Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Rob Savage.
Starring Sophie Thatcher, Vivien Lyra Blair, Chris Messina.
Horror, US, 98 minutes, certificate 15.


Released in cinemas in the UK 2nd June by 20th Century Studios


The Boogeyman is the latest Stephen King adaptation that stems from his 1978 short story collection Night Shift. This volume has provided much fodder for the motion picture industry with a number of adaptations, including Children of the Corn, Sometimes They Come Back, The Mangler, The Lawnmower Man, which shared very little in common with its source material and Maximum Overdrive, where King made the questionable decision of choosing to direct a big screen version of his own story Trucks. Now we have director Rob Savage, leaving behind the screen life format to make his Hollywood debut with The Boogeyman.


The original story details a psychiatrist’s appointment with a father who claims his three children have been murdered by a shadowy figure who lurks within several cupboards and closets. It is a brief story with a real sting in the tail, and here it provides a jumping-off point for a fuller storyline examining grief and a number of niftily executed scare scenes involving its titular character.


Suffering a loss of his own is the psychiatrist Will who has lost his wife and mother to his two daughters in a recent accident. When a stranger persistently insists on an unscheduled appointment which ends in a grisly and mysterious fashion, eldest daughter Sadie and her little sister Sawyer soon begin to suspect the presence of an otherworldly figure taking advantage of their shared grief to its own sinister ends in much the same way it has with their father’s recent patient.


Despite its summer season release and the previous work of its director, this is a much more sombre work than expected. Where Savage has previously excelled in delivering massive, expertly conceived scares in compact running times, he takes a much more measured approach here than he did with HOST and the confrontational DASHCAM. The screen life format is completely jettisoned here, although one familiar face from his past work appears in a scene involving YouTube. Those expecting a barrage of over-amplified jump scares may be taken aback by the time devoted to its female characters’ relationships and their struggle with the loss of their mother. It’s a refreshing approach for mainstream Hollywood release while also proving Savage’s skill and love for the genre in a more refined way than expected.


At the same time, this feels like a very safe and defanged product. Despite his proven skills in executing the scenes where Sadie and Sawyer come face to face with their supernatural enemy, there is nothing here that provides a jolt to the system or really gets under the skin like you would hope for from a ghost story/supernatural tale.


However, the strength of its performances and well-written characters help to make this a worthwhile watch. Perhaps this is a necessary stepping stone for its director to prove that his skills are more than a match for a bigger audience. Hopefully, he will be allowed to show more flashes of the ingenious and gleeful skill in terrorising his audience that he made his name with the next time around.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans