The Boogeyman Movie 2023
20th Century Studios

[Review] THE BOOGEYMAN Is a Simple But Scary Good Time

Step into the shadows in The Boogeyman (2023), a spine-tingling horror film based on the short story by the legendary Stephen King. Directed by Rob Savage (Host, 2020) and written by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, and Mark Heyman, this film takes audiences on a chilling journey that explores the depths of fear and the resilience of the human spirit.

The Boogeyman follows troubled high school student Sadie Harper (Sophie Thatcher, Yellowjackets), and her precocious younger sister, Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair, Bird Box), still grappling with the recent loss of their mother. Their father, Will (Chris Messina, Birds of Prey), a therapist dealing with his own intense pain, provides little comfort and closes himself off to the girls emotionally. Little do they know that their lives are about to take a sinister turn when a desperate patient seeking help unwittingly unleashes a terrifying supernatural entity that just so happens to prey on families and feed on their suffering. Talk about unlucky.

One of The Boogeyman’s undeniable strengths lies in its masterful use of darkness. From Sadie’s claustrophobic confinement in a pitch-black room during a high school sleepover to Sawyer’s eerie nighttime encounters with only a glowing moon lamp to seek out her uninvited guest, each horror setup is meticulously crafted to keep audiences squirming in their seats. The skilled direction of Rob Savage shines through as the camera wanders in the darkness, finding innocuous shapes that give the illusion of lurking monsters and exercising well-timed restraint to provide only the briefest glimpses of The Boogeyman, so as to not overstay his welcome.


The Boogeyman Movie 2023
20Th Century Studios


The performances in The Boogeyman too are standout, with Sophie Thatcher shining in the role of Sadie. Thatcher’s portrayal of the teenage lead is captivating and authentic, drawing us into her character’s emotional journey. Vivien Lyra Blair delivers an adorable and brave performance as Sawyer, showcasing moments of strength and resilience beyond her years. Blair’s portrayal of a young girl facing unimaginable horrors adds depth to the story and gives the audience someone to root for.

While The Boogeyman may not break new ground in terms of its premise—a malevolent creature lurking in darkness has been explored in previous films; eg Light’s Out (2016), Darkness Falls (2003), Pitch Black (2000), The Descent (2005)—it compensates with its execution. The sheer skill and volume of scare sequences throughout the movie make for a thrilling trip to the cinema.

However, the film falls short in terms of providing a substantial backstory for the supernatural entity. What is The Boogeyman? Does it matter? Does the film care? Without a deeper exploration of its origins and motivations, the overall originality of the premise feels somewhat lacking.

The script, while occasionally formulaic, contains moments of brilliance that showcase the unhindered potential of the writing and directing team. One memorable scene sees Sawyer cleverly using her gun-toting character in a PlayStation game to illuminate a dark living room, replacing the tired trope of a faulty flashlight or an overused camera flash. These glimpses of originality leave us longing for what could have been if the film had been allowed to break free from the shackles of the studio mold.


“…a scary and fun experience for horror enthusiasts.”


In the end, The Boogeyman succeeds in delivering a scary and fun experience for horror enthusiasts. While it may not revolutionize the genre, it knows how to utilize its strengths to create a pulse-pounding journey into the darkness. If you’re looking for a thrilling ride filled with expertly crafted scares, The Boogeyman will not disappoint.


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The Boogeyman Movie 2023
[Review] THE BOOGEYMAN Is a Simple But Scary Good Time
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