Starring: Sophie Thatcher, Vivien Lyra Strong, Chris Messina, David Dastmalchian, and Marin Ireland
Director: Rob Savage
With its relatively simplistic story, The Boogeyman falls into the horror pitfall of “haven’t I seen this one before?” That’s not to say it isn’t good for what it is, just that what it is, is a familiar ghost story. That said, aside from feeling the drag of the build-up a little, I stayed engaged throughout thanks to some solid spooky imagery and the performance of Vivien Lyra Strong (Sawyer). It may not be breaking new ground, but The Boogeyman will still provide a solid night out at the movies, and sometimes that’s all you need.
While this atmospheric horror film is very formulaic, its scares still manage to be very effective, which allows the film’s eeriness to linger throughout its tightly paced runtime. The Boogeyman is the latest feature to come from up-and-coming horror director Rob Savage, who continues to prove he’s got the style and voice to be one of the next great horror filmmakers, and he builds enough tension to keep you hooked from start to finish. Furthermore, please keep giving me more of Sophie Thatcher in anything horror related because, my god, she always delivers a killer performance.
The Boogeyman is a by-the-numbers horror film, but I can’t say it wasn’t effective. Director Rob Savage does a good job of creating a creepy atmosphere that will keep audiences unsettled for a good chunk of the runtime, not relying fully on lazy jump scares to be scary. It’s just… the plot is paper thin. Its themes of grief are pretty obvious and not very effective, and just about everything that I guessed would happen happened. These factors definitely diminished my level of enjoyment, but I can’t say I had no enjoyment. If you’re just looking for some safe scares, this’ll satisfy.
As a fan of Rob Savage’s COVID-era horror film Host, I was looking forward to seeing what he could do with this adaptation of Stephen King’s material. While The Boogeyman certainly contains Savage’s horror stylings in essential moments, the story surrounding them feels underdeveloped. It’s not as though the story is only a crutch to get us to the next horror sequence, but one can feel the deeper moments waiting to be dug out from their surface trappings. The performances work and the set-pieces are effective; I just wish the script they are supporting knew how to honor those efforts.