Don’t peek under the bed and whatever you do, do not go into the closet. Instead, find two friends and laugh your way out of the local movie theater after you realize that you just wasted $9.50 on an underdeveloped, slightly hilarious attempt at a horror film. What’s most unsettling about Boogeyman is that the relatively unknown cast and crew of the film have scored big at the box office due to its calculated formula: 1 attractive leading man+ lack of an original plot= money in the pockets of producers.
The film goes a little something like this: Little Tim Jensen is scared of the boogeyman. His father tries and tries to convince Timmy that the fictitious children’s fable is untrue until that fateful night when dad gets swept under the closet door and is never seen or heard from again. Cut to fifteen years later when Tim (Barry Watson, “7th Heaven”) resides alone in a doorless apartment with pieces of his gloomy past still haunting him. At dinner with his girlfriend Jessica (Tory Musset, Peter Pan) and her family, Jessica’s father inquires about Tim’s parents. Tim replies, “The family thing is kind of complicated, sir.” It seems that Tim doesn’t want to leak the news that his father was taken by the boogeyman. Maybe, just maybe, people might think he’s crazy? Nah. Not possible. When Tim’s mother (Lucy Lawless, “Xena: Warrior Princes”) dies, he decides to return to his childhood home and face the demons and boogeys inside.
Teen horror haunts that had bite include Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, however it’s quite different when you have the likes of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson on board. Even with director Stephen T. Kay’s attempts at slow zooms, quick cuts and special effects galore, Boogeyman just isn’t scary. At all. Not even a little. The film has all the typical horror movie cinematic cliches. Slow, eerie background music, lightning and thunder, silhouetted figures outside in the rain and dead people that talk on screen. All of Boogeyman’s cookie-cutter ways make for an uneventful flick that follows in the footsteps of those unsuccessful teen predecesors. The movie, however, is a good opportunity for yet another heartthrob to try his hand at the big screen by spending 90 minutes running from “the killer” while simultaneously messing things up with the blond girlfriend and gaining the trust of the girl next door, Kate. (Emily Deschanel, Cold Mountain).
There are some plot elements in Boogeyman that are not explored. For example, Tim seems to have teleporting and time travel abilities that are left unexplained. In one scene, he tries to uncover the disappearance of Jessica when he suddenly finds himself back in his house with Kate. Instead of the script telling us how this fits into film, the writer decides to neglect any reasoning whatsoever. Also missing is the audience’s empathy for the main character. If Tim lost his father at the age of 8 and his mother in his twenties, shouldn’t we feel something for him? The script seems to get lost in the goofy horror details so much so that it looses any sense of closeness to the character. If audiences felt more of a connection towards Tim, it’s possible that all of those cinematic extras would have been more effective.
Without a developed script or influential shot design, Boogeyman falls way short of becoming a cult classic. Although already making some dough, the film lacks some of the intricate factors that make horrors successful. The acting wasn’t worthy and the film didn’t leave me shaking in my boots, or Converse sneakers, for that matter.