Tim Jensen (Barry Watson, TV’s “Seventh Heaven) is a young man with a lot of issues. As a child, he was afraid of the dark and his bedroom closet and underneath his bed. In short, he was afraid of the “Boogeyman”. One stormy night, when he was eight, every shadow in his dark room seemed to move. Screaming, his dad came in to his room at bedtime, to help him get over his fears. He checks under his son’s bed. Nothing. He opens the closet door. Nothing. Young Tim becomes relieved. His dad reaches into his closet to turn on the light. The boogeyman grabs his hand and yanks his dad into the closet, up and down and back and forth. Until finally, his dad disappears. Fifteen years later, Tim is now living in a loft, with no walls or enclosed places and lots of lights. His girlfriend is excited that he is coming to visit her family for Thanksgiving. During the visit, Tim’s uncle calls and informs him that his mother has just passed away. Tim abruptly leaves his girlfriend’s family’s house and travels back home for the funeral. He visits the children’s psychiatric hospital that he went to after the incident. After the funeral, he decides to stay at his old house, one last time, before his uncle sells it.
“Boogeyman”, the latest film from Sam Raimi’s Production company, starts off with the very scary scene involving young Tim and his dad. After that, it quickly degenerates into a standard run of the mill “horror” flick. Or what passes for a “horror” flick these days.
As soon as Tim, as played by Barry Watson, appears, the film becomes a curious, seemingly low-budget mishmash of ideas. One of the most important things for any horror film to accomplish is to make the world in which it takes place real. A horror film could be set in another galaxy, someplace completely unknown to us (“Alien”), but if the filmmakers have made the setting seem realistic, the film will be all the more successful. Director Stephen Kay (the remake of “Get Carter” starring Sylvester Stallone) and writer Eric Kripke seem to have some definite ideas about the Boogeyman, but what we don’t get is a coherent mythology about this character. We catch a glimpse of this character a couple of times. But why is he after Tim as an adult? We catch glimpses of some of the children that the Boogeyman has claimed, but why are they trying to talk to Tim? Why are they hanging around Tim’s childhood home? There seems to be some reason for this, but it isn’t really explained. Also, the film loses consistency when Tim’s old girlfriend, Kate (Emily Deschanel) shows up. She gets embroiled in all of the goings on. But why is the Boogeyman after her?
The film also flips back and forth, pulling characters from one time period or dimension or plane or whatever, to the next. Presumably, this is supposed to allow Tim to ‘figure things out’, but it really just adds to the confusion. His current girlfriend shows up at the old family house and she and Tim flee to a little motel. Tim spies a closet in the motel room and soon enough, he is brought back to the creepy old house. Later, he is thrust back to the motel room. And back. And forth. Yawn.
All of the story problems would almost be forgiven if the film were scary. The only portion of the film that even approaches an atmosphere that might be scary is the beginning bit with the Young Tim. Everything else is predictable black-cat-jumps-out-to-illicit-a-scream type of filmmaking.
I’m giving the film too much thought. And the filmmakers didn’t give it enough thought.