lyra Blair, and Chris Messina respectively. The family is dealing with the death of their mother/wife and this is the first day back to school for the two girls. What follows next is a scene we have seen multiple times: the young girl is walking through the school hallway with all the kids staring at her or whispering to themselves about the girl. Yeah, this is a familiar trope but in this movie, it helps build the loneliness that Sadie feels about not having her mom.

Another trope that is used in this movie is the “mean girl” trope. While it seems that Sadie has a few friends in the school, led by Bethany, played by Madison Hu, the other girls look at her with disgust and pity. Bethany seems like the only one that cares about Sadie and we find out later on that they were a tight group of friends before Sadie’s mother died but Sadie closed herself off from the group. We get the usual mean girl scenes when these girls are around and it is great to see one of the girls get her comeuppance by Sadie later in the movie.

Vivien Lyra Blair as Sawyer Harper in 20th Century Studios’ THE BOOGEYMAN. Photo by Patti Perret. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The terror begins when Will is visited by David Dastmalchian’s character, named Lester Billings. Lester is a damaged man in that he is trying to prove his innocence after the death of his three children. Lester tells Will of a being that took his children and is out there. He shows him a drawing and as Will excuses himself to call the police, something happens to Lester within the household. Whatever evil haunted Lester is now hiding in Will’s house. It does take a little while for the story to start building steam but as stated before, after Lester’s incident the terror begins.

Sawyer is one of the highlights of the movie. She sleeps with a lot of lights on in her room along with a glowing ball. She is one of the ways the viewers are pulled into the movie. We feel her fear as she hears her closet door opening in the middle of the night. It is through her that we first see the creature. Let me tell you, friends, this thing is really creepy. Not only is the design of the monster scary but the sound it emits will make the hair on your arms stand. Director Rob Savage plays the monster like Jaws and only shows us bits and pieces of it until the final portion of the movie.

Sophie Thatcher excels as Sadie and her curiosity and drive are what help her family survive this terror that haunts them. Another highlight of the movie is Marin Ireland. She plays the wife of Lester Billings and is the only one that can help Sadie take down the creature. She is the only one that calls it the Boogeyman and it is creepy when she says it. Marin is great in another horror movie coming out later this year entitled, Birth/Rebirth.

The Boogeyman may be about a monster killing children or anything that stands in its way but as I previously noted the real evil here is between the father and his daughters. Being a therapist, Will should have known how to talk to his daughters about the death of their mother. Instead, he has decided to not talk to them about her and whenever Sadie tries to open up to him he tells her to save it for her therapist. As a parent, we should be there for our children and try to comfort them when the time arises. By Will not doing that for his daughter he makes them susceptible to this creature coming into their lives and destroying all that they know.

(L-R): Sophie Thatcher as Sadie Harper and Vivien Lyra Blair as Sawyer Harper in 20th Century Studios’ THE BOOGEYMAN. Photo by Patti Perret. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Final Thoughts: The Boogeyman is based on a short story written by Stephen King. While the movie expands on the story some aspects of the movie feel rushed. We never get a full explanation of the Boogeyman but maybe reading the short story will help with that. The design and sound of the creature are terrifying and those will haunt you long after the movie has ended. The Boogeyman is a good film but it is not as scary as you would think.

Kid-Friendly: The Boogeyman is rated PG-13 & that rating is appropriate for what is shown on the screen. While there are a few jump scares throughout the movie it might not be as scary as they’d expect. There are a few curse words and drug use in one scene.

Violence: For a horror movie there is not much violence in it. There is a slap between Sadie and one of the mean girls. We see Will twist his ankle in a terrifying way and the way the Boogeyman kills some of his victims is a little brutal.

High school student Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer are reeling from the recent death of their mother and aren’t getting much support from their father, Will, a therapist who is dealing with his own pain. When a desperate patient unexpectedly shows up at their home seeking help, he leaves behind a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims. “The Boogeyman,” directed by Rob Savage (“Host”) with a screenplay by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods (“A Quiet Place”) and Mark Heyman (“Black Swan”) and a screen story by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods based upon the short story by Stephen King, stars Sophie Thatcher (“Yellowjackets”), Chris Messina (“Air”), Vivien Lyra Blair (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”), Marin Ireland (“The Umbrella Academy”), Madison Hu (“Bizaardvark”), LisaGay Hamilton (“Vice”), and David Dastmalchian (“Boston Strangler”). The producers are Shawn Levy (“Stranger Things”), Dan Levine (“Arrival”), and Dan Cohen (“The Adam Project”), with John H. Starke (“Sicario”), Emily Morris (“Rosaline”), Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, Ryan Cunningham, Adam Kolbrenner (“The Tomorrow War”), and Robyn Meisinger serving as executive producers.

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