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The Boogeyman

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Proof yet again that adapting a great Stephen King short story into a feature length film can be a tricky proposition, THE BOOGEYMAN offers tepid scares.

Chris Messina (Argo) stars as recently widowed therapist Will Harper. His teenage daughter Sadie (Sophie Thatcher) is wrestling with the loss of her mom, shutting herself off from the world.

Her young sister Sawyer, well played by Vivien Lyra Blair (young Princess Leia in Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi"), is terrified of the dark at night. Every dark corner of her room seems to hold some unknown terror.

When her closet door bursts open and something rushes under her bed, Sawyer doesn't run screaming for her Dad. No! Obeying the laws of cliche horror films, she peeks under her bed from both sides as the camera slowly tracks to her point of view.

Then she just calmly walks down to her sister's room and tells her "there's something in my room." Huh. Really?

The film could have used a lot more of David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad) as the mystery patient that introduces Will to the night terrors. He's creepy, elusive and makes a hell of an impression during his brief time on screen.

As the thing in her closet gets more aggressive, it begins chasing Will and Sadie too. Kind of. A chase would imply something that moves quickly. Very little about THE BOOGEYMAN moves quickly. You can feel the creaks and groans of the short story as it's stretched into a 98 minute running time that feels much longer.

Director Rob Savage brings very little to the table, save a couple clever camera shots that play with perspective and lighting. If he wanted to have something spooky hanging from the ceiling waiting to pounce, he should have watched Ari Aster's brilliant film "Hereditary", which has more style, scares and suspense in any five minutes of it's entirety than Savage can manage here in total.

The rules of how and when The Boogeyman can be seen, what he can do and how to beat him seem very undefined and after awhile, I started to think about how much scarier this could have been.

Stephen King knows how to scare people.

If only Savage and his team did, this could have been something.

More Dastmalchian as Lester Billings and backstory on his character and family could have really fleshed this out.


THE BOOGEYMAN only scares up a C-.

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