Movie Review | The Boogieman (2023)

There are perfectly good reasons as to why people are perpetually scared of the dark, and I don't just mean children. In The Boogeyman, we get to re-explore these reasons. You get to do that here as an adult because you wouldn’t dream of throwing this film on a kid. It just wouldn't be right. 

Spirits persecuting grieving loved ones who had someone close to them pass away may seem a bit worn out, but it’s fertile ground for the taking when we are talking boogeyman. This rendition of the boogeyman is not any less scary than the ones that came before it. It might be scarier. And just like boogeymen of yesteryear, this one - inspired by Stephen King - exploits slow-to-come-around-to-believing parents, much to the frustration of audiences.  

Early on, we are introduced to a fractured family of a father and two daughters who are trying to put the pieces back together again after the death of their mother (Shauna Rappold - Deep Water, 2022). Their oldest daughter, portrayed by Sophie Thatcher, "Sadie" (The Book of Boba Fett, 2022) and her much younger sister, "Sawyer" (Vivien Lyra Blair - We Can Be Heroes, 2020), are struggling with the loss in their separate ways. The two begin to fall victim to the malice of the resident creature of darkness after her father's (Chris Messina - Argo, 2012) encounter with a previous victim in his psychiatry practice one uneventful day. The struggle behind it all is made worse as the three grapple with their own hidden demons while attempting to rescue themselves from the literal nightmare of a creature they begin to encounter. 

The Boogeyman has a profoundly efficient way of combining well-crafted characters with a legitimately earned sense of tension that follows the movie all the way through. The dialog is subtly impactful and no time is wasted in delivery or scene setup. Add to this, all supporting performances in this film are a smash. 

And no matter how fervently we want to accuse family members of not behaving the way we think they should when confronted with an aggressive demon in poorly lit places in homes, we can't help but remind ourselves of the fact that we have no idea how we would react if in a similar situation! And this is partly why The Boogeyman earns its stripes as one of the more respectable horror flicks of 2023. 

Whereas a simple LED flashlight would at first seem to have been the solution to every haunting problem in this entire movie, the boogeyman is dang good at wiping out lightbulbs and circuits to kill the power when it wants to. As I always say, it’s good when evil hell beasts of various kinds can be vanquished right along the same time as when the movie's characters experience their emotional breakthroughs. 

Transitioning into the late/midway act, we start to lose interest a little, but it soon picks right back up again prior to the film's final act. And while there isn't much new here, we've said it already: The Boogieman is a satisfying investment of your horror movie-watching time.

While The Boogeyman astutely satisfies our appetite for horror, it also tackles multiple struggles at once, including parenthood, school drama, forgiveness, communication, and personal growth. Director Rob Savage (Host, 2020 - Dawn of the Deaf, 2016), along with talented writers Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, and Mark Heyman (known for their contributions to A Quiet Place, 2018 and Black Swan, 2010) have gifted moviegoers with a solid viewing experience, one that weaves fear into a tapestry of the mind in the same way that a pastry chef puts those cute little bows on the tops of cakes you buy for half off at your local grocery store.