Movie Review

The Boogeyman (2023)

3.5/5

Movies usually don’t depict gruesome murders of children so I didn’t think The Boogeyman (2023) would be a faithful adaptation of the Night Shift’s Stephen King short story. Color me surprised when I realized it was. In like the first minute. The short story was about a father of three, a real shit person, who tells a psychiatrist that he is responsible for the deaths of his three children because he feared that if he protected them, they might turn out gay. It was written in the 70s.

The dad, who is more sympathetic here, is played by David Dastmalchian who I first remember seeing in The Dark Knight and I never forgot his face after that. He, and the short story (which is even quote verbatim) is the starting point. The film is about the psychiatrist (Chris Messina) and his family’s battle with the boogeyman. He has two daughters and a recently dead wife; one is a teenager (Sophie Thatcher), the other in elementary school (Vivien Lyra Blair).

The Boogeyman (2023)
The Boogeyman (2023)

The teenager is our main protagonist as she tries to find out what’s terrorizing her little sister while having a distant grief-stricken father and a bunch of really shitty friends. Sophie Thatcher shines in the part and carries the film with ease. All the other cast members are good, too, and well directed by Rob Savage. Rob made a small budgeted horror flick a couple years back that I truly liked, Host (2020), so I’m happy his talent transfers with a bigger budget.

I also really enjoyed The Boogeyman. It looks great, has some great thrills and the creature is genuinely scary. I didn’t expect it to be good, a mixture of being jaded by too many schlocky Hollywood horror and bad attempts at adapting Stephen King’s horror works, plus the film shares a name with one of horror’s worst trilogies (Boogeyman (2005) and its sequels).

King’s short story worked well as a jumping point and was done well with fantastic writers. The film has three screenwriters, a duo that wrote A Quiet Place (2018) and Mark Heyman, who wrote Black Swan (2010). There is a lot of talent here and it shines through.

The Boogeyman (2023)
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