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Monday, February 14, 2005

The Boogeyman

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Click to enlargeIn the last few months, we have seen the resurgence of the Horror genre. One of the most recent films to hit the theaters has been the unexpected high grossing film, The Boogeyman staring Barry Watson as a troubled young man haunted with memories of the Boogeyman as a child. The movie, directed by Stephen T. Kay, while filled with shock thrills and moments, lacks on substance and plot.

Tim Jensen is a young man haunted by the memories of his father being taken into the closet and killed by the Boogeyman when he was a small child. After growing up and seeking psychological help, he has entered into a relationship with a new girlfriend and is trying to move on with his life. No one is ever able to explain the disappearance of his father, other than saying he just left, and as a result of being sent to a mental hospital when young, Jensen looses contact with his family. It is only after the death of his mother that he seeks to return to the place of his childhood to rehash many of the issues of conflict still haunting him from when he was a young boy. Along the journey, he is reminded by various episodes of the reality of the Boogeyman but along the journey has difficulty determining the difference between reality and hallucination.

Upon arrival to his old home he comes across an old fling, Kate, played by Emily Deschanel who has little impact in the plot or storyline. The plot only becomes more confused with each character and location visited during the movie. All through out, we are shocked and frightened, yet, I found myself thinking about how dumb the movie was. I can’t think of a much more appropriate way of saying it, but The Boogeyman is filled with some of the dumbest characters and most predictable plot twists to come along in a long time.

Click to enlargeOne of the things I hate is a movie where the characters seem to never learn anything. Assuming that the horror portrayed in this movie was realistic, I don’t think I would ever walk into a closet or, peek under a bed, if the things that happens to the lead character had happened to me. After awhile you begin to think that the character deserves every thing he gets, after all, how many times does he have to be almost killed after walking into a closet before he learns to stay away from closets. One of the benefits I believe of horror is the lessons that we as a viewer can learn and apply, unfortunately we don’t learn much of anything if anything at all from this movie.

Along the way, there is a child that comes into the story. The young girl seems to give some insight as to who the Boogeyman is and what it is one has to do to escape the curse of The Boogeyman. Even here though, the story is predictable, and nothing new is offered.

I have had long discussions in the past as to the value of fright features that are often involved in horror. There is actually excellent commentary as to the human need for this on the special features of the newly released DVD of The Grudge. The reality of it though is that outside of the thrill ride of being shocked, similar to someone jumping out from behind the door to scare you, there is little of value in this movie. I found myself not caring for the characters and thought that the movie tried to mirror some of the techniques currently coming out of Japan but fell far short from being successful in its efforts.

There is virtually no effort to distinguish the difference between good and evil in this movie, a trait that often times makes the horror genre enjoyable. Instead we see evil, against the individual who has little help or conscious. Many open-ended story lines are sure to open the movie itself up to a sequel. Hopefully if/and when those sequels come along there will be more of an effort to develop the characters of the story as well as incorporate a contrast to the evil presented in the film. Without some measure of hope, I personally find the horror form rather disturbing. If asking the right questions the disturbing concept behind horror can still be of value, but when scaring someone just for the sake of scaring them is the purpose, which I believe is the case in The Boogeyman, then I have little value for the form.

Just my two cents worth, by the way there is a little hepilogue at the end of the movie credits that you might want to stick around for that gives an assurance of the intent for a sequel.

On a scale of 1 – 10, a very disappointing and disturbing 2.

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