When things go bump in the night, as an adult, you might wake up and wonder what the hell it was but soon find yourself going back to sleep. As a child though, it's something that can mess you up and give you sleepless nights throughout your childhood. We've all heard a version or two of a haunting figure known as the Boogeyman, and here in Rob Savage's The Boogeyman, that figure takes centre stage to try and bring audiences a fright.

High school student Sadie Harper (Sophie Thatcher) and her younger sister, Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair), are still reeling from the recent death of their mother. They're not getting much support from their father, Will (Chris Messina), a therapist who's dealing with his own intense pain. When a desperate patient unexpectedly shows up at their house seeking help, he leaves behind a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims.
The Boogeyman doesn't really do anything new in its approach to telling a supernatural tale however, that doesn't stop it from being solid, hokey horror fun at the cinema. There's nothing particularly special about the writing or the direction but Rob Savage does have fun creating an intense atmosphere earlier on in the film. You just know something will appear in the dark spaces and the sound design does a lot of heavy lifting in creating suspense in the nighttime sequences.

The best thing about the film by a mile are the performances from Sophie Thatcher and Vivien Lyra Blair as a pair of siblings reeling from the loss of their mother and having to face-off with the titular demon. Thatcher leans into the obsessive nature of her character the further we get into the film, creating a real sense of empathy too as she clearly wants to find a way to contact her mother's spirit. Blair has the hardest job in being the youngest cast member and having to sell being truly scared. She excels every time called upon and gives the film some light-hearted moments too for good measure. Chris Messina plays their father in a smaller role than I imagined it would be yet is a reliable presence when on screen.

While it never feels like it wants to delve deep into themes such as grief, The Boogeyman offers its audience a number of cheap scares and a silly finale that throws away all of the atmosphere created in its first two acts. Why is it that almost all horror films follow the same pattern when it comes to this though?



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