Released on June 1, 2023, “The Boogeyman” follows a grieving family who is targeted by the infamous legend. The family is composed of Sadie (Sophie Thatcher), her younger sister Sawyer (Vivian Lyra) and their father Dr. Will Harper (Chris Messina). Throughout the movie, it’s been made clear that the family is struggling with the loss of their mother figure, who died in a car accident. Now trying to move forward with their lives, the family’s unresolved feelings of grief have now become the beacon for the Boogeyman’s next target.
The movie accomplishes a suspenseful environment, playing around with the idea of darkness. The monster tends to hide in the dark, only to be seen by its two beady, white eyes. The creature also has the ability to alter its voice to whoever it wishes to in order to trick its victims. Having the heightened experience of hearing the voices and the creature’s occasional growling and clicking around the theater leaves you searching. Small attempts to try and catch a full glimpse of the creature itself adds to the viewing experience. Just when you least expect it, the creature will then strike and have viewers jumping in their seats.
The entire plot of the film surrounds itself on the unresolved trauma and feelings of grief that each family member has. Sadie is the one who seems most affected by it as we see her desperately trying to preserve her mom’s memory through keeping her painting supplies, watching old video tapes and even wearing her clothes to keep her close to her heart. Dr. Harper throws himself into his work as a psychologist, and it’s evident that he hasn’t even begun to process his emotions about losing his wife in a car accident. Sawyer, being the youngest of them all, hears stories about her mom through Sadie.
There’s mention of a previous incident that the Boogeyman had been reported being seen at. It becomes a core element in the story as it suggests that there’s a way that the creature hops between families. One of the surviving family members from the previous attack assists in the defeat of the Boogeyman itself for the Harper family.
Some elements that felt out of place with the film would be with the friend group that Sadie has at school. Not only are they unsupportive or even real friends to begin with, they are simply there for added interpersonal conflict. The one person in the friend group who presents a small amount of significance to Sadie’s character is Bethany (Madison Hu). But even she defaults back to what the other members of her friend group think of Sadie regardless. Bethany rarely takes a moment to step back and actually check in on Sadie when she’s going through something.
Overall, this movie leans heavily on the exploration of grief and the manifestation of those unexplored feelings. The darkness and flashes of light to try and uncover who lies within the dark keeps audiences in a state of suspense. The characters speak in lower volumes throughout the film that helps in an attempt to try and outsmart the creature. Given that this movie was based off of a Stephen King short story of the same name, there is a hint of that kind of otherworldly horror that comes with the creature. We are given no further context to its origins, but the omission does help with the mystery that comes with it and the exploration of the grieving theme.
Verdict: “The Boogeyman” is nothing different, but will leave you waiting and watching around in the dark for the next scare.