‘The Boogeyman’ presents a formulaic, incohesive horror flick

Mimi Calzada, Life&Arts Associate Editor

Directed by Rob Savage, “The Boogeyman” follows highschooler Sadie (Sophie Thatcher), her younger sister Sawyer (Vivian Lyra Blair), and their father (Chris Messina) as they cope with the aftermath of their mother’s death. Soon, the family falls victim to The Boogeyman, which haunts the shadows in their house. 

The film, in its entirety, felt quite formulaic and by the book, sometimes to its advantage and other times to its disadvantage. The film succeeded in checking many standard horror movie boxes, such as one moment when Sadie takes clothes out of a dryer. The glass door allows viewers to see the out-of-focus silhouette of a man standing in the background, making for an effective, if unoriginal, shot. 

The film’s script serves as a very basic template for a very basic horror movie; therefore, “The Boogeyman” mostly impresses audiences with its camerawork. The most interesting shot shows Sawyer on her bed at night, and in one swoop, the camera rotates 180 degrees, moving with the actress as she flips her head to look under her bed for monsters. Another scene shows the sisters in a therapist’s office, where the therapist tells them to conduct an exercise in which the lights in the room will flicker on and off. This lets the camera cut to different angles whenever the lights go out and allows frightening shots to flash on the screen for short periods of time.

Many horror movies must choose to either show their monster or refrain. The film decides to unveil the Boogeyman sparingly and with minimal lighting. By never fully showing the monster, the movie builds tension and keeps audiences on the edges of their seats. Overall, the dark nature of the film aids in building this tension since viewers never know when the monster might appear.

Unfortunately, the areas where the project impresses audiences don’t make up for where it bores. One of the film’s flaws is its lack of a successful payoff. For example, the protagonist deals with bullies in her high school and eventually slaps one in the face after a particularly rude comment. However, the slap fails to deliver the promised buildup, leaving audiences wishing for more of a fight between Sadie and her bully. The film’s ending also leaves much to be desired, as the resolution of the final battle between the family and the Boogeyman feels more like luck and coincidence than an intentional and skillful win. 

The lack of a cohesive plot is the film’s biggest downside. The movie gives the viewer no particular reason to root for these characters and doesn’t even explain why the Boogeyman decides to target this family. Without the emotional investment needed for most horror movies, the film fails to deliver a satisfyingly impactful finale.

All in all, “The Boogeyman” presents a perfectly conventional horror movie with satisfactory tension and some good jump scares. But the film lacks a compelling plot, ultimately making it basic and borderline forgettable. 

2 1/2 moon nightlights out of 5