Review by Cliff Homewood
I love a Stephen King movie, for decades they’ve been pumping out good ones, as long as he’s been pumping out books, the first Carrie was 2 years after his debut novel, setting the standard. There have been duds (I’ll never forget in Sleepwalkers someone was stabbed with a cob of corn) but the standard continues, recently we’ve had Pet Semetary, IT and ahem, Firestarter, quick what was I saw saying? Yeah the quality outweighs the dregs. So where does this stand? Well perhaps the most important opinion is Stephen King’s (not mine alas!) who went as far to say “They’d be fucking stupid to release this on streaming and not in cinemas.” A positive test screening moved the film from streaming to a cinema release. The short story on which it is based is consists of the opening therapy scenes and then a ‘sequel’ is provided. The story is changed slightly but if Stephen King likes it what can I say?
The Boogeyman is directed by Rob Savage who made his name with pandemic horror hit Host. A film I found over-rated. Yes it is an effective horror once it gets going, taut, scary, everything you want a horror film to be except where was the story? Sam Raimi called Drag me to Hell a rollercoaster ride, however I expect more from Horror than just a scare ride, I felt he belittled his film with that description which better describes the work of Rob Savage.
The filmmakers take their cue from Alien and Jaws in how often the monster is seen on screen which is around 15% of the time. I agree that makes a good horror, the secret being in the dread, the fear of what’s coming. They also boast that it’s the scariest King adaptation, which may be promotional fluff but left a bad taste when you consider The Shining is regularly regarded as the best horror movie.
The film starts skittish, being somewhat of a mystery before it settles down. Acting is exemplary, you believe and identify with these people, Sophie Thatcher from Host carries the film well and Vivien Lyra Blair, who played Princess Leia in Obi Wan, impresses. The film becomes predictable, it’s all about waiting for the next scare. After an hour (the length of Host) I started to get bored.
What is it about Horror films … do people not carry torches in the house in case of a power cut? And use their phone’s torch sparingly as battery life is more important than their own? Things don’t work properly in early scenes but always perform magnificently when needed. So yep, the horror cliches are correct and present.
Like The Babadook before it is well regarded but in my opinion over-rated but hey you’re not me, so up to you if you side with me or Stephen King and whether you want scares or story. I want both.
The Boogie Boogie Man