Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Boogeyman a.k.a. “Boogey Man”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of horror and terror/violence, and some partial nudity

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
STAFF WRITER

Very Offensive
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Suspense Horror Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
2005
USA Release:
February 4, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Lucy Lawless, Robyn Malcolm
Director: Stephen T. Kay
Producer: Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert
Distributor: Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Screen Gems

Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

What is the Occult? Answer

“You thought it was a just a story… but it’s real.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Set in Chicago, the story tells the haunting tale of a young man traumatized by memories of terrible events he experienced in his childhood bedroom and who, years later, reluctantly returns home to face his fears of a monstrous entity that could be real or merely a figment of his imagination.”

Review

“Thou shalt not nede to be afrayed for eny bugges by night.” (Psalm 91:5, Coverdale Translation, 1535)

In the above verse, where the King James Version reads “terror by night,” Coverdale used the plural of the Middle English word “bugge,” which alternately meant “scarecrow” or “demon” and from which we get the words “bugbear,” “bugaboo,” and “bogeyman” or “boogeyman,” all meaning a “frightening thing.”

However, cheesy its execution, the message of the film Boogeyman is just the opposite of the Scripture passage: that you DO need to be afraid, because the boogeyman is REAL.

Young Tim Jensen experienced the normal fears of something lurking in the closet or under his bed. And it didn’t help that his father (Charles Mesure) told him stories about the Boogeyman. One night, as Tim is paralyzed with fear and sees objects in his room coming to life, Dad comes in to reassure him. But when Dad checks the closet, he’s violently sucked away by something inside it, and is never seen again.

Forward fifteen years. Adult Tim (Barry Watson) has a good job and a girlfriend, Jessica (Tory Mussett). But he spent many years in psychiatric treatment. Of course no one believed his story of how his father disappeared, and the consensus was that it was just his way of coping with desertion. Tim’s apartment is specially-designed with no dark corners. No closets. A transparent-glass-front refrigerator. The doors removed from the cupboards. His bed set directly on the floor, with no crawl space. Nowhere for the Boogeyman to hide.

Forced to visit Jessica’s parents for Thanksgiving, Tim is forced out of his comfort zone. His guest bedroom (which Jessica plans to sneak into and join him later that night) DOES have a closet. AND the bed is on legs. Tim copes as best he can. Jessica does sneak in, in a tank top and panties, gets in bed with Tim and they begin to snuggle. But without warning, Jessica morphs into Tim’s mother (Lucy Lawless). After Mom gives Tim a warning to the effect that he “can’t run from it,” she turns back into Jessica. A moment later, Tim gets a cell phone call that his mother has just died.

The rest of the film is formulaic. Tim goes to his mother’s funeral, then is advised by his childhood psychiatrist to spend one night in the old house in order to banish his fears once and for all. He meets Kate (Emily Deschanel), a neighbor and childhood friend with whom he still has some obvious romantic chemistry. He also meets Franny (Skye McCole Bartusiak), a young girl who has Boogeyman issues of her own.

Character development and plot logic are minimal, since the primary object here is hitting the audience with jump scene after jump scene. The scary music is almost constant. And neither Tim nor anyone else seems prone to turning on the lights in the old house.

While in that house, Tim relives some of his painful childhood memories, including the time when his father shut him up in a closet in order to prove to him that the Boogeyman wasn’t real. But the weirdest stuff happens in the present. I use “present” in a conditional sense, because it turns out that closets are tickets to both space travel (a la Monsters Inc., but not INTENTIONALLY played for comedy) and time travel, and the line between fantasy and reality becomes increasingly blurred.

Profanity is so light as to be almost unnoticeable. Less than a dozen occurrences, all mild.

There’s no outright sexual activity, but Tim and Jessica kiss many times, it’s obvious that they’re lovers, and they’d have had sex on more than one occasion within the story if the supernatural hadn’t kept getting in the way. We see Jessica undressing and getting into the tub, but the camera angles avoid explicit nudity. Later, as the Boogeyman materializes in the tub water (now mixed with sludge) and “takes” Jessica, he holds her aloft, nude, but the scene moves so fast that it’s not possible to tell exactly what we see. Nevertheless, this strange sequence amounts to occult sexual violence.

The overall violence is not extreme in its visuals; but the mixture of violence, gore and contrived scares is certainly not for the young nor the faint of heart. And although the violence isn’t constant, the threat of violence is. That, of course, is the very essence of this type of movie. Drowning, suffocation, being shot with a nail gun and getting sucked into your closet are just routine occurrences in this make-believe world. The key to Tim being finally set free from the Boogeyman is something akin to a Voodoo act. And there’s a sequence implying that many of the children on “Missing” posters were in fact taken by the Boogeyman, which of course trivializes the real-life reasons that children are abducted.

Although the story is weak and manipulative, the cinematography (lighting, angles, tricks) is very good, as is the acting. Lawless and Mesure (who played the title character and the Archangel Michael, respectively, on “Xena: Warrior Princess”) are notable in their bit roles as Tim’s parents. Mussett’s character is meant to be shallow and expendable, and she plays her that way. We want to see Watson’s and Deschanel’s characters get together at the end, and perhaps they do, but it’s an open question. Because this type of film isn’t about character development. Or about romance. It’s about giving you a roller-coaster ride.

There are many films of this genre that dabble far deeper into the occult supernatural than this one does. But I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. If you do choose to see it, because you like being scared just for the fun of it, remember that the film’s message is false. The promise (to God’s children) contained in the Scripture passage at the beginning of this review is real. If you’re at rest in Jesus, you DON’T need to be afraid of the terror by night.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Viewer Comments
Negative—WOW, does this movie suck you in. The movie is what I would call a gateway movie. Due to lack of real insight of how bad this movie is, now two close friends have let children see it—one being 15—and is now having problem. Parents, please beware. I don’t know what is getting under the kids’ skin, but it is really getting our kids.
My Ratings: Very Offensive/3½
—Patrick T., age 32
Negative—Some horror movies are on the cutting edge, while others just take ideas already out there and use them to deliver a few good chills. In the case of “The Boogeyman”, we have a horror movie that is neither. Nothing new is really presented here, and I actually thought that a previous movie about an evil tooth fairy was much better at scaring me. The best part of this movie is the very beginning, which is quite frightening and caused me to feel goosebumps all over. But once the father meets his demise, the movie just seems to fall apart. The fear factor never reaches what it was at the beginning, and the film leaves at least one glaring question unanswered. If you’re looking for a good fright flick, I’d recommend something else.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Edward Drake, age 34
Neutral—I thought this movie was okay… nothing offensive. I have to admit some parts were really scary. The ending was bit lame though.
My Ratings: Good/3½
—DMD, age 23
Neutral—It’s one of those scary, late-night flicks that come and go. I’m a strong Christian, and I don’t remember anything offensive about the movie. Unless, of course, you don’t like stories about the supernatural. And it’s gory, but not sickeningly so. It’s kind of scary, but not a classic.
My Ratings: Average/2½
—Dana, age 19

Comments from young people
Negative—Oh my gosh did this movie disappoint me. I’ve really wanted to see a new scary movie, which comes along every so often considering the things they place in movies these days. I am a fan of Barry Watson since I started watching “7th heaven,” I would have figured he would do a good movie. This movie wasn’t really offensive, it was highly stupid though. My mother and I enjoy making fun of things, so we did have fun.The movie can be slightly scary sometimes, it will make you jump a few times in shock. I would have enjoyed this movie if the ending was better. There were no characters you could grow to love like other movies. I like movies that have low character adaptation, but this was sad. It was boring. Nothing happens for like over half of the movie. It’s a bunch of needless scenes thrown in there that the think is scary. it wasn’t. I bought the movie despite someone I knew saying to was stupid, I learned my lesson. I am however happy about the content that it had, there was like three cuss words in the whole thing, like h***, D*** and a**. There was no sexual content really, outside of when Watson’s character and his girlfriend go to a hotel, nothing happens though. The partial nudity is mild, you don’t see anything, Watson’s girlfriend is in the tub and water starts shooting up. and she is fighting to get out. I strongly suggest if you have to see it, rent it.
My Ratings: Average/2
—Michellebob, age 14
Negative—I absolutely hated this movie; it was offensive to me and our Lord Jesus Christ… do not go see this movie. After I viewed it I felt like I was possessed by a spirit or demon. I prayed to God for forgiveness for not using wisdom in seeing this horrible film…
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/1
—Dan Bart, age 15
Positive—I thought this rocked. it was amazing how I didn’t really notice profanity in the words. I also liked how it was short and kept me jumping.
My Ratings: Average/4
—Anna, age 16
Neutral—I thought this movie was excellent. It was very well plotted. It will definitely keep you on your feet. There were some swearing but they were minor words like “damn” or “hell” they only used God’s name in vein once. I wouldn’t recommend this movie for people under 13. There were some pretty scary images. If you would like a good scare I would recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Average/5
—Anna, age 14
Negative—…The Boogieman is a monster every kid is afraid of. This movie is about a boy who witnessed his dad being killed by the Boogieman. After seeing this movie I had horrible nightmares. I will never see a scary movie again in my life…
My Ratings: Offensive/1½
—Bridget, age 13
Positive—This is one of the better horror movies that I’ve seen. It was virtually free from profanity, and had very little violence. The main issue in this movie is Jessica, Tim’s girlfriend. She is in very little of the movie, but it is strongly implied that they are in a physical relationship, though nothing sexual is ever shown. She is also in her underwear in two scenes. During the first scene she is wearing a t-shirt, and the second scene is shot from the back. Thankfully, both scenes are very, very short.

I did like the fact that this movie was not obsessed with darkness and evil, and didn’t present darkness as the only winning force. I strongly disagree with the reviewer in saying that this movie tells us that we do need to be afraid. The whole story of this movie deals with confronting one’s fears, rather than living in fear. As far as the ending, I found it disappointing. (Not morally, I just thought it was rather weak.) I, however, would recommend this movie to anyone who likes scary movies, but doesn’t want to compromise their moral values. Just don’t expect a brilliant plot, or a strong ending.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4
—Christopher Sosa, age 15
Positive—This is one of the better horror movies that I’ve seen. It was virtually free from profanity, and had very little violence. The main issue in this movie is Jessica, Tim’s girlfriend. She is in very little of the movie, but it is strongly implied that they are in a physical relationship, though nothing sexual is ever shown. She is also in her underwear in two scenes. During the first scene she is wearing a t-shirt, and the second scene is shot from the back. Thankfully, both scenes are very, very short. I did like the fact that this movie was not obsessed with darkness and evil, and didn’t present darkness as the only winning force. I strongly disagree with the reviewer in saying that this movie tells us that we do need to be afraid. The whole story of this movie deals with confronting one’s fears, rather than living in fear. As far as the ending, I found it disappointing. (Not morally, I just thought it was rather weak.) I, however, would recommend this movie to anyone who likes scary movies, but doesn’t want to compromise their moral values. Just don’t expect a brilliant plot, or a strong ending.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4
—Christopher Sosa, age 15
Neutral—I thought this movie was excellent. It was very well plotted. It will definitely keep you on your feet. There was some swearing, but they were minor words like “damn” or “hell;” they only used God’s name in vain once. I wouldn’t recommend this movie for people under 13. There were some pretty scary images. If you would like a good scare I would recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Average/5
—Anna, age 14
Positive—My brothers and cousin and I rented this movie to get a cheap scare. We ended up getting pretty scared while the movie was going on. After the film ended we were able to look back and laugh. Although I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone under 13, I really enjoyed it. Little gore, more scares and hardly any sexual content. If your a fan of horror movies, see this one. But the ending is lame!
My Ratings: Average/4½
—Bradley C., age 15
Negative—This is the worst movie ever. I have never seen anything more offensive in my life…
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/3
—Leonardo, age 15
Positive—BOOGEYMAN was excellent!! It wasn’t gory scary, but it was suspenseful—thriller kind of scary. The elements that made it scary, like the Boogeyman himself wasn’t scary, but the suspense is what had me and my friend screaming out at the top of our lungs! I highly recommend this movie to teens and up!! It’s the perfect thing to watch if you are looking for suspense!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Mackenzie, age 14