Judge Patrick Naugle suggests you put on your boogie shoes and boogie far, far away from this movie. Be careful not to step in any moose dung.
You thought it was just a story…but it's real!
On one hand, I'm thankful that the late '90s Scream-knockoff fad is officially over. You know what I mean; horror movies like Urban Legends, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Valentine cluttered theaters with their self-mocking style that was the antithesis of what a good fright flick should be. Unfortunately, we're now in what I'd call the "PG-13" stage—horror movies watered down (The Ring, The Grudge) so your 12-year old brother Billy can get in to see 'em, too.
Boogeyman follows this long downward slope of goreless scares, care of Sony Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
When Tim Jensen (Barry Watson, star of TV's 7th Heaven) thought the Boogeyman lived in his closet, his father dismissed it as childish fears. Then Tim's father was swallowed up by the Boogeyman, propelling Tim into a lifetime of closet phobias. Flash forward years later, and a now grown-up Tim returns to his childhood home after his mother (a heavily made-up Lucy Lawless) passes away to discover that the Boogeyman is alive and well and still terrifying small children. Tim reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, Kate (Emily Deschanel, The Alamo), and with her help he will find himself face to face one last time with the terror that lives under the bed…and inside your closets!
"Boogeyman sucks buffalo gonads."
Those words danced around my head like a drunken ballerina during this film's 89-minute running time. You are, at the moment, reading the words of an angry DVD critic. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm monumentally angry. I am angry at the actors, writers, and directors. I'm angry at the crowds who propelled this movie to #1 at the box office. I am angry at Sam Raimi—the same man who directed the now-classic Evil Dead films, for crissake!—for producing the dull, lifeless, and shoddy turd known as Boogeyman.
I hated this movie. I mean, I loathed it with every bone in my being. I think my hating it had more to do with being angry over these damn PG-13 horror movies that studios have been churning out at an alarming rate (so, poor Boogeyman gets the brunt of my built-up steam). Not only that, no one seems to be reading the screenplays for these types of movies. Had anyone with an IQ higher than an orangutan read Eric Kripke, Juliet Snowden, and Stiles White's banal, nonsensical script for Boogeyman, he'd have understood that (a) none of it makes sense, (b) it's flat-out boring, and (c) it's nearly unfilmable.
That's right, I'm going to tell you what happens in this movie. Why? Because I don't want you to waste nearly an hour and a half of your life watching a movie that houses the intellectual equivalent of moose poop.
Flash forward nearly 90 minutes: The movie ends with the Boogeyman character showing himself in all his flaccid, cheesecake glory. He is comprised of very poorly rendered CGI (think The Mummy Returns, if it were made in 1990) and looks like a homeless version of the Emperor from Star Wars Episode III, only less threatening. Where did he come from? Why is he here? Damned if I know. The writers of the film never bother to explain what the Boogeyman is, his place of origin, or why he's terrorizing little children. I'm sorry, but you simply cannot take an innocuous children's bedtime story, make it into a movie, and do nothing to explain why you're wasting the viewer's precious time.
Yet that's not the worst part about Boogeyman. For nearly nine-tenths of the movie, viewers are subjected to what seemed like eight dozen shots of star Barry Watson looking into closets, creeping up stairs, watching lights flicker, listening to strange sounds, touching doorknobs, peeking into empty rooms…this goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on. It made me so antsy that I began pushing the fast forward button on my remote…and I still missed nothing! The filmmakers forgot a cardinal rule of making a horror movie: it has to be scary. Let's be honest—lights flickering on and off are not scary. All that amounts to is a weekend project that includes a trip to the Home Depot.
Star Barry Watson makes me long for the days of watching old home videos of my Uncle Donald, and he was a paraplegic who spent sixty-five years inside an iron lung. The rest of the cast isn't even worth mentioning—the bulk of the movie belongs to Barry and his vacant gaze. (Director: "Okay Barry, you see a ghost!" Barry: "How about I just stare at it and look sexy?" Director: "Well, it works for you on 7th Heaven. Go for it!") Director Stephen Kay (who also helmed the cruddy Sylvester Stallone remake Get Carter) spends most of the time on low-flying shots of Barry walking, close-ups that have no context, and flashbacks filled with fuzzy corners and giggling, absent children. Boogeyman spends too much time going nowhere, and by the time it gets somewhere, you've washed your hands clean of the film.
Words cannot express pathetically bad this movie is. Please hear me: I absolutely love horror movies. I have tons of them in my collection, and go out of my way to watch even the crappiest of the lot. That being said, believe me when I tell you that Boogeyman is, hands down, one of the worst big-budget horror movies ever produced by a major studio. Shame on everyone involved with this turkey.
Boogeyman is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. If nothing else, Sony has made sure that the video transfer for this film looks great. The colors and black levels (of which there are a lot) are all solid and well defined. There isn't much in the way of dirt, grain, or other imperfections that would otherwise mar the image. Overall, the picture is bright and clear—it will most certainly please fans of the film. Both of them.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English and French. Much like the video transfer, the 5.1 mix is also very good. Though the bulk of the film's scares consist of blowing wind, humming lights, and slamming doors, at least they're in surround sound! All aspects of the mix are free of any hiss or distortion. English, Chinese and French subtitles are included.
If and when you do actually watch this stinker, and feel you haven't had enough punishment, there are a few extra features for you to suffer through. A two-part "The Making of Boogeyman" is a documentary that plays more like a promotional spot for the film. Stars and crew members talk to the camera, but Lucy "Xena: Warrior Princess" Lawless (wife of Robert Tapert, the film's producer) prattles on endlessly while viewers are given minimal behind-the-scenes shots.
Also included on this disc are 13 minutes of deleted scenes, an alternate ending that still makes no sense, four very short special effects montages that show the progression of the effects crew's work on the film, and theatrical trailers for various Sony movies and DVDs.
Ugh. I'm normally more than happy to sit through even the worst horror movie, but Boogeyman tried both my patience and my narcoleptic skills. It's been a long time since I've said this, but avoid this movie at all costs.
I've changed diapers that contained more enjoyable content than Boogeyman.
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Scales of Justice
• Documentary: "The Making of Boogeyman"
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