Long ago, when DVDs were the best quality display of films and TV shows, I actually bought this movie without seeing it beforehand – and it was also 1 of a few DVDs that I traded into cash converters within a year or 2 of purchase. Recently, ITV4 showed it in HD, so for some strange reason, I decided to watch it again to remind myself why I traded that DVD in to begin with. So lets dive right into it.
When I was growing up, unlike some kids in a vast variety of cultures – I didn’t know what the Boogeyman was until I heard the name in the Simpsons episode “$pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)”. So my memory of the Boogeyman as a child was of Lisa frightening Homer by telling him her bad dream. A priceless moment that I still laugh at today, mostly due to how Homer reacts. However, the “Boogeyman rule” or concept perhaps didn’t exclude Morbius from Spiderman, Beast from Beauty & The Beast (from a picture/audio book, not the Disney Movie) and numerous monsters from the Nickelodeon show “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?” (If you were a ’90s kid and watched this, you’ll know that some of those episodes were pretty messed up).
One thing you learn about different horror movie creatures is that they all have specific characteristics in the form of their actions and the ways in which they could be defeated, such as how Vampires drink blood and live forever but will be cremated alive if they are exposed to the sun, or how Kryptonite weakens Superman. Even the Boogeyman has rules, such as only going after naughty children, or children who don’t go to sleep when they should. Also the Boogeyman has no definitive form that everyone can identify, and like in Monsters Inc, it would appear as everything that would scare the individual the most. Now that I’ve mentioned all of this, I can tell you straight out…This movie is not about the Boogeyman.
Our story begins with the main character Tim Jensen (played by real-life Anime lookalike Pretty Boy Barry Watson as an adult), who witnesses his father’s disappearance in his own room, when the Boogeyman drags him into the closet, and he is never seen again. One thing you’ll notice is that this is already breaking a major rule about the character of the Boogeyman…It basically kills an adult…also it is clear that despite his poor attempts at sleeping, Tim is actually quite a nice kid, who would be sleeping if his father didn’t tell him the story of the Boogeyman to begin with. So why would the Boogeyman go after him? It doesn’t make any sense.
After the Boogeyman (maybe) killed his father, Tim appears to be a normal guy who has many things going for him. Around the time our Adult Tim’s story starts, he’s off to meet the parents of his girlfriend Jessica. However it appears that Tim isn’t as ‘normal’ as he seems, as he is a man who is afraid of closets and the dark, and he likes to sleep with the light on. The only justification that his girlfriend doesn’t know about his problem is the fact that he turns the light off before she enters the room…I wonder how long it he could keep that up. After having a bit of a trip where his girlfriend turned into his mother looking dead, he receives a phone call telling him that his mother had just passed away. After the funeral he goes back to the children’s mental hospital, where he is basically told by the Doctor, “Tim, you’re a grown man, and if this childhood fear still bothers you after 15 years, I suggest you spend a night in ‘that house’ and overcome it.” Why he didn’t do this before, we might never know.
So Tim arrives back at the Victorian House where he lived with his Dad and Xena: Warrior Princess, and here is where some of the troubles seem to begin (If they didn’t already begin after the opening credits). The boogeyman basically tries to frighten him during the day, by blowing the wind in the house and having women whispering quietly around him. As scary as this might be in an actual haunted house, it doesn’t work here. Why? Because the Boogeyman is not a ghost! Nor is the Boogeyman a Haunted House! It’s “Fear in the closet or under the bed” that comes out in the dark when you’re a naughty kid who doesn’t sleep”! It has a serious identity crisis, trying to be much more than what it really is. Oh, and Emily Deschanel (Dr Temperance Brennan in Bones) has a small role in this as a childhood friend of Tim’s.
As you might be able to tell, this is like watching the worst of M. Night Shyamalan. Once you apply rules or structure or logic to the film, it will completely collapse, even from the world’s gentlest poke to the arm. The holes in the plot can rival a sponge. The loose ends are beyond many. There is no justification to anything. How Tim defeats the Boogeyman is as stupid as that scene from IT where the kid escaped by naming every type of bird he could remember. The CGI was okay for 2005. The Boogeyman itself, though the character design would be scary, could have looked better with make-up rather than CGI. The acting was alright, as good as a lot of horror movies out there. The characters were underdeveloped and 1 dimensional. The music was fine in places. Instead of building suspense, the film relies very heavily on jump scares and fast editing, and the story is so bad that I’ve heard it has a decent sequel.
Judging from the producers (1 of them being Evil Dead director Sam Raimi) you would have hoped for something much better, and keep in mind this film had 4 writers working on it! Considering it’s good to bounce off ideas and ask questions that would eventually tighten the quality, how could it have messed up so bad?! Also, while Stephen Kay is quite prolific as a TV director, his only other movie directing credit is the Sly Stallone remake of Get Carter (Which was pig vomit compared to the original Michael Caine film). Also, sad to say, the actress who played the little girl Fanny, Skye McCole Bartusiak died at the age of 21 just over a month ago today. Thankfully she has appeared in better movies than this to be remembered by, and that includes Mel Gibson’s The Patriot…as weird as that sounds.
To be honest, you would get more from watching a Friday The 13th or Nightmare On Elm Street sequel than this. Might I also recommend a Terribly Good Syfy movie? Yes, I would go there as well.
Overall Rating: -** out of 5 stars