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We’ve all experienced it, lying in bed as children. In the dark, we’d suddenly notice a mysterious shadow. Out of the corner of one eye we'd see a door that would seem to creak ever-so-slightly open. Then a strange noise would come from the hallway, and everything in the room seemed to come to life. We’d quickly ball up under the sheets, closing our eyes and covering our bodies so we wouldn’t be discovered by you-know-who.
When we finally gathered up the guts to run screaming into our parents’ room, they’d calm us down and simply say there was no such thing as the boogeyman. He was just a story.
For Tim Jensen, the boogeyman isn’t some childish fairy tale. As an 8-year-old, he watched as his father was swept into a closet by the night stalker. But no one believed him. He was, instead, assured that his father left the family. No matter how much he swore to the boogeyman’s existence, he remained alone in his belief.
Now, 15 years later, Tim still has his moments. He pauses every time he faces a closet. He’s hesitant to walk into dark places. So when his mother dies and he decides to sort through her belongings at his supposedly spooked childhood home, it’s unexplainable why he does it alone—and with no lights on. Somebody call Joe Rogan, Tim's about to confront his greatest fear!
When Tim gives no reason for suddenly leaving his girlfriend, Jessica, during Thanksgiving weekend, she drives two-and-a-half hours to find and comfort him. He later tries to help a little girl who experiences the same problems he does. He also helps an old friend who gets thrown off a horse. She, in turn, offers to cook him a meal.
Tim observes his dead mother’s body in a church and encounters her ghoulish spirit in an intense scene. At her funeral, a priest quotes from 1 Corinthians and Ecclesiastes.
A therapist tells Tim that “something happened in that house, but it wasn’t supernatural.” However, while he’s in it, Tim sees the ghosts of several missing children who gather around him.
Though no direct reference is made to demons, the boogeyman’s appearance and violent actions seem deeply connected to a hellish source. At one point, his presence sends doors flying open throughout the shaking house.
Tim and Jessica exchange a handful of kisses, one of which is especially sensual. She’s shown stripping out of her underwear to take a bath; the camera briefly catches her upper back and a bit of her side. When Tim is at her parents’ house, Jessica promises to sneak into his bedroom for an implied sexual encounter. Tim responds by saying he’ll “put on something naughty.” His girlfriend (wearing underwear) later appears to slip into his bed. A lesbian joke is made.
You can expect lots of turbulence whenever the boogeyman’s around. Tim’s father gets a dose of violent shaking when he gets sucked into a closet. Tim later gets the same treatment. Another man gets tossed upon encountering the mysterious creature. Several individuals are catapulted through the air. And when Tim finally confronts the boogeyman, an entire room is destroyed as objects go crashing and whizzing through the air. Tim kicks his attacker in the face.
A man is wrapped in plastic and then stabbed with a utility knife (blood is shown). A girl is supposedly drowned in a blood-smeared bathtub. A blackbird smashes into a windshield, dying with its beak stuck in the glass and its blood splattered.
Crude or Profane Language
Only a handful of mild profanities ("h---," "d--n"). God's name is interjected a half-dozen times.
Drug and Alcohol Content
A going-away party for a friend involves a bar full of alcohol (vodka gets specifically mentioned) and a toast. Tim brings a bottle of wine to his girlfriend’s parents’ home, and several bottles are seen as they eat lunch. Later at a motel, Jessica encourages Tim to “raid the mini-bar,” and he mixes a couple glasses of vodka and Red Bull.
Other Negative Elements
In a flashback to when Tim was young, Tim’s father forces him into a closet to confront his fears. Tim lies to a little girl about the boogeyman being just a story, though he later confesses and apologizes.
Low-grade horror/thrillers seem to be the order of the day. From hearing dead people (White Noise) to being stalked around the house (Hide and Seek) to yet again being stalked around the house (Darkness), ‘tis the season to spook and scare—or at least try to. All Boogeyman is doing is following the leader, to the letter.
Banking on a common connection—that, as kids, we’ve all suspected a lurking presence beneath our beds or in our closets—the movie attempts to send us scrambling from our seats with jolt after jolt. Instead, it’s not long before we're on to the surprises. You can only take so many sloooow walks down empty, creaking hallways before whatever’s behind that door starts to get a little predictable. And would someone please explain why no one believes in turning on lights anymore?
Granted, this shadow dweller still has the ability to frighten—especially kids. He goes from an unseen, mysterious force that grips your imagination to a fully-depicted (and disturbing) demon. So, despite the fact that Boogeyman contains fewer overtly problematic elements than most of its horror peers, its fear quotient and willingness to dabble its toes in dark spiritual waters are still pretty strong reasons to keep the closet door shut.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Barry Watson as Tim Jensen; Emily Deschanel as Kate; Skye McCole Bartusiak as Franny; Tory Mussett as Jessica
Stephen T. Kay ( Get Carter)