I recently watched the 2005 production “Boogeyman.” When it first hit theaters, I felt the need to watch it three times on the big screen. It’s still one of my favorite horror films. So, when I came across a project named “The Boogeyman” associated with Stephen King, my excitement surged. Especially when I saw Sophie Thatcher, whom I believe we’ll hear a lot about in the future, in the lead role, my enthusiasm doubled. However, unfortunately, the outcome did not live up to my excitement. In recent years, many horror films lean more toward drama than fear. They prefer to guide the audience towards the character’s suffering rather than scaring them. Conversely, the 2005 production “Boogeyman,” even though it delved into the depths of the character, demonstrated throughout that it was a horror film. Regrettably, “The Boogeyman” takes quite a while to get to the horror part.
Briefly, let’s touch upon the premise… Sadie (Sophie Thatcher) and Sawyer Harper (Vivien Lyra Blair) have lost their mother in a terrible accident. The younger of the two, living with their father, begins to claim that she sees entities in the darkness at home. Initially, the family believes that the younger sibling is going through a psychological crisis. However, as the strange occurrences in the house intensify over time, Sadie begins to believe her younger sister and sets out to investigate what’s happening.
I believe I’ve come to recognize that Sophie Thatcher, whom I met through “Yellowjackets,” is an extraordinary actress. I will most likely watch everything she’s in from now on. Sophie is by far the film’s highlight. Even though the film may not keep pace with her, it doesn’t hold her back either. In my opinion, one of the most significant merits of the film is that I enjoyed watching the lead role in a movie whose outcome left me unsatisfied. Likewise, I must mention that Vivien Lyra Blair did a fantastic job. Lastly, I need to talk about David Dastmalchian. He is a remarkable actor.
The film focuses on the grief of a family who has lost their mother in a tragic accident. We witness how the remaining family members individually confront this situation. King’s story is built around this grief, with the thematic choice of the Boogeyman emerging from the shadows to hunt vulnerable individuals. However, the drama aspect stretches out excessively. Particularly, the drama centered around Sadie becomes dominant, covering a significant portion of the story and becoming somewhat tedious at a certain point. The constant circling back to the same theme and staying predominantly in the realm of drama is a significant disadvantage for a horror film, especially given that many recent horror films already lean heavily toward drama.
“The Boogeyman” also falls into the trap of emphasizing drama, but it succeeds in the horror aspects. Horror elements often receive relatively less attention in horror films that prioritize drama. “The Boogeyman” stands out in this regard. The design of the Boogeyman and its fearless portrayal on screen are the film’s biggest strengths. While the 2005 production “Boogeyman” was filled with tension throughout, it may have hidden its creature, possibly to avoid the use of excessive effects. In contrast, despite having a relatively small storyline, “The Boogeyman” makes you realize where the $35 million budget was spent, as the effects are not cheap.
In summary, “The Boogeyman” serves as a decent popcorn horror film, but its heavy emphasis on drama is its biggest drawback. Despite having a high budget and a well-designed creature, the film could have been much better. Its excessive focus on the drama aspect slows down the pace and, at times, makes it boring. Director Rob Savage is an artist I’ll be keeping an eye on. His direction in “Host” in 2020 was one of the most successful in the horror genre. However, he seems to have remained too faithful to the source material when dealing with an adaptation, causing the horror theme to take a backseat. At the end of the day, I’m happy to have watched Sophie Thatcher, but I don’t believe it’s a horror film I’ll remember in the future.
Cast & Crew
director: Rob Savage
writers: Mark Heyman, Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, Stephen King
starring: Sophie Thatcher, Vivien Lyra Blair, Chris Messina
USA | 2023 | 99 MINUTES |