The Boogeyman is directed by Rob Savage and stars Chris Messina, Sophie Thatcher, and Vivien Lyra Blair. A patient shows up at a grieving therapist’s house and leaves the boogeyman, a monstrous creature who feeds on sad children, to terrorize the therapist’s two daughters.
At its best, The Boogeyman attempts to be a metaphor about grief and pain. After the off-screen death of the family’s wife and mother, Messina ably portrays the therapist who is competent at talking about everyone’s emotions but his own. He is a father unable to communicate to his daughters, and the two young girls are left to fend for themselves, even though the film only scantly portrays their grief. In this set-up the boogeyman fills in the gaps of that communication
All of the character-centric elements are good, and the moments when the acting takes center stage are the best parts of the film. However, much of the film goes to the same well of scares too many times. The runtime is comprised mostly of people slowly walking down hallways. Jump scares and foreboding red eyes appearing behind the characters are the same tricks that feel tired and overstay their welcome by the end of the film. If you cut out people walking down the hallways, this movie would be fifteen minutes long
Stephen King’s fans will recognize that the film bears almost no resemblance to the short story that shares its name. There are a few King tropes, particularly in the interactions between Thatcher’s character, the older of the two daughters, and her classmates; King has a signature kind of bullying that his young characters engage in. Beyond that, King’s influence is absent from The Boogeyman.
The Boogeyman has a good idea and some strong performances, but ultimately, too much time is spent on horror movie clichés that become repetitive and overly familiar to horror fans.