Boogeyman (2005)

After all the recent horror movies with twists at the end, it's nice to see some real monsters for a change. Boogeyman isn't completely free of Crappy Horror Syndrome: it's still guilty of using the tired old one-character-is-secretly-dead technique, way too much CGI and has a massively overblown budget, but it still fares better than most of the others of its ilk.

Tim (Barry Watson) is, ostensibly, a thoroughly successful twenty-something. He has a high-flying career and a beautiful girlfriend (Tory Mussett), even if she is the most sarcastic woman alive. Beneath the surface, however, Tim is a seething mess of issues: ever since he was a kid, he's been afraid of closets. Or, more specifically, the boogeyman, a shadowy creature who lives in dark corners just waiting for the opportunity to attack. When Tim was 8, his father got attacked and, presumably, killed by the boogeyman, though everyone else thinks he just ran off. Avoiding the spooky old house where he grew up seems to have worked as a coping strategy for the last fifteen years, but now it's Thanksgiving and his mother's dead, Tim feels the need to abandon the Sarcasmatron to her family celebrations and go play in his old bedroom.

Once there, Tim meets old friend Kate (Emily Deschanel) and spooky kid Franny (Skye McCole Bartusiak), and gains the ability to time travel and get attacked by coat hangers. There's one moment of pure terror when Xena (Lucy Lawless) turns up as Tim's mother and moves way faster than any old woman should ever be allowed to, but it's all downhill from there. A twist ending might even have improved this movie. There were plenty of clues: Tim's time-slippage, his complete inability to talk like a normal person, his preoccupation with small girls; everything led to the logical conclusion that he was a nutjob. Instead, we're treated to a White Noise style showdown between personality-challenged hero and spooky-ooky black swirly ghosts. Note to filmmakers: saving the big reveal of your baddie till the last minute is a good move, but it only pays off when the baddie is actually scary. The boogeyman was laughable. I wouldn't even jump if my wardrobe swung open right now.


It's probably a good thing it didn't, though.

Even having Sam Raimi's name vaguely attached to this doesn't make it any better (see also: The Grudge). The defeat of the boogeyman is more than slightly painful, and, in hindsight, the entire plot makes less than no sense. Where did the boogeyman come from? Tim's fight vaguely implied that destroying the signifiers of the monster (and wow, it's a good job that no-one tidied your bedroom in fifteen years, dude) defeated it -- that, and opening the goddamn window and letting the sun shine on your face. I'm sorry, was that symbolism? I didn't recognise it, disfigured as it was under such a vast quantity of ejaculatory fluid -- so did Tim create it? Or his father? What was it doing to its victims? Why did it only kill the people Tim cared about instead of Mr Whiny himself? What about all the other children it preyed on? The scene where all the green children crowd around Tim was another scene that screamed paedophile to me more than anything else, but perhaps I'm reading too much into it. BANG! Oh no! Oooh, pretty colours. Shiny.

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