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  • Writer's pictureCollin Souter

eFilmcritic Archive: "Boogeyman" (2005)

“Boogeyman” tells a story of a Genius. In the movie he’s called Timmy, but for the sake of continuity, I will refer to him as Genius in my review. Genius serves as an archetype of the average idiot in a horror movie that feels it necessary to walk into haunted houses and stay overnight just to see if he can. It’s “Evil Dead” with a straight face and when I say straight face I’m referring to he who will be known as Genius. Never has a face looked straighter or locked into place. ‘Tis a cement block with a stubble. You’ll care more about the walk-ons who say their one or two lines in order to get their SAG card, but you’ll be stuck with Genius as your guide. He’s our hero and this is his story.

As a kid, Genius had to deal with a father who told scary stories about the Boogeyman before bedtime. When the lights went out, everything in Genius’s room looks haunting, especially the bald, homoerotic muscleman toy. Genius becomes convinced that a Boogeyman lurks in his closet. His father comes in and after a thorough search insists the Boogeyman does not exist. Wrong! Listen to the Genius when he speaks! The Boogeyman does exist and Genius will have 15 years worth of therapy and psych wards to prove it!

So, yeah, 15 years later and Genius (acted out as an adult by Barry Watson) has a job working for a magazine. How he got any job that involves being indoors remains a mystery, seeing as how he can’t look at a doorway without freaking out and having a flashback about his father getting killed in a closet. It’s not even out of an obsessive compulsive disorder. He just looks at every door and thinks, “My dad was killed near a door once. He was never alive again.”

But it’s the death of his mother (played in flashbacks by Lucy Lawless) that brings Genius back home. So taken with the idea of being in his leaf infested hometown, he decides to spend some quality time in his old house. Sure, it looks to have been inhabited by Jackie O’s relatives, but Genius has every intention of giving it a Queer Eye makeover, just as soon as he can get through those doors. My God, the doors! They creek! They have big knobs! There’s things behind them! Boogeymen, you ask? No, just a lot of noise, quick-cutting and bling-blang-darrrrrr-nastiness-oogly-oogly, and it doesn’t even make sense.

Naturally, all this vague unsettlingness makes Genius feel ill at ease, but he decides to stay anyway. He gets paid a visit by his long suffering, but oddly enough still interested token blonde girlfriend who wants to have sex with the guy, but probably just to see if his expression changes, which it probably doesn’t. He also gets paid a visit by a childhood friend named Kate, played by the less fortunate Deschanel sister, Emily. He acknowledges their existence, but spends way too much time staring at doors, walking though them and ending up back at the house even when he’s not in the house.

Confused? You should be. Within all this intense door-staring comes a creepy child. You expected that, though, right? Can’t have a PG-13 horror movie without a precocious, hollow-eyed, soft-spoken playground know-it-all who may or may not actually exist. Movies just aren’t scary without one of those. They talk about fear and how Genius has learned to combat it. “I just count to five.” “What happens when you get to six?” she asks. Of course, Genius can’t count that high so he has no answer, but he confides in her anyway after he catches her sleeping in his old tool shed.

By the way, that’s a bad way to get a hold of someone. If you really want to talk to someone when they’re home, it’s always best to ring the doorbell and wait for them to answer the door. If they don’t answer it, you can always leave them a note with contact information, including, but not limited to, phone number, email and home address. If the person still does not respond, maybe give them a call. If all else fails, THEN camp out in their tool shed in hopes they’ll find you quivering under a pile of ratty blankets.

If that still does not get their attention, it’s best to leave a backpack full of photos of missing children, who are believed to have been abducted and killed by a mysterious Boogeyman. It certainly gets Genius’s attention and adds to his confusion as well as ours. If this Boogeyman only goes after children, why did he go after Genius’s father? Genius tries to solve these issues by staring at more doors and holding onto doorknobs, but not after he bolts every door shut. It’s his way of conquering his fear of the mysterious Boogeyman, who could very well be cinema’s laziest screen killer. Seriously, “Goodbye, Dragon Inn” has more action than this.

“Boogeyman” doesn’t make a lick of sense and I’m sorry for having told you the story of its protagonist. You must hate me now. Maybe you’re wondering what happened to poor Genius. Did he conquer the Boogeyman? I don’t know. I guess. I saw a lot of quick cutting of green-lit flashbacks accompanied by backwards sound loops and wind machines that told me he did. I think I saw Darth Maul in there as well. I definitely didn’t see any gore. No nudity, either. Just a one man staring contest in which you have no hope of winning. Genius will beat you by about 80 minutes as the movie bores you into the longest blink of your life. That’s the story. Just stay home, count to five and go to sleep. Don’t be stupid like Genius here.

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