by George Wolf
You see that a new horror flick is PG-13, and you might begin making some assumptions.
There will be jump scares, some dream sequence fake-outs, maybe a conveniently placed box ‘O clues. It’s hard to blame you for these expectations, and The Boogeyman does little to upend them.
Therapist Dr. William Harper (Chris Messina) recently lost his wife in a car accident. His teenage daughter Sadie (Yellowjackets‘ Sophie Thatcher) is withdrawing, while his younger one, Sawyer (supercute Vivien Lyra Blair from Bird Box and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series), has developed a strong fear of the dark.
And just when the family is trying to get back into some sort of routine, the troubled Lester Billings (David Dastmalchian) crashes the Dr.’s office with a wild claim.
Lester didn’t kill his three kids like the cops are claiming. A monster did it. A monster that lives in the darkness. A monster that follows you to places like home offices.
Writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods help adapt a Stephen King short story with little of the tension or thrills that drove their script for A Quiet Place. Director Rob Savage (Host) has some visual fun with Sawyer’s round nite lite rolling through dark spaces, but it isn’t long before the familiar beats, questionable internal logic and middling creature effects bog the film’s 98 minutes down in tedium.
The cast (including Marin Ireland as a battle-weary Mrs. Billings) is strong and willing, but the darkened playground of The Boogeyman is only for the scaredy-est of cats. And for horror fans wanting another PG-13 gem like The Ring, or a grief metaphor as deeply felt as The Babadook, the long wait just gets longer.