STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MSRP: $14.94
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 82 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: A throwaway sequel, Return of the Boogeyman

The Pitch

"Oh god oh god I had this great dream and now I lost it–"

The Humans

Suzanna Love (Strangers in Paradise, Cocaine Cowboy), Ron James (Tommy Boy), John Carradine (The Ice Pirates, The Secret of NIMH), and Nicholas Love (Wild and Heart).

The Nutshell

As young children, Willy and Lacey witness their mother engaging in a bit of light bondage with her strong, silent partner. This clearly deviant sexual behavior frightens both the children, as does the lover’s tying Willy into bed so the kid won’t interrupt playtime. Lacey, acting out of the naiveté of her girlish little heart, grabs a butcher’s knife and uses it to free Willy. Willy appropriates the knife in order to murder his mother’s lover, which is accompanied by gore amounting to a single burst McDonald’s ketchup packet.

What Willy didn’t know is that there was a mirror in the room, and mirror’s are innately magical. The poor sap of a lover gets caught in the mirror, resurfacing years later to wreak vengeance — and engage in some casual violence — wherever a shard of the broken mirror ends up.

Ah, those heady days before optimism was replaced by irony…

The Package

In addition to a middling-to-poor transfer, your money will also net you a poorly-mixed soundtrack. The music crackles from time to time — either that or the cheapass synth the composer used featured a percussion sample taken from Tom Sawyer running a stick over a chain-link fence. The best of the technical aspects is the cinematography, and that’s not even very good, featuring awkward angles and extreme closeups that obscure the action.

The only bonus feature is the sequel, Boogeyman 2, on B-side of the disc. This feature-length waste deserves a bit of cheerful lambasting. The conceit of the sequel is that director Ulli Lommel is playing a fictional director who plans to make a movie from of the events of the original. Of course, the only way to properly familiarize the audience with the paper-thin plot of the original is to incorporate roughly forty minutes of its footage. Forty minutes out of a seventy-odd minute flick. They recycle so much of the footage that the credits bear the names of the actors for both films.

Perhaps the first movie was criminally unseen, in Lommel’s eyes. Damn his eyes.

What’s the opposite of a dickhead?

The Lowdown

Boogeyman amounts to an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 minues the clever running commentary. It’s poorly acted, its mythology isn’t internally coherent, its music is inappropriate, and its villain has no clear motivation.

Director Ulli Lommel worked on a low budget to create something he must have thought was at least moderately creepy, but not a shred of that tone made it through into the final product. The protagonists have slightly more motivation than the villain, but even so they stand as characters sketched on the back of a napkin in response to the prompt, "Give each of your characters a single unique feature."

Willy doesn’t talk. Ever. For no good reason. Maybe he’s a mute? No, we are told that it was only after the "accident" that he decided to shut up. I say, Thank goodness. That leaves one character’s worth of trite dialogue out of the mix.

Lacey has a son. As far as I can tell, that’s the only thing that sets her apart from the other characters, except for her super power of swooning whenever somebody says, "Mirror." I think she even does it when someone says, "Meerkat."

The scenes of gore are poorly handled, though mostly decent in concept. A deep kiss on a long spike is bloodless and unlikely, but executed well. A pair of barber’s sheers digging deep into the throat to snip out the esophagus works great and makes the flick’s single redeemable use of extreme close-up (even if it is preceded by a blatantly gratuitous snip of the nightgown to give the audience a glimpse of nippleage.)

The conclusion devolves into a stupid Exorcist ripoff, which was foreshadowed by a clumsy writer who just learned the word foreshadow. Boogeyman is worth fifty cents in a bargain bin, but only if you have friends and/or alcohol and/or fifty cents.

0.5 out of 10