Monday, July 27, 2009

"Boogeyman 1, 2, 3"

Since I already own "Boogeyman" and "Boogeyman 2" on DVD, I thought I'd re-watch the first two before watching part 3, which I hired. I purchased part 1 because it was only $10 and I'm typically a completist when it comes to movie franchises. "Boogeyman" is a pretty lame ghost story. Even though I've seen it before, all throughout the movie my most recurring thought was "I don't remember any of this". Barry Watson plays a guy traumatised by witnessing his father supposedly being murdered by the boogeyman. He returns to his hometown for the funeral of his mother (Lucy Lawless, who has about 5 minutes screen time - if that - in a totally pointless role) and quickly discovers he needs to face his past fears.

Now, I'm no MENSA member, but I like to think I'm not a complete dumbass either. Yet "Boogeyman" made absolutely no sense to me. None! First of all - why is the Boogeyman killing people? To collect souls? To become more powerful? For shits and giggles? The movie never bothers to explain. A subplot suggests the Boogeyman has been offing young children for decades. So why does he kill Watson's father? Or his girlfriend? And if he has been up to this for decades, why does it all link back to Watson's childhood toy? The Boogeyman had been killing kids long before Watson saw daddy dragged into the closet.

The worst sin of all is boredom. The movie isn't much more than this: character sees a door swing open/shut. Character SLOWLY approaches door. Repeat over and over AND OVER AND OVER again. Yawn. What a pile of shit.

So how do I explain the fact that "Boogeyman 2" is totally freaking awesome? Only very loosely linked to part one - a throwaway line explains the connection and also provides a quick explanation that helps to make the movie actually make SENSE - we instead get a straightforward slasher flick here. Danielle Savre is the main character, who checks herself into an institution due to her fear of the Boogeyman after witnessing the gruesome murder of her parents. Her brother has already successfuly tackled his fear through therapy at this institution, so she figures she has nothing to lose. Wrong. Her co-patients are a gaggle of disturbed young folk with phobias of their own. Her doctor is a weirdo (played by "Saw" alum Tobin Bell) with unorthodox approaches to treating phobias. Plus, a Boogeyman-style killer is offing everybody based on the fears they've been institutionalised for.

I loved this movie. I thought it was pretty darn good the first time I watched it, and the second viewing only confirmed that. Strong atmosphere, character development that while not terribly deep, has you wincing at some deaths and cheering at others, and best of all, some jaw droppingly good gore scenes. A girl trying to dig maggots out of her arms with a scalpel. A girl being force-fed food through tubes and subsequently exploding. A guy getting his heart forcibly removed. I'm pretty convinced this was made by and for those who love horror movies. Because it's a damn good one - better than many theatrically released features (the same can be said about "Wrong Turn 2: Dead End").

"Boogeyman 3" unfortunately returns to the supernatural theme. Our killer looks a lot like The Gatekeeper from those old "Nightmare" board games and comes complete with a hokey laugh. And the blood looks too much like red paint to generate any sort of stomach unease. The story has the daughter of the doctor from part 2 at college and convinced that the Boogeyman is after her. Except she's of the opinion that the Boogeyman can be evoked through a group's collective belief in him. In itself, I find this theory quite fascinating - it's been used to theorise the existence of God. Because collective conscienceness can be a very powerful thing. Anyway, the doctor's daughter proves the theory right by going and getting murdered, and it's up to her roommate (Erin Cahill) to find a way to stop the Boogeyman's murder spree. Of course, all she really does is drum up extra belief in him and cause several more murders....

"Boogeyman 3" wasn't dull, but after having such a great time with part 2, I expected a little more. That being said, this franchise is turning out to be one that reinvents itself with each new installment - a trend to be admired in a day and age that is usually happy to churn out one identical sequel after another. I'd be quite excited to see how "Boogeyman 4" turns out, should it be made.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'll be passing on this lot. It has one vague similarity to The Day After Tomorrow (which I've mentioned in your Boneyards post): the whole book is based on the premise that a 10-year-old who's walking with his father down a busy Boston street when Dad's stabbed by a professional assassin, recognises the killer 28 years later when they both happen to be in the same Paris cafe. Total balls.