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The Boogeyman Review: A Classic Stephen King Horror Tale

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In “The Boogeyman,” director Rob Savage transforms Stephen King’s 1973 short story into an expansive cinematic exploration of universal fears – the unseen terror lurking beneath beds and behind closet doors. The film stylishly revives the quintessential boogeyman lore, although its execution occasionally slips into predictable pitfalls of contemporary horror cinema.

Set within the bleak confines of the Harper family’s loss, the film follows the journey of the high school student Sadie (Sophie Thatcher), her sister Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair), and their bereaved father Will (Chris Messina) as they confront their grief and the possibility of a supernatural entity residing in their house. The catalyst for this fear is Lester Billings (David Dastmalchian), a disturbed man whose cryptic stories about his children’s mysterious deaths plant the seed of dread.

The film’s strength lies in blending the psychological exploration of unresolved trauma with classic horror elements, creating an atmospheric, tension-filled landscape. Savage’s proficient direction maintains the intensity throughout the film, drawing the audience into the palpable fear of the unknown. However, the film tends to lean too heavily on the recurring horror trope of parental death as a plot device. This, combined with an overreliance on world-building and mood-setting, dilutes the emotional depth, making the transition from a family drama to a monster face-off seem somewhat abrupt and predictable.

Savage’s work reflects his budding potential as a director, showcasing his skill in delivering a suspenseful narrative, albeit his struggle to strike a perfect balance between psychological depth and horror conventions. His skill at capturing dread and tension is evident, and with more directorial experience, he could be a real auteur in the horror field.

Compared to other Stephen King adaptations, “The Boogeyman” does justice to the source material and sits comfortably among the better interpretations. It infuses King’s classic tale with a modern, stylistic approach, effectively delivering scares that punch above its PG-13 rating. However, the film doesn’t entirely shake off some elements of unoriginality and predictability. Sophie Thatcher’s convincing portrayal of Sadie, oscillating between fear and bravery, works, but even her performance can’t entirely compensate for the lack of lingering horror.

“The Boogeyman” rekindles an age-old fear of the dark, making for an entertaining watch, although it may not haunt viewers beyond the film’s duration. It’s a solid, albeit not groundbreaking, addition to the canon of Stephen King adaptations and another log on the fire for the enduring power of childhood fears within the horror genre.

RATING: 3.0 out of 5.

The Boogeyman is in theaters now.

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