Oh Syfy … you definitely dance to the beat of your own drum!! I know I stand out from other reviewers in that I enjoy the vast majority of SyFy Originals (waaay more than I should). I’ve also realized that the sword-and-sorcery Originals pretty much suck across the board; the giant creature flicks are loads of fun; and films like this one (a creature feature, but not a giant creature) always fall somewhere in the middle. With all its flaws I actually really enjoyed 2012’s LEPRECHAUN’s REVENGE (my review). I know … I need help!! So when I got the screener for (THE) BOOGEYMAN, more on the title in a second, I was more than excited. (Oh stop it; we’ve already established that I need help). A good cast, a workable plot, and a decent looking creature – what the hell’s going on here SyFy?? But in the end the only thing that matters is whether it’s fun enough to recommend. So is it?
The film opens with brothers Jacob and Isaac playing around the neighborhood “creepy house.” Jacob, the younger of the two, is obviously freaked out by the house and what unknown horrors may lie inside, but one of Isaac’s friends takes Jacob’s cell phone and throws it through a window on the top floor. Now Jacob is forced to go inside. Unbeknownst to Jacob and the others, the house is a prison to a creature as old as the book of Genesis from the bible itself — and it’s as pissed off and hungry as it is old. Jacob accidentally sets the creature free and upon realizing it’s free, the creature’s guard, Mr. Skinner, has a heart attack and dies, setting off a chain of events that leads to the creature going on a massive killing spree.
Jacob and Isaac’s father, Mike (Eddie McClintock), who also happens to be a cop in the small town, is investigating the death of Mr. Skinner when he and his female partner Rebecca (Amy Bailey), are sucked into the conspiracy of what the creature is, why it’s in their town, and why it has targeted Jacob.
First let’s talk about the title: The DVD screener I got is simply titled, BOOGEYMAN. On the IMDb.com page the film is titled, THE BOOGEYMAN. I have no idea what to say about this other than the fact that sometimes the IMDb.com page is made before the film is itself finalozed. Whatever. But there’s even more mystery with the title. If you name your film “Boogeyman,” realize this comes with a lot of baggage. Without knowing anything about the film I assumed the titular creature would be tormenting children by hiding under their beds or in their closets. You know; the childhood creature that’s the cause of all the “bumps in the night.” There are two different scenes here where the titular creature hides under a bed and in a closet, but overall this film isn’t about the monster that causes children to lose sleep. BOOGEYMAN is really about the creature’s association to the bible (that’s all I’ll say about it). The pivotal part of the plot has to do with what the creature is, how it’s survived over the millennia, and why it targets certain people. The storyline has a bit of an identity crisis and it seems the filmmakers tried to hammer a square peg into a round hole by attempting to turn the Boogeyman here into the monster of children’s nightmares.
Director Jeffery Scott Lando does a nice job keeping everything moving along at a quick pace. The finer details of the plot (written by David Reed) kinda get plowed over, but that’s probably for the best. There are a lot of silly things going on in this story. Example; the titular creature is several centuries old and has been held in captivity for a long time by old Mr. Skinner (its guardian). But then along comes an eight/nine year old kid who releases the creature from its prison in a matter of seconds. Hey Skinner, it probably wasn’t the greatest of ideas to hang the key next to the goddamn door where you have the monster locked up!! There also seems to be an awful lot of cops in such a small town. I know this sounds as though I’m nitpicking but there’s probably a cop for every three or four citizens!! This is also the haziest, smoggiest film I’ve ever seen. I get it that they were using the haze to create a certain tone in the movie, but when there’s so much smog that it’s hard to identify which character is, I think it’s time to lay off the dry ice!!
But despite these and (many) other problems, I really found myself having a fun time with BOOGEYMAN. McClintock plays pretty much the same role here as he does in WAREHOUSE 13, but it’s a fun character. He’s a little goofy, charming, and can kick ass when needed. He and the rest of the cast do a nice job with the material they’re given. The creature is also pretty decent looking. We actually get a practical creature and not some shitty-looking CGI abomination. The creature reminded me of a combination of the titular monster from PUMPKINHEAD and Jason from the FRIDAY THE 13TH films. A compliment if I’ve ever given one.!! And there was a little more blood and guts in this one than your standard SyFy Original. We get to see the aftermath of the Boogeyman’s rampage after it crashes a party in the woods. Fun stuff.
If you sit and start critiquing every little detail in BOOGEYMAN then you’re gonna have a miserable experience. If, like with all SyFy Originals, you just sit back, knock down a few beverages, and ‘go with it,’ then you’re gonna have a fun time. I enjoyed this one overall despite the seemingly ambivalent nature of the creature. Check this one out!!
BOOGEYMAN premiers this Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 9pm ET/PT, on SyFy.
Director: Jeffery Scott Lando
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 3 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer