Finally, a movie about a mythical creature that gets it right!
Shortly after Tim Jensen (Barry Watson) was told a creepy bedtime story, his father disappeared. While adults told him that his father had abandoned he and his mother, Tim knows the truth: the Boogeyman got him. Fifteen years later, Tim returns to his hometown to attend to the passing of his mother (Lucy Lawless), only to discover that he isn’t alone in his beliefs. To his horror, Tim also learns there’s only one way to stop it and only one person who can: him.
Almost everyone that began life as a child initially harbored a fear the darkness in the closet, the draft under the bed, and the creepy shapes that their imagination creates of things laying about in an unkept room. But hey, what if they’re right and something IS crouched down ready to pounce on them while their sleeping? Boogeyman not only effectively recreates these fears but personifies them in a way that doesn’t undermine them, then manages to solve the problem in a clever way and demonstrates its effectiveness. Amazingly, this is all managed with a PG-13 rating, and that works very well for the kind of story being told here.
Without giving any plot away, the Boogeyman is more concept than creature, but his intent and abilities are well known: lurking in the darkness, hiding in closets and under beds, and able to spring from anywhere to get you when you’re not looking (sadly, the assumed method of protecting oneself pulling a sheet over your head doesn’t work as well as we’d hoped). The film takes this one step further by allowing our hero (and the audience) into a glimpse of how “the man” goes about his diabolical business. It’s a little hard to follow at first, but it makes a twisted kind of sense that, once you get it, you’ll be as impressed with yourself as well as how the effect is used in the movie.
A virtually nameless cast carries the film while a New Zealand location mimics a sleepy American country town; in fact, the most recognizable cast member is the 69′ Mustang the hero drives. The lack of star power helps shine the light on the story and its title creature, and the lack of music in place of creepy sound effects only enhances the mood (and, thankfully, there’s a lot less “loud sound, false scare ” use in this movie than in many wishful thrillers). Boogeyman manages to make you do what films like Jeepers Creepers and Darkness Falls wouldn’t let you do: believe.
(a three and a half skull recommendation out of four)