Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blockbuster Trash: Boogeyman (2005)

Sam Raimi is a name associated with some great films- Drag Me To Hell, Spider-man 1-3 and the Evil Dead quadrilogy, to name a few.  However, his name and money have been put behind some disappointing fare in the last several years.  As I'm sure most of you know, he's the man behind Ghost House Productions, which funds some low-budget horror films to both theaters and the Direct-to-DVD market.  Some of it has been good, but a lot of it is just 'eh, it was alright' stuff.  You think someone of his caliber would be a bit more discerning, but I guess not.  That brings me to today's film: Boogeyman.  My first thought was that this was a remake of the Uli Lommel films- it's not.  Instead, someone just thought to use a similar title and make something completely different.  No evil spirits in mirrors here, people!  Instead, we get the older kid from 7th Heaven moping about in a blue-filtered environment.  As you can imagine, I have a love/hate relationship with color-correction technology and how it's used in films.  Aside from that, the film promises to deliver on a simple premise: the Boogeyman is out to get you.  Will it live up to this?  Find out in my review of...
The film begins with a kid scared about going to bed.  Why?  Because he thinks the Boogeyman is hiding in his closet.  The dad tries to calm him down, but, when that fails, he attempts to defuse the worry by checking out the room.  As it turns out, it is empty...or is it?!?  An unseen force flails the man around like a rag doll and pulls him into the closet.  We cut to many years later and our hero is now an adult actor trying to escape the spectre of a WB drama.  He mopes about and just generally acts uninteresting.  In spite of that, he has friends and even a girlfriend around.  He goes on a trip with her to have Thanksgiving with them, which turns out better than you might think.  Underneath the surface though, the guy has some odd quirks that come from his traumatic childhood experience.  Basically, he is afraid of closets and has them all removed from his house.  That's kind of silly, unless you really believe that the thing can only exist in what we consider to be closets.  Anyhow, all of this is filler and not exactly that enthralling.  That changes when his mother dies and he has to return to the family home.  Oh, the terror!  Incidentally, in a complete non sequitur, a bird crashes into the man's windshield.  Um, okay.
When he gets there, we get more moping, sad faces and the like.  On the plus side, this is still far more interesting than the whole of Cthulu!  While he's there, he briefly passes by a young woman (Bones' Emily Deschanel), but they don't interact in any way.  This will come into play later though, folks.  After the funeral, he goes to the psychiatric ward where he spent a lot of time after seeing his dad killed by a spirit.  Yeah, I could see how that might effect you.  Although, to be fair, it's still less traumatic than seeing The Spirit!  He talks to his former shrink/counselor, who has some advice for him.  He tells him that to get over his fears, he needs to confront them.  That means returning to the scene of the crime: his old house!  He's not exactly thrilled with this idea, but can't think of anything else to do.  When he gets there, he runs across the woman from before.  As it turns out, she is a childhood friend of his and they get to talking.  Mind you, they meet when he shows up and her horse tosses her off.  I guess that's supposed to be foreshadowing for the spirit, but they don't really show anything, so it's anyone's guess.  In spite of this happy reunion, he still feels the presence near him...
As time goes on, things don't get any better.  He spends some time talking to a 'wise beyond his years' kid at one point, who has gone through similar problems facing fears.  While in the house, he reminisces about things that used to scare him as a kid when he sees them lying about.  Eventually, stuff starts to happen as the evil spirit makes his presence known.  Over an hour into the movie and stuff of interest occurs- Saints be praised!  The thing's main method of terror is grabbing people and pulling them off-camera.  That's silly, but helps the producers save money on actually showing the effects!  The creature is also entirely CG, which is kind of disappointing.  Mind you, I get that he has to be CG when it pops out of a bathtub and flies down the hall.  However, does it have to be CG when it's just walking up the stairs?!?  After ripping off Darkness Falls for a while, it comes into the room where our two heroes are and makes everything fly around.  This effect consists of making the room into a wind tunnel and playing everything in reverse.  Good to know that we're using effects that can be replicated on a camcorder!  The whole thing ends up being about our hero's fears and, when he confronts them, the creature is destroyed...until the sequel.
So yeah, this movie sucks.  I get a lot of what they were going for, but the film has a ridiculously-lopsided budget.  We get a little bit of stuff right at the beginning and the rest is in the last twenty minutes of the film!  Who writes a movie like that?!?  It's like 'we have to hook them, bore them to tears and them overcompensate at the end.'  Is there some sort of shitty film-making school that teaches that method?  I get that you need time to set things up, but this is ridiculous.  In fact, this reminds me a lot of Tidal Wave's method of spending over an hour setting up to the titular event of the film.  That's not the kind of comparison you want to have made about you, guys!  To be fair to the film, the acting is not that bed, the sets look nice and there clearly was some effort put into this.  Now that that's out of the way, I have to reinforce how dull 80% of this movie is and how silly the other 20% of it is.  Even so, this movie made about $70 million in theaters, so now I have to Direct-to-DVD sequels to review.  For the record, I blame all of you.
Next up, I cover the first part of a trilogy that doesn't know how to escalate properly.  It's about a boy, his basket and murder.  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment