By Jaimz Dillman
When you were a kid, did you sleep with a nightlight? Have your parents do a monster check? Couldn't go to bed until that closet door was closed tight? Then you'll understand the fear behind The Boogeyman- the latest Stephen King short story adaptation originally written for a 1973 Cavalier Magazine feature then later published in a collection titled Night Shift.
In the usual King style, the tone is eerie and dark going into where we meet sisters Sadie and Sawyer Harper (Sophie Thatcher and Viviene Lyra Blair, respectively) who are still coming to grips with the sudden loss of their mom a month prior. Therapist Dad, played by Chris Messina, is so busy helping others, his daughters' grief gets treated by another counselor and ignored or brushed aside at home. Enter the Boogeyman- a creature that fixates on the broken and grieving.
Brought to the Harper's by a mysterious client of Dad's, it doesn't take long for the creature to start preying on Sadie and Sawyer. The usual "no one believes the scared kid" tropes play here until the monster makes itself known to everyone - and then they believe. Big time.
Director Rob Savage definitely worked a slow burn with this tale... really slow... and the darkness everywhere didn't help build tension for me. I was wanting to see the creature. Show me what you're scared of! By the end of the big climatic end, I was bored from waiting for it all to wrap up after an hour and a half.
The sisters did a fine job giving us fully realized terror and Dad was equally pained and aloof, I just felt like this short story could've been streamed on Hulu as it was originally destined and saved the cinematic release.