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THE BOOGEYMAN (2023) Review

Neil reviews director Rob Savage’s THE BOOGEYMAN. 20th Century Studios releases the film in UK cinemas from June 2, 2023.



The Boogeyman (20th Century Studios)

20th Century Studios presents The Boogeyman (2023) in UK cinemas from June 2, 2023.


High school student Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer are reeling from the recent death of their mother and aren’t getting much support from their father, Will, a therapist who is dealing with his own pain. When a desperate patient unexpectedly shows up at their home seeking help, he leaves behind a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims.


Based on the legendary short story by the equally legendary Stephen King, The Boogeyman strikes deep to the heart of one of our most basic fears. The dark. As children we’ve all faced a fear of the dark at one time or another. The monster under our bed or hiding in the wardrobe. But what if that monster was real and tangible?

That’s what director Rob Savage (DASHCAM) sets out to explore in this contemporary take on the story. The young director is earning the Savage-by-name-savage-by-nature tagline which accompanies all of his movies to-date. The Boogeyman does little to hold back from putting its characters through the wringer, regardless of their age.

Here it’s the brilliant pairing of Yellowjackets Sophie Thatcher and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s young Princess Leia, Vivien Lyra Blair who are the central focus. The young sisters recently lost their mother and their father, Will (Chris Messina), struggles to open up through his own grief. After a grieving father, played perfectly by David Dastmalchian, comes to the house for counselling, the family finds themselves vulnerable to a supernatural force known only as the ages old (and titular) Boogeyman.

Savage directs from a script by A Quiet Place’s Scott Beck, himself a proven horror screenwriter. Together the pair hit all of the right elements to make a genre classic. The Boogeyman sets up scare after scare throughout its 98 minute runtime. Some, like all good horrors, are a fake out to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Others are ready to send you scurrying for the nearest pillow to hide behind. Once it gets going its relentless but never shies away from being one of the most entertaining theatrical horror movies in decades.

But The Boogeyman is a film which knows it needs to lay the groundwork first. Before getting down to the scary stuff there’s ample time to setup the dynamic and tragic circumstances of the Harper family. It’s here where it quickly becomes clear that the film belongs to Thatcher and Blair. Their bond as sisters are well developed in Beck’s script and both actors commit fully to the relationship as well as the film’s outlandish premise. There’s some exploration of their lives outside of the family home. A mere skirmish across high school politics and group therapy sessions to deal with the loss of their mum. But the real focus is on their bond and how the arrival of the nightmarish monster brings them together.

As for the titular demonic creature, it looks excellent on screen. Somewhere between a man and a spider, it creeps around the frame and hangs from ceilings in perfectly terrifying fashion. There’s something to be said for how much terror the monster can instil when it exists in shadow in comparison to when it’s fully revealed. I compare the experience to seeing Jeepers Creepers for the first time. The idea of this purely evil figure is infinitely more disturbing than once its full visage is revealed.

Your ultimate enjoyment of The Boogeyman will depend on what you want to get out of the film. Those looking purely to be scared may be disappointed with final result which is more menacing that outright terrifying. Those looking to be entertained by a solid Stephen King adaption that is well produced, solidly directed and dynamically acted will no doubt be happy.


Though The Boogeyman may not be terrifying, it will certainly go down in history as one of the better King adaptions. Thanks to committed performances from all three leads the film lands with heart and scares in equal measure. Once again, director Rob Savage has proven he is more than capable to be one of the biggest names in horror.


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