Monday, May 20, 2024

The Boogeyman (2023) movie review and synopsis.

The boogeyman enters the Harpers’ empty and overly creaky house in the form of Lester (from the short story), played here by David Dastmalchian at his most cryptic shorthand and also as a sort of shorthand for character development. After telling a horrifying tale about the death of his children and a powerful monster, he sneaks away and hangs himself in the dead mother’s art closet, planting the monster in their home.

Lester’s suicide is just another death in Harper’s world, and like the loss of his wife and the mother of Will’s children, he doesn’t really want to talk about it. In ways both proverbial and literal, Sadie and Sawyer are left in the dark. Sadie is a vulnerable loner and wears one of her mother’s dresses to school just to eat the bullies’ food; Sawyer is so shy she sleeps with a giant light ball. Both want only an inner peace, which is disturbed by aggressive bumps at night and closet doors that suddenly open or close.

Savage likely got the job of directing “The Boogeyman” from the way he previously used space and negative viewpoints, whether it’s the darkness behind someone on a Zoom call with candles or the blurry image of a figure standing in middle of the road waiting. for the focus of a camera to be adjusted. There are only such fleeting thrills in this film, which takes a formulaic approach to scares that relies heavily on sound mixing, false alarms and children in peril. In the first half of the film, he creates an atmosphere that is sometimes unsettling – but almost scary. The use of spare light and sound is its cleverest aspect, like when Sawyer throws her huge ball of light at the unknown in the hallway, hoping she’s not right about what’s on the other side.

Throughout this modern history, Savage’s technological sense has been curiously neglected. For all the talk about how the Boogeyman hates light, the script pretty much ignores the utility a cell phone flashlight could have in thwarting his creature or inspiring a more clever script. Such omission becomes apparent as the horror of the monster loses what little power it has over us later. To put it in Stephen King-speak, isn’t Pennywise from “It” much scarier as a clown from a distance than a giant spider up close? Savage’s The Boogeyman is an old pest control saga that needs an update.

Available in theaters June 2.

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