Manuel São Bento
MORE SPOILER-FREE MINI-REVIEWS @ www.msbreviews.com/movie-reviews/mini-reviews-2023-edition "The Boogeyman quickly becomes one of my favorite horror flicks of this year! It won't leave any viewers used to these formulaic stories surprised, but director Rob Savage tremendously elevates a film that would otherwise fall into oblivion once the end credits started rolling. Creative, clever build-ups for truly suspenseful sequences, as well as efficient jumpscares that I haven't experienced in a long time. But the cast is essential to the success of this movie. I've no words to describe how impressive Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, and Vivien Lyra Blair (11 years old!) are. Absolutely outstanding performances! For fans of the genre. Definitely see it at the cinema!" Rating: B+
Oh well, I suppose I was being overly optimistic in expecting anything different from this. The "Harper" family are still grieving after the death of the wife/mother and with each struggling to deal with this aftermath the father (Chris Messina), elder daughter "Sadie" (Sophie Thatcher) and the younger one "Sawyer" (Vivien Lyra Blair) are all just drifting along. When dad "Will", who is a therapist, gets a visit from "Billings" (the always slightly sinister looking David Dastmalchian) and then a few pots of mother's paint get spilled, it becomes clear that the eponymous creature is out to capitalise on their familial misery. Can the family realise the peril they are in in time to thwart it's evil intentions? Could the beastie do us all a favour and just come for the audience first? To be fair there are a few jump points, but otherwise this is a really dialogue heavy, family melodrama that focusses way to much on the who's neglecting/loving/hating whom and nowhere near enough on trying to create something original and/or scary. It may well be based on a Stephen King short story but that doesn't mean it has the credentials to stretch into one hundred minutes of pretty mediocre storytelling and acting. The lack of light works to a certain extent, but after a while it appears (or not) to be all that the film is relying upon to create any sense of jeopardy. I suppose the moral of the story might be: always keep a set of portable Christmas lights handy? Halloween television fodder only, sorry.
I've watched a couple of former cinematic takes on Stephen Kings Boogeyman novel and this is by far, the worst. The real issue lies, in what can best be described, as the treatment of the tale of the cruel, child stalking creature, that potentially lives in every closet. Its tone is obsessively analysing, of the dysfunctional family dynamic, to the point of neurosis. Yes, grieving families don't work too well, unsurprisingly. The less than optimistic over statement of this fact, overtakes the actual horror story. This, in turn, renders this film, too dark and too depressing, for its own good. The results a predictable, not terribly enjoyable watch, that left this reviewer feeling a little washed out and disappointed. In summary, the too dark and maudlin treatment, robs this film of the glimmer of hope, that lies at the heart of any half decent, horror film.
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