Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Affect on underage children when their mother dies
Father dealing with the death of his wife
Grief / grieving
What are DEMONS?
Sophie Thatcher … Sadie Harper
Chris Messina … Will Harper
David Dastmalchina … Lester Billings
LisaGay Hamilton … Dr. Weller
Marin Ireland … Rita
Vivien Lyra Blair … Sawyer Harper
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20th Century Studios
21 Laps Entertainment
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|Distributor||20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company|
Sawyer Harper has a very, shall I say, “illuminating” type of room. If you were to walk in there, you’d notice a string of lights, probably two night lights and a large glowing orb that she likes to hold onto at night. Why is this? Well Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair) has an extreme phobia of the dark and of monsters that lurk at night. Perhaps she’s not wrong though. Let me explain…
Sawyer’s father, Will (Chris Messina), is a very respected psychologist and runs an in-home practice. He, along with his two daughters, Sawyer and Sadie (Sophie Thatcher), have been trying to manage ever since the accident that took the life of Will’s wife and the girls’ mother.
After an evening session has concluded, a strange man, Lester Bilings (David Dastmalchina) walks into Will’s office needing to speak to Will right away. “I’m sorry you’ll have to make an appointment,” Will states. “Please I really need to speak to someone,” cries Lester. “Ok, I have an hour,” Will says. Lester goes on to explain his most recent circumstances regarding the death of all three of his children, each a year apart, in the most graphic and terrifying ways. He says at first he couldn’t explain it, that he thought it was just his imagination. But then he noticed someone, something…
A creature, lurking in the shadows. “He’s the thing that comes for your kids when you’re not looking. He’s the story nightmares are made of.” He’s The Boogeyman. At first, Will quietly walks out of the room claiming he needs a minute, but when he returns he finds Lester has wandered into a closet in another room and died.
Soon, Sawyer and Sadie begin seeing The Boogeyman. The question remains, “What would it take for you to conquer your fear? To overcome your pain? How far would you go? What would it cost you?” For Sadie and Sawyer they may soon find the answers they are seeking as they come face to face with The Boogeyman.
I have to say, in my heart, I feel a little guilty. Guilty because I know that, deep down, I should have absolutely no reason to anticipate such a film as “The Boogeyman.”
However, to be frank, when I go to a horror film or when I enjoy horror films it’s not because I support demonic creatures, evil spiritual entities, or anything regarding the occult (in fact I NEVER go to exorcism film,s simply because of how Hollywood goes about misrepresenting the whole process). I go simply for the fear factor and the elements that make up a horror film: the music, the lighting, the suspense, the pacing, the storyline, etc. I go because I want to get a little scared, not to become horrified or disturbed, which brings me to “The Boogeyman.”
“The Boogeyman” can be dangerous territory. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it brings audiences to the edge and draws them back, emotionally and one might even argue that it’s a really strong film cinematically (I am a horror film buff after all). However, as with many of Stephen King’s writings and films, there are some things that go way too far, and “The Boogeyman” is one of them.
From the incredibly disturbing first scene (which I’ll discuss later), you know right away what you’re in for, and it may not be worth the price of admission. The danger these children are in is constant throughout the entire film, and, as an educator who works with young children everyday, it made me incredibly uncomfortable how often they were in danger, particularly young Sawyer. For example, there is one scene in a child psychologist’s office where, in order to try and help Sawyer fight her fear of the dark, the psychologist uses a fading light to try and gradually help her get used to complete darkness. As you can imagine, this becomes an incredibly intense, frightening experience for not just her but those in the audience as well, as the creature of the night comes incredibly close to grabbing Sawyer.
Essentially, this film is dangerous territory because when the threat is to children that’s a line that is a step too far, and in “The Boogeyman” the threat is near constant. The dark, foreboding atmosphere (that also NEVER lightens up, not once), also reinforces this threat. “The Boogeyman” is about a creature that preys on the fear of CHILDREN and takes them in the night. To create a film that glorifies and centers on such a creature is, well, frightening in itself.
Violence: In the first, extremely disturbing scene, The Boogeyman snatches a young toddler from its crib and kills it offscreen (we hear the screams and see the blood splatter onto a picture frame and some of the crib). A character goes into graphic details about how his three children ended up dying (I won’t go into details here). A man is seen hung, deceased, having committed suicide, in the back of someone’s closet door. There are some discussions about someone hanging themselves. A girl falls out of her bed. In an attempt to take a loose tooth out of a girl’s mouth, a door with a string attached to the tooth slams super hard, too early, and causes the girl incredible amounts of pain. A girl kicks and punches their sister. Someone fires a shotgun trying to kill The Boogeyman. The Boogeyman is seen going into a girl’s mouth in a dream. The Boogeyman is seen terrorizing a character in a closet (we don’t see exactly what happens, as the door is shut). The Boogeyman throws a young girl against a TV, knocking her unconscious. A girl is slammed against the wall and tied up as bait for The Boogeyman. A character is attacked multiple times and killed by The Boogeyman. The Boogeyman abducts two characters. There is an intense moment where The Boogeyman is seen sucking the life out of a main character. The family is brutally attacked by The Boogeyman. A creature is burned. A character plays a violent videogame. A teen slaps another teen.
Language: J*sus (1), G*d-d*mn (1), H*ll (1), F**k you (1), Sh*t (11), Sh*tty (1), B*tch (3), Schizophrenic (1), Psychotic (1)
Sex: A girl mentions having seen another girl pee. The vulgar sexual phrase “popping your cherry” is heard.
Drugs: Teens are seen smoking pot; one mentions to another that they are high.
Occult: A girl is seen watching videos about calling out to a spirit and having them move the flame of a candle. The girl later tries to call to a spirit and have them move the flame (the flame does move). The Boogeyman himself is based off the devil in some origins.
Other: Someone is seen throwing up in a toilet. There’s talk of flatulence. Someone wets their pants in a moment of terror.
In “The Boogeyman,” the Harper family is buried in grief. After all, they have just lost a mother and a wife. The Boogeyman feeds off this grief and goes after Sadie and Sawyer on account of this.
When we grieve, the Lord is close to us. He is the ultimate healer and comforter, and there is no one on Earth that can match Him. When we find our rest in Him, when we go to Him with our pain, He will console us. Jesus Himself said…
And in Psalms it states,
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” —Pslams 34:18
For true followers of Christ, what is more hopeful is that our pain and grief is temporary. There will be a time when this will all end, where we will be with the Lord, and there will be no more grief. What a wonderful day that will be!
About a half hour before I viewed “The Boogeyman,” I witnessed a family with two young children (couldn’t be older than 10 or 11) outside the theater, and I kept saying to myself, “Please, oh please, I hope they aren’t considering seeing ‘The Boogeyman’.” Sure enough, when it was time for the showing, the family and the children, front row, were in attendance, and I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I hope these children don’t become terrorized by this film.”
“The Boogeyman,” as I said, may all in all be a cinematically fantastic film. Granted, there are some good performances by all, the pacing is good, and I was definitely scared (the jump scares are unique and genuine, trust me). But as I said, a film that focuses on terrorizing children is NOT a film one should support. Please be aware the amount of stars do NOT warrant a recommendation. This is on filmmaking quality (camerawork, pacing, acting) ALONE. This is not a film I recommend to Christians. This is absolutely NOT a film for children or teens. Adults should take caution as well. Find something better to do with your time.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.