Review by Gordon Justesen
Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Lucy Lawless
Director: Stephen Kay
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 89 Minutes
Release Date: May 31, 2005
When we were kids,
we all feared him.
A good many of us
have had experiences as a child when we were afraid to go to sleep in our own
rooms. The possibility that there may be a so-called boogeyman out to get us in
our sleep has become the biggest urban legend to exist in real life. Thus, it
has always been an ideal plot setup for a terrific fright fest.
Now, producer Sam
Raimi has taken hold of this fearful phenomenon and whipped up Boogeyman,
a frequently engaging, if not entirely successful, entry in the horror genre.
This is the second release to come from Raimi and fellow producer Rob Tapert’s
production company, Ghost House Pictures. While Boogeyman
isn’t an entirely successful picture, it’s definitely an improvement over
Ghost House’s previous offering, The
Grudge, which I wasn’t too much a fan of.
The story centers
on young businessman Tim Jensen (Barry Watson) who has lived everyday of his
life in unyielding fear. He will not dare go near any darkened room, and is
completely afraid of closets so much to the point that his apartment doesn’t
have any. A request by his girlfriend for him to get some clothes from the
closet helps to trigger a horrific memory from his past.
When he was 8 years
old, Tim watched his father die at the hands of a monstrous force lurking in his
closet. He eventually convinced himself, to a point, that it never really
happened, and telling anyone who asks that his father left him and the family
when he was little. However, his fear of the dark still remains, as Tim feels
that the boogeyman will make his return to claim him as a second victim.
Following the death
of his mother, Tim seeks advice from a therapist. She tells him that in order to
overcome the fear that has plagued him, he must return to his old home and spend
one night there. Hopefully, Tim will see to it, according to his therapist, that
his father never got taken away by the boogeyman.
Once he returns to
his childhood home, Tim seems injected with fear right from the start. A
surprise greeting from childhood friend Kate (Emily Deschanel) helps to put some
of the fright aside. Nevertheless, in every section of the house Tim walks into,
strange things start to occur.
Against his will,
Tim ventures into a closet to fix a bad light bulb, and to put his fear to rest,
only to be greeted with a brief attack from some sort of invisible force. At
this point, he feels that he’s losing his mind. Before long, he is met by a
young girl, named Franny (Skye McCole Bartusiak), who has been following him.
She is simply curious to know if the boogeyman did in fact take away his father.
There is plenty to
complement about Boogeyman. First and
foremost is the visual style of the film, courtesy of director Stephen Kay. A
good portion of the movie is shot in blue-ish greys, particularly in the scenes
where Tim is fighting off the boogeyman. It does bring a great deal of effect to
the overall movie.
The sound of the
movie is another killer element. This is one flick that knows how to trigger a
certain level of escalating fight with the simplest creaking noises, right
before delivering a big jump moment. From a technical standpoint, this is a very
well executed movie.
The only thing
keeping the movie from being a whole lot better is the limp moments in between
the scares. Essentially, the movie is about a guy facing off with a home. And
the key setup, a man’s decision to return to a place he fears most simply
because a therapist who doesn’t believe his story says it will help, requires
more faith than usual from the viewer. In addition, the ending also feels a bit
But at the same
time, this seems like one of those horror flicks that’s mostly aware that it
exists to deliver fantastic, in-your-face frights, even if the moments
surrounding them are as a simple as a plot could have them be. And with an 89
minute running time, it does go by at a decent pace. In the end, Boogeyman
is mostly a mixed bag, but it is likely to do the job right for those looking
for a good scare or three.
superb piece of DVD video courtesy of Columbia Tri Star. The anamorphic picture
is nothing short of amazing in its level of detail and overall image clarity,
with not a single flaw in sight. Colors are a huge factor in the presentation,
as that of blue, black and grey never got a better appearance. For a movie that
has an equal amount of light and dark in its sequences, it’s a most
outstanding looking presentation.
Boogeyman carries a ferocious sound, and the 5.1 mix provided on this DVD is so
effective that you may find yourself hiding under your nearest blanket in fear
of the boogeyman himself. There are many jump-moments, each of which are all the
more frightening in this sound mix. Even the more subtle areas of the movie
sound fantastic. Dialogue delivery and music playback are also extremely well
heard. Nothing but hair-raising quality to be found here.
Included on this
Special Edition release is a two part making of documentary, an alternate
ending, several deleted scenes, a glance at some visual effects progressions as
well as animatics. Lastly, there are bonus trailers including two upcoming
theatrical releases from Sony; Stealth
and The Cave, both of which look quite