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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

The Boogyman - A Poignant Haunt Marred by Familiar Tropes

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Released 06-30-2023

Watched 07-02-2023

Reviewed 07-03-2023

Viewed in Theater - Using Cinemark Movie Club

"They called it The Boogeyman. Yeah. That's how I used to look at them. Like they were crazy. I found out the hard way I was wrong. Likes to play with its food, scare them to death"

"The Boogyman" (2023), based on a short story by Stephen King, aims to intertwine horror and raw human emotions into a deeply layered narrative. Directed by Rob Savage attempts to marry the horror genre with an emotional drama. It tells the tale of high school student Sadie Harper (Sophie Thatcher) and her younger sister Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair), both of whom are struggling to cope with the loss of their mother. Their father, Will (Chris Messina), a therapist, is equally mired in grief. When an unexpected patient arrives at their home, a sinister entity is unleashed that preys upon the family, feeding off their sorrow.

The premise of "The Boogyman" is nothing new to the horror genre. It revolves around the sinister figure of the Boogeyman and how its terror affects the characters in the movie. What sets this film apart is its allegorical nature, where the Boogeyman represents the suffocating, overwhelming, and at times monstrous form of grief.

The acting is commendable, with characters portraying a range of emotions that helps in maintaining engagement throughout the movie. The pacing is just right, not too slow to become tedious, and not too fast to lose coherence. However, the film does not innovate or break new ground within its genre, sticking to familiar tropes and settings. This might leave some horror enthusiasts yearning for something fresher.

For those who have recently experienced a loss - be it a spouse, parent, or child - a word of caution. "The Boogyman" does not shy away from the depiction of raw grief, and this is where it hits hardest. The jumpscares, though effective, are not the primary source of the film's horror. It is the relentless and unforgiving portrayal of loss and mourning that makes it a difficult watch for those with fresh wounds.

Moreover, while the allegorical elements of grief were potent, they weren’t consistently executed, and at times felt forced into the conventional horror narrative.

In conclusion, "The Boogyman" is an honest effort to blend horror with an emotional narrative. Its strength lies in its representation of grief, but this very aspect can be a double-edged sword for the audience. For the ones seeking traditional horror, it might come across as mundane. For those sensitive to emotional distress, it might be overwhelming. It's worth watching if you appreciate the blending of genres, but it's unlikely to be hailed as a classic in either horror or drama.

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