The boogeyman is essentially an American ‘monster’. Whereas spooky closets and dark under-bed areas are filled with all sorts of random creatures and dangers for British children, in the US, the boogeyman is the main man for such places.
Therefore it was only a matter of time until a film-maker somewhere used him as inspiration for a horror movie.
And the film starts promisingly. A little boy, scared of the shadows in his room at night is saved from the ‘man in the closet’ by his father’s arrival. But when Daddy investigates the closet, something dark and evil pulls him in, right before little Timmy’s eyes.
Needless to say this messes the little boy up a bit.
As Timmy grows older, he manages to overcome his fears of closets and dark places enough to begin a normal life. Pretty hard to imagine after what he witnessed you would think.
But again it’s the doctors who are to blame. They make him believe that the boogeyman was in his imagination and was a coping mechanism for his father walking out of the family.
When Tim is enticed back to his hometown for his mother’s funeral, his old house entices him too, as he feels that he must confront his personal demons and overcome his silly irrational fears… And you’ve guessed it, they aren’t that silly and irrational after all.
It’s hard to talk too much about this film without mentioning that Sam (Evil Dead) Rami was largely responsible for it. And it shows.
His trademark shots are everywhere, from the first person perspective shot that flies around the house, to the unnerving angles, at times giving the viewer the same viewing perspective as a small hiding child (behind banisters etc).
It’s nice for Rami to leave his mark, and there’s no denying that he has a gift for it, but at times it almost got a bit much.
At night, the night air was filled with brightly lit with dry-ice fog. So brightly lit, that at times it was enough to replace the need for any interior lighting in the house.
The house itself took on an Evil Dead trait, buy seemingly having its own personality. And Rami even threw in a trademark ‘hag’ (there seems to be one in a majority of his films) albeit briefly when Tim’s mother pays him a visit during the night.
Don’t get me wrong, the tension is there, and the story is fine, but at times it almost felt as if Rami was saying ‘look, it’s me! I’m doing horror again!’ Which isn’t necessary.
That aside, the film starts well enough. And it is only when you’re about a quarter of the way in that things get a bit confusing. Tim’s flashbacks appear like ghosts before him, a technique often used in this kind of film. However, the distinction between flashback and reality start to get a bit muddled at times. I found myself thinking ‘is he following a ghost child up the stairs, or is that him as a child’ etc.
And although questioning the main character’s sanity is obviously part of the fun, It just seems as if that aspect of the story line hasn’t been thought out enough.
More confusion follows as the closets and beds become portals, and by the time you manage to rationalise it to yourself, the final disappointing duel is being fought.
What you’re left with is a great film for scaring children with, as a way of introducing them to the boogeyman and keeping them quiet and fearful at night. But for adults, there is little that will stay with you.
My only unnerving thought as I retired to by dark bedroom after the film was ‘didn’t they make more than one Boogeyman film? I wonder why…’
Additional film information: Boogeyman (2005)