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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 189: Boogeyman

Aw, I thought this was going to be a Disco horror movie

The Boogeyman myth is found all over the world in many different cultures. The myths go back all the way to the middle ages and in some places, even further. Sure, the names and specifics are different, but the main characteristics remain. The Boogeyman is a horrible, monstrous creature that kills. He's always hiding somewhere, usually in the closet or under the bed. It's this reason why reviewing a movie based on him seems like a no-brainer. Of course, it's also an excuse for me to link to a great scene from The Simpsons where Lisa has a bad dream about the Boogeyman and Homer acts appropriately. It's also a good excuse to listen to White Zombie's "I'm Your Boogie Man".

Boogeyman is a 2005 supernatural horror movie starring Barry Watson (7th Heaven, Sorority Boys) as Tim Jensen. As a young boy, Tim was afraid of something in his closet based off a story his father told him. One night, his father goes to check on him and is attacked by an unknown and unseen being. His father disappeared into the closet, never to be seen again. No one believed his story and everyone just assumed his father ran off. 15 years later, Tim is deathly afraid of closets and keeps his clothes in drawers. After a Thanksgiving trip to meet his girlfriend Jessica's parents, Tim has a vision of his mother (Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess, Vampire Bats) in trouble. He receives a call from his father saying she has died. He returns to his old house where the incident with his father took place as a form of closure. He is briefly attacked by something in a closet, but escapes. Tim reconnects with his childhood friend, Kate (Emily Deschanel, Bones, Cold Mountain) who still lives in town. He also meets a young girl named Franny, who also believes in the Boogeyman. She leaves him a backpack full of missing children's photos, all of whom were killed by the Boogeyman. Jessica visits Tim and takes him to a motel to relax, where she mysteriously disappears. Tim stumbles backwards into the closet and comes out into his family's home. Worried he is losing his mind, he takes Kate to the motel where they discover that Tim was, in fact, at the motel. Tim meets with Franny again, who reveals that she had been taken by the Boogeyman in 1985 and her father tried to defeat him. Will Tim be able to face his fears and defeat the monster?

And can they look even whiter?

I don't recall seeing a movie where I was distracted by the poor direction and camerawork than the story. The movie has a habit of speeding up shots and having quick zoom-ins, complete with whoosing sound effects. Once or twice is fine, but the movie is full of these. There are so many shots of doors and close-ups of door knobs that you'd think Better Homes and Gardens Magazine was involved. The action doesn't really occur until the last third of the movie and the spiraling, shaky camera shocks are dizzying and nauseating. A straightforward action sequence would have been far more entertaining and far scarier than this unfortunate camera trick. When the Boogeyman is finally revealed, the special effects used to create him are downright laughable. They look like they belong in a movie from 1997, not 2005. I've seen better cut scenes from early 2000-era video games than this. You'd think by hiding the Boogeyman for most of the movie would be for atmospheric effect, but it's just because the monster is so incredibly computerized and cheap looking.

All of this just distracts from the movie itself, which is boring, unoriginal, and confusing. It feels like there are at least 20 other horror movies that have come out in recent years where a child experiences some horrible incident, no one believes them, and they come back as an adult to face their fears. I mean, I reviewed to movies just like that, Darkness Falls and Dead Silence. The acting is fine, no one was particularly good or bad. The house set they used was actually very good looking and should have been used in a better movie. The action sequences are decent, but there just isn't enough of them. The movie focuses more on psychological mind messing, with Tim going through closets and under beds and coming out in different places. It just doesn't work and left me feeling confused. At least they tried something different.

Watching someone watching someone. This movie just went meta.

Using the Boogeyman as the villain in a horror movie is a good idea. It can translate well to different cultures and different age groups. It can be legitimately scary and thrilling if done correctly. Unfortunately, Boogeyman is neither scary nor thrilling. The direction and camerawork are just not good and distract from the rest of the movie, which isn't that good. The story is unoriginal and the special effects are downright laughable. The acting manages to keep the movie afloat, but just barely. No need for you to check in the closet, because Boogeyman should be in the $5 DVD bin at Wal-Mart.


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