The Boogeyman

20th Century Studios

Written by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods and Mark Heyman (Based on the story by Stephen King)

Directed by Rob Savage

Starring Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, David Dastmalchian, Marin Ireland, Madison Hu, Maddie Nichols, Leeann Ross, Rio Sarah Machado, Shauna Rappold and LisaGay Hamilton

Still reeling from the tragic death of their mother, a teenage girl and her younger sister find themselves plagued by a sadistic presence in their house and struggle to get their grieving father to pay attention before it’s too late.

There are two things I love outside of my family and friends and those things are horror movies and stories by Stephen King. I unashamedly admit to reading King’s works multiple times and immersing myself in films designed to scare and entertain. So whenever I hear about a new horror film based on the work and worlds of Mr. King I am both intrigued and cautiously optimistic.

Having read the short story The Boogeyman from King, I was intrigued by the notion of how director Rob Savage would expand on what is essentially a story that takes place in one room and how he could make that story compelling to movie audiences and scary. I have to say I was not disappointed.

The story tackles some interesting themes among the scares and I love that the creature itself is drawn to families that are experiencing grief. The interaction between the father Will (Messina) and Lester Billings (Dastmalchian) is fantastic and sets up both the characters and the horror to come perfectly. Dastmalchian gives a wonderful understated performance as a father lost and confused in his own grief and desperate for someone to understand him. He essentially conveys to both Will and the audience that the Boogeyman is a creature that attacks when you’re not looking at that is the essence of Will in the film. He’s so lost in his own grief that he is blind to everything including the grief of his two daughters.

Sophie Thatcher gives a wonderful performance as Sadie. There are moments when it can get too teen angsty, but Thatcher manages to keep the character from becoming a cliché as she navigates not only her own loss, but the needs of her little sister Sawyer played by Obi-Wan star Vivien Lyra Blair. Blair gives another great performance that doesn’t fall into the conventions of a child in a horror movie and there are moments of real terror that you feel through her performance.

The supporting cast is good and I like that the Mean Girl-esque clique in the film wasn’t too over the top. One of the other great performances in the film is Marin Ireland’s Rita Billings. She is haunting as a mother who is consumed with her grief and determined to destroy the cause of it no matter what. Her scenes were awesome.

Savage does some fantastic work with the visuals in the film. The creature is bathed in shadow throughout the film and you don’t get a sense of its dimensions while its menace looms in every environment. Every corner and dark room on the screen gave me pause and Savage uses that to bring out the scares in interesting ways. Most horror films use jump scares to get the audience, but this one has a moment where the jumps come on top of each other from different angles in the same environment. It’s a great feeling that permeates the film and made me enjoy it more.

The Boogeyman does a wonderful job of both translating the source material and expanding on it to provide a tense, terrifying experience for the audience. It’s a chilling experience that doesn’t forget the humanity of its characters and why you should care about them.

The Boogeyman



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