Boogeyman (2005) / Horror-Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, and some partial nudity (I'd rate it R)
Running Time: 86 min.
Cast: Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Sky McCole Bartusiak, Lucy Lawless, Tony Mussett, Robyn Malcolm
Director: Stephen Kay
Screenplay: Eric Kripke, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Review published February 9, 2005
Watching Boogeyman gives me the same sensation as receiving the popular gag e-mail telling me to turn up my speakers and stare at a seemingly innocuous picture for 60 seconds, only to jump back startled when a disturbingly scary or gory picture flashes on screen for a second, accompanied by a loud, frightening shriek. Usually these sorts of e-mails are sent around the workplace by people with nothing better to do that to content themselves with listening for the various screams of shock or surprise coming from other cubicles, feeling proud that they conned someone else into the same embarrassing scare that they themselves were subjected to.
The only difference between that e-mail and this motion picture is that Boogeyman insists on making you re-watch the same gag, over and over and over again. Once you’ve been jolted by it once or twice, you come to expect it, and the anticipation and knowledge diffuses all future thrills, until all that we can hope for is that what falls in between the frightening moments serves to entertain us enough to not care about the redundancy. Unfortunately for us, Boogeyman is all about the scare and nothing else, making this one of the most mind-numbingly boring and idiotic horror films of all time.
Writing a plot summary is perhaps the most difficult part of the review, because by all appearances, the film runs its course without having one. Barry Watson (Sorority Boys, When Strangers Appear) is the star, playing Tim, who as a boy experienced the scare of his life when he watched his father brutally attacked and killed by an unknown entity that resided in his closet – the boogeyman of his nightmarish fantasies (or so his dead daddy had thought). Now an adult, Tim is still suffering from the same fears, seeing those around him succumb to the horror of this boogeyman, which seems to be following Tim around for reasons unknown.
First, let me get something off my chest, because it I have this aching need to vent, or I won’t have a moment’s peace. Boogeyman is perhaps the most vile, putrid, repugnant, loathsome, contemptible, and paltry excuse for a movie I have seen in many a year – a film so abhorrently bad, I wanted to immediately expunge all memory of having viewed it, even if this
meant smashing my head with a hammer until it left me a mindless, drooling idiot (Ironically, this move would place me firmly in the camp of this film’s target audience). There isn’t an ounce of logic to be found anywhere, or even an attempt at a cohesive story. As “directed” by Stephen Kay (Get Carter), Boogeyman is only a series of monotonously long scenes of a young man looking at open closet doors, dark corners and under beds, interspersed with senseless booga-booga scenes full of loud noises and jump cuts of terrifying images. That is it! That’s the whole movie in a nutshell! Did it really take three people to come up with a script this anemic?! Sam Raimi’s production company, Ghost House, is responsible, but it seems from the disastrous results that Sam must have been a “ghost” himself during the filmmaking process.
They say that great movies are those that leave you feeling something long after they are over, but after viewing this repellent celluloid excretion, I was left with something altogether different – a nearly incurable headache and a feeling of nausea that lay in the pit of my stomach like an iron brick. Just as Jaws made us afraid to go in the water, Boogeyman made me afraid of dark places, all right – specifically, the darkened theaters where this stenchfest is showing. Hopefully, this review scares you just enough so that you never have to find out for yourself.
©2005 Vince Leo