STUDIO: Sony Pictures Studio
MSRP: $21.71 RATED: PG-13
RUNNING TIME: 89 Minutes
• Deleted Scenes – Including an alternate ending
• Making of Boogeyman
• Visual effects progressions
• Animatics

I don’t know why I never believed in the Boogeyman when I was a kid, but I just didn’t. Maybe I saw enough horror flicks growing up to act as something of a tempering agent when it came to such matters. I mean, horror films still scared me, but I never really went to bed afraid that Jason or Freddy was going to come get me (of course little did I know they would frighten the hell out of me later in life by combining powers to make one monster of an awful movie). And it’s not that I didn’t think there were people in my closet, either. I guess I just assumed that rather than being some undead creature trying to take my soul, it was merely Lazlo Hollyfeld trying to make his way down to the steam tunnels. And who could be afraid of Lazlo? He’s out there to help us through math and stopping our nation’s military from producing Star Wars weapon systems.

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Michael Biehn’s Advent Calender was just too creepy to be a big seller.

I will admit to being scared shitless of ventriloquist dummies, though not because of Poltergeist. It was that damn Corky from Magic. Oh, the fun my dad had by making sure to point out where those dummies were in every toy store I entered in and watching me run screaming like a madman for the front door.

Regardless, there are apparently a lot of you out there who did believe in the Boogeyman. Enough so, in fact, that horror legends Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert decided to make their second producing effort under their Ghost House production company a film based on the legend of the creature/monster/spirit.

The Flick

The biggest benefit that I can think of in making a movie based on the Boogeyman is that while it’s a name that everyone out there is aware of, there isn’t really a particular story that needs to be told. You get the advantage of instant name recognition without worrying about having to stay true to anything. It’s really a perfect set-up for a horror film in the right set of hands.

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"Look, I get it – Big Chief Go-Kart World totally sweet…but if you show me one more picture of your trip to the Wisconsin Dells, I’m going to kick your ass all the way to Baraboo."

The story that Boogeyman tells is about a strange creature that resides in closets and underneath the beds of children. During the night he drifts from the shadows and takes kids away to an unknown place where he can seemingly do whatever the hell he wants with them (no, I’m not going the easy route with the obvious joke that fits in there). While the Boogeyman seems to focus his energies on children, he/she/it doesn’t solely prey on them.

As the movie opens, we’re shown our protagonist, Tim Jenson (Barry Watson), as a child scared to death in his room. Apparently his father had told him a frightening story and now he doesn’t trust the shadows in his room aren’t coming to get him. As well he shouldn’t it turns out, as dad is soon taken to what I have to assume is his certain death by the creature who resides in the closet.

Cut to about 15 years later, and Tim is a recent journalism grad (oh, the horror of trying to find a job now!), who’s dating a hot piece from a rich family and still scared of under-lit closets. Tim has distanced himself from his past – he’s spent some time in a mental hospital as a child, where he was told that his dad ran away and the Boogeyman story is merely something his mind created to deal with the loss of his pops.

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"Look kid, I’m not Jimmy Fallon, so you don’t have to stand there all stoic every time I tell a joke."

For obvious reasons, Tim isn’t a normal guy. His fears still control him, and he’s learned to not open himself up to others. This is a typical character for people familiar with b-movie heroes. Here we have a guy who’s quiet and unknowable and not very likeable because of it. You wonder how a guy who doesn’t want to talk about anything dealing with his past actually finds a beautiful woman who’ll love him no matter what. I have to imagine that for most women, if when you walk into a room and the guy you’re dating is always staring at the closet nearly pissing himself, you’ll try and pull some sort of explanation from him. Of course, we’re talking about a Boogeyman movie, so I’m really just reaching at this point.

During a Thanksgiving trip to meet his lady’s parents, Tim learns that his mother, who he has not kept in touch with, has passed away. It’s at that same time that supernatural activities start occurring around Tim again and he decides it’s time to go back home to face his demons and rid himself of his fears for good. Of course in order to do this, he’ll have to stay overnight in the old house where his father ‘ran away’ and prove to himself once and for all that the Boogeyman doesn’t exist.

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When horse whispering didn’t work, Janie went directly to horse kicking in order to get her point across.

While back home, he runs into an old childhood friend, Kate (the just-as-hot-as-her-sister Emily Deschanel). They start to hit it off a bit, but when Kate leaves the house to go take care of her father, odd things start to happen. Doors start opening on their own (a LOT); items seem to be moving…your typical haunted house material. But is it all in Tim’s head? Maybe his dad did run away and Tim is just a loon.

Anyways, after a while Tim’s had enough and wants to leave. It’s at that time that the girlfriend shows up and they head out of town to a motel. From this point, the movie actually kicks into gear and people start getting sucked into closets again. I’ll not go any further into the plot, as there are a few surprises that would have to be given away to go into anymore detail. Needless to say, there is a kid who shows up to help Tim (after all, what’s a horror movie without a kid showing the way?), and peripheral characters bite the bullet.

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"Look Billy, I know you don’t want to do this. But if you really love me, you’re going to have to accept that I get aroused seeing you violated by multiple men at a time. Deal with it."

Boogeyman certainly isn’t an awful movie, though it’s not very good, either. Watching this film at times felt like playing Resident Evil for the original Playstation. Not in a cool way where monsters jumped out of the walls & scared the hell out of you, but rather because is seems like you spend most of the film watching doors open. One-third of the film stock must be filled with images of wooden doors, close-ups of doorknobs, and hands reaching out to open doors. I understand the air of suspense that the director (Steven T. Kay) is trying to create, but there are much better ways to go about it.

I did enjoy Emily Deschanel’s screentime, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just because she’s so damn attractive. She seems like the only real character in the film, as Kate actually calls out Tim for being such a self-loathing ass.

There is also some neat goings on in the last twenty minutes or so of the film. There’s a lot of confusion and they actually shed some doubt to who is really killing off some of these people.

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"Remember when I had a career…you know, that’s a great question…but I really don’t remember. Are you sure that was me? I mean, I’m resorting to begging for bit parts in b-movies, but you’re trying to say I used to have fans? Weird."

It doesn’t last long, though, and the climax pretty much kills any pleasure you might have been deriving from this film. I won’t go into details, but I will say that a lightning ball comes into play. Lightning balls aren’t cool. I don’t care how young or stoned you are, those things are about the lamest of all room décor. As a deus ex machina, it’s especially awful.

Still, I’m sure b-level horror fans out there will find a great deal to enjoy with this movie. Of course, you people also like Cabin Fever and Castle Freak, so God help you all.

4.5 out of 10

The Look

As I mentioned before, the look of this film is really just doors. The scares themselves aren’t set up very well, as any veteran to the genre is going to be well aware of when the monster is coming, when it’s going to be a false alarm, and when it’s going to be a ‘false alarm…NO WAIT IT REALLY IS THERE OMG!!!!’.

Naturally, the film is very dark, though never really to the point of not knowing what’s going on. That’s due to a very solid transfer, which I can only imagine would look even better on that 60 inch high-def TV I saw at Best Buy the other day (note to the wife – See, I can’t really fulfill my duties as reviewer without a 60-inch high-definition TV, can I? Do you really want to cheat all these people out of a full review that covers all of these things?)

7.0 out of 10

The Noise

The movie does sound very well. As in any haunted house films, it’s the creaks and squeals in the background that provide the frightening atmosphere. Now if it only had the visuals to back them up…

8.0 out of 10

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Barry Watson strapping himself in for a viewing of Boogeyman.

The Goodies

There are about 6 deleted scenes and for the most part, they belonged on the cutting room floor. There are a couple scenes that really worked, though. One really helps build on the idea that perhaps all of these incidents are all really just an occurrence of Tim being a bit of a cracked nut. Another did a solid job of helping to enhance the creepiness of this particular haunted house. Since the movie is only at 89 minutes, I think it wouldn’t have been much trouble to keep these two scenes, which are each just a couple minutes long.

The alternate ending is interesting. That’s not to say it’s a great ending, but without giving it away, I can say that it really makes sense in the scope of the film. It actually compliments the film that plays before it, whereas the ending they used just feels rushed and tacked on. The alternate version is definately the ending that they should have used.

The making-of featurette really sheds some light on the film that everyone involved wanted to make. They were apparently really trying to make a dramatic film that focuses on the fears that can haunt us throughout our lives, and learning to overcome them. Unfortunately, somewhere in the making of the film, they forgot about that and made a cheap monster movie. Rob Tapert also says that Boogeyman should end up being better than The Evil Dead. I know he’s a salesman, but come on now.

The rest of the features actually deal with the making of the film, in terms of showing the visual effects progressions and animated storyboards. It’s not exiting, but interesting to those who really get into how a film is put together.

6.5 out of 10

The Artwork

Well what do you know? It’s a wooden door, with a metal knob, and a hand opening it. You’ve just seen the movie without opening the box.

8.0 out of 10

Overall: 5.5 out of 10