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John’s Horror Corner: Boogeyman (2005), horror-LITE about childhood trauma and a fear of closets.

February 20, 2023

MY CALL: A very PG-13 horror about a young man who is haunted by his childhood trauma of the Boogeyman and his broken family. No gore, no nudity, no profanity, dumb-looking CGI monster, very little horror. MORE MOVIES LIKE Boogeyman: Move on to Jeepers Creepers 1-2 (2001, 2003), Darkness Falls (2003), The Babadook (2014), The Bye Bye Man (2017), Candyman (1992), which I find to be yet more fun and/or better and/or intense with much better horror backing their Boogeymen.

After witnessing his father getting dragged into the void of his closet by the storied Boogeyman, Tim (Barry Watson;Teaching Mrs. Tingle, 7th Heaven) has spent the last twenty years fearful of closets and the dark. But Tim’s issues don’t stop there. He suffers from nightmares of his childhood trauma including his mentally unwell mother (Lucy Lawless; Ash vs Evil Dead, Salem). Upon her nightmare-prophesied passing, Tim returns home to face his fears where he reconnects with his childhood acquaintance Kate (Emily Deschanel; Rose Red, Bones), who will now also suffer his perhaps supernatural trauma.

Tim is losing his grip on reality. When things don’t make sense, we’re left to wonder if he is having a nervous breakdown or if supernatural things are actually happening. And was his father really taken by the Boogeyman, or was that his coping mechanism for his father abandoning him and his mother?

Our horror comes in the form of jump scares, faulty lights, creepy kids, and cultivated dread when gazing into the darkness. I think it’s executed well enough for a young teen viewership. But the methods may seem overly formulaic to more seasoned viewers. The jump scares are fine, but not really earned. Still, overall this is a very proficiently made horror with decent production value. It’s just not scary.

Director Stephen Kay (Sons of Anarchy, Get Carter) has made a horror-LITE for fans of 7th Heaven (1996-2006), as this movie stars the show’s heartthrob and hardly ever utters a bad word, sneaks a boob, or lets a drop of blood. The CGI Boogeyman looks awful, by the way. Awful!

In the end, Tim faces Boogeyman under the guidance of the ghost of a missing girl. Yes, it’s about as lame as it sounds. The way Tim defeats the monster is…. dumb. But really, this movie isn’t dumb. It’s quite well-made. I just didn’t like it. And what’s funny is I recall enjoying it when it was new. Maybe that’s just because I was a younger, less mature, less-seasoned horror viewer. Or maybe now I’m just old, grumpy, and tougher to please. No clue. But I hope my ranting helps you estimate if this movie is for you.

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