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BOOGEYMAN

SYNOPSIS:
Tim (Barry Watson) is traumatised at a young age when he witnesses his father being sucked into a closet by the mysterious boogeyman. Fifteen years later, he’s moved to the city in an attempt to escape his past, but after his mother’s death returns to his childhood home to confront his fears once and for all.

Review by Jake Wilson:
With little graphic gore and even less plot, Boogeyman is more focused on psychological states than comparably schlocky recent Hollywood horror movies like Darkness Falls. Evidently it’s influenced by the flavour-of-the-month Japanese and Hong Kong schools (with their sullen ghostly children) and perhaps even by David Lynch. For long stretches, the hero does little more than wander round an old dark house hallucinating or recollecting childhood scenes, till time and space start shifting and fantasy and reality merge. But while there are hints Tim may have dreamed up the boogeyman scenario so he can remain in denial about the actual damage caused by his father, the ideas aren’t sustained or original enough to bring the dream logic of his trauma to life. 

You can normally count on these kinds of films for technically tricky cinematography: here Bobby Bubowski provides lots of dramatic focus shifts and a range of attractively corpselike greys and greens. But while he and the director Stephen M. Kay sometimes succeed in startling the viewer with sudden movements and flashes of ambiguous imagery, they lack the patience (or the faith in their audience) required to build suspense gradually. From the start, the camera is rocketing down deserted corridors and the walls are shrieking and creaking – so when the story moves towards a climax the style has no place to go. 

Then again, in a way these value judgments are beside the point. With its direct connection to the irrational, horror is always the least “controlled” of genres: without being particularly scary, Boogieman provides the basic experience of watching a horror film, before dissolving quickly and harmlessly in the mind. Walking out of the cinema is like waking from a dream, though not a very interesting one. Mostly you wonder what happened to the script. Maybe the boogeyman took it.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BOOGEYMAN (M15+)
(US/NZ/Germany, 2005)

CAST: Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Lucy Lawless, Tory Mussett, Robyn Malcolm

PRODUCER: Daniel Carrillo, Hans Jurgen Pohland, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert

DIRECTOR: Stephen T. Kay

SCRIPT: Eric Kripke, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bobby Bukowski

EDITOR: John Axelrad

MUSIC: Jospeh LoDuca

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patricia Deveraux, Robert Gillies

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 12, 2005







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