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Boogeyman, The  (DVD)


Stars: Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, Madison Hu, LisaGay Hamilton, Marin Ireland, David Dastmalchian

Director: Rob Savage

A decently-made horror film, with lots of 'It's behind you!' moments and distinct echoes of the Australian chiller The Babadook, as spidery black patterns weave their way across a bedroom ceiling, heralding a spidery monster with slavering jaws, intent on eating unwary children at night.

This one is freely adapted from a short story by Stephen King, and begins when therapist Will Harper (Messina) - whose late wife has left him with two daughters, alienated teenager Sadie (Thatcher from TV's Yellow Jackets) and younger Sawyer (Blair) - receives a visit from Lester Billings (Dastmalchian), a huge but haunted creature whose three children have all died at various intervals. He knows people believe he and his wife (Ireland) killed them, but Lester is sure they were victims of the Babadook, sorry, Boogeyman.

In the next few moments, he appears to have committed suicide, and the Babadook, sorry, Boogeyman, and its carnal appetites, is foisted on to the gloomy household of the still-grieving Harper family. Cue lots of subsequent creeping about in the dark in a house where the girls even watch video games in the pitch-dark - and all marshalled with some scary skill by the director, whose previous short chillers have been much admired. This is more conventional than those, even if it's effectively done.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: Disney (20th Century Studios). Colour by FotoKem.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 06 Sep 2023