Main cast: Barry Watson (Tim), Emily Deschanel (Kate Houghton), Skye McCole Bartusiak (Franny Roberts), Tory Mussett (Jessica), Andrew Glover (Boogeyman), Lucy Lawless (Tim’s Mother), Charles Mesure (Tim’s Father), Philip Gordon (Uncle Mike), and Aaron Murphy (Young Tim)
Director: Stephen T Kay
Despite its too frantic cuts and edits that cause the horror scenes of this movie to zoom past too quickly for me to catch what is going on, Boogeyman is shaping up to be a superb supernatural drama… until the last fifteen minutes when the Boogeyman is revealed to be real (this is given away in the trailer so I’m not spoiling anything in this review) and the movie collapses onto itself like a balloon pricked by a pin.
As a young boy, Tim has a phobia of the dark that is made worse by his father’s forceful attempts to cure him of it (by locking Tim in a dark closet, for example). Tim is terrified of the Boogeyman coming to get him. One night, he can only watch in horror as the Boogeyman shows up and drags his father into the closet. His father is never seen again. Today, Tim is a young man with a career and a girlfriend (blonde – and you can guess what happens to her in this movie). However, he is terrified of the dark and doors that his apartment has no walls and no doors apart from the main door. He also has a mortal terror of closets and he keeps his clothes on a rack.
When his mother passed away and he is left the very house where he saw his father dragged into the closet by the Boogeyman, Tim realizes that he has to go back and confront his fears if he wants to have a normal life and a functional relationship with his girlfriend. Other people around Tim believe that Tim’s father abandoned the family and young Tim came up with the Boogeyman as a way to explain his father’s absence. Even his late mother believed that her husband had simply decamped one day and never came back. So which is which? Is Tim really afraid of nothing or is there really a Boogeyman?
There are some annoying scenes of people behaving stupidly for the sake of giving the audience some scares but on the whole, this movie is a chilling yet intriguing movie, especially when there is a strong possibility that the demon in this movie may exist only in Tim’s mind. Barry Watson manages to portray his role as Tim in a manner that is pathetic yet vulnerable at the same time, thus making Tim a sympathetic character. The few secondary characters in this movie exist only to heighten Tim’s doubts and have him even questioning his sanity.
And then the Boogeyman shows up. With that one scene, all the complexity of this movie is flushed down the toilet bowl, reducing Boogeyman into a ridiculous monster movie where the monster looks like a very fake and cheesy special effect coughed up by people under the influence. If this movie has chosen to end with some ambiguity, it would have remained a compelling exploration into the psyche of an emotionally scarred and tortured young man. But having seen the Boogeyman and laughed at it because it looks like Ronald McDonald run over several times by a truck, I end up wondering what is so scary about this supposedly powerful Boogeyman. If I’m Tim, I’d probably be jeering at it when it shows up in my bedroom and then it will be the poor Boogeyman who needs a shrink to restore his self-esteem. Sometimes it’s best that a movie doesn’t overplay its hand, and Boogeyman is a textbook example of one such movie.