There are a number of benefits for filmmakers producing horror movies – they are often cheap, populated by relatively unknown casts and have a built in audience of anyone looking for a thrill on a Saturday night. In addition, they usually don’t take much thought or time to produce, so, like during the teenage slasher film craze a few years ago, horror movies can be cranked out like Fords or chocolate bars and be gobbled up by anyone willing to be scared and part with their money.

However, there are problems with this, as over time the audience loses interest and the film’s quality degrades, leaving us with cinematic effluent no one wants, like “Boogeyman.”

I don’t know to whom “Boogeyman” is marketed, but given its PG-13 rating, I would assume it is aimed at members of society who may believe the title character actually exists. Also, this demographic might be the only one to find this film entertaining, as its members don’t know yet what to look for or expect from a good movie, and sitting in a darkened, crowded theater without their parents is a new experience. As for those of us who don’t gasp at dirty words or find love scenes “icky,” we are better off sitting this one out.

The movie revolves around a 20-something named Tim who is deathly afraid of closets because 15 years earlier, his father was taken by the “Boogeyman,” or so he thinks. Everyone tells him he imagined the event and even he knows the concept is ridiculous, but there is something about his irrational childhood fear that stays with him well into adulthood and causes him to avoid dark spaces and remove cabinet doors from their hinges.

Of course, Tim learns the “Boogeyman” is real, wants to kill him, has been kidnapping little children for years and will murder everyone he cares about until Tim is able to face his fears. Since no one that is reading this cares, or if you couldn’t guess, Tim wins.

The thing is, if I told you how Tim defeats the monster, you wouldn’t believe me, and if you did, you would wonder why he didn’t do it sooner. And while you are thinking about how easy it was to destroy the Boogeyman, you should probably ask a few questions about the nonsensical rationale behind the story, too.

Is there one boogeyman, or are there numbers of “personal” boogeymen? What does he gain by killing children? If he can have anyone he wants, why Tim and why after 15 years? Aside from being a bad movie, the real problem with the film is that it hints at something that might be intriguing, but doesn’t deliver. “Boogeyman” suggests that the reason Tim is aware of the title character is a story told to him by his father and his paranoia of closets and dark spaces arises out of his father locking him in one.

However, these are only suggestions, as the movie makes it obvious that Tim’s real problems are caused by a monster and not, say, child abuse.

But that could have been the premise for an interesting film, because if you think about it, the real boogeymen aren’t monsters, but parents – they are the ones that scar us for life, dominate and influence us in ways we never realize. How scary would it be if we didn’t have to be afraid of the dark, but rather the ones who turn off the lights?

Battenhausen can be reached at dbattenhausen@campustimes.org.



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