The Boogeyman Review: A Thrilling Stephen King Adaptation (2024)

A new horror movie has arrived in theaters courtesy of 20th Century Fox. The Boogeyman is based on Stephen King’s 1973 short story of the same name. It is directed by Rob Savage, who previously directed the 2020 quarantine horror film Host. It is co-written by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place, 65), and Mark Heyman (Black Swan). With a team like this, you are in good hands. The Boogeyman is a well-crafted horror film with some excellent performances and tension that will keep you holding your breath.

The Boogeyman was originally going to be released on streaming, but positive test screenings allowed the film to be put in theaters. Another recent horror film with a similar path to cinemas was Smile, which came out in 2022 and earned $217.4 million against a $17 million budget. It looks like a similar fate may be the case for The Boogeyman, which follows high school student Sadie (Sophie Thatcher) and her younger sister Sawyer (Vivien Lyra Blair). While grieving the death of their mother, their father Will (Chris Messina) is unable to give them solace.

A man named Lester (David Dastmalachian) visits Will at his therapist job and asks for help. He unknowingly brings in a terrifying entity known as The Boogeyman. This is your classic horror movie setup with a demon haunting a family. It may be derivative and formulaic at times, but when it comes to good horror, the direction is a crucial part of making it work. Savage is a skilled director, having previously operated in screen horror, and he now takes his skills to a more traditional flick. He builds a lot of tension with the familiar “bump in the night” scene template and using certain ideas to bring the horror to life.

The film uses a spherical lamp to create a few fun scenes of horror. There is another scene, which was advertised in the trailer, that uses a red strobe light which feels tailor-made for an excellent scare. It’s the type of movie that makes you want to sleep with your closet door shut. It’s a movie that plays with the infamous trope of children fearing the monster under their bed or in their closet. It does many things that you’ve seen before, so in the hands of a lesser director, this movie could have been disposable. However, Savage’s direction helps bring The Boogeyman to life, knowing how to catch you off-guard.

Thatcher is excellent in the film. Audiences were introduced to her from her appearances in Yellowjackets and The Book of Boba Fett, and she may be an up-and-coming star. She brings a lot of sadness to the character of Sadie who spends the film grieving the loss of her mother. Her isolation is clear as she navigates her friendships in high school and a few others who are not as nice to her. Her character is well-realized and sympathetic as she spends the film holding on to what’s left of her mother, unable to move on.

Chris Messina is also fantastic. He gives a restrained yet sad performance as a therapist whose job is to help people, but, under his own grief, cannot help himself or his daughters. It’s a significant departure from his other role earlier this year in Air, and those unfamiliar with the actor may not be able to tell they’re the same person. Furthermore, Vivien Lyra Blair gets to shine again in this film. After her breakout role as a young Princess Leia in the Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi, she showcases her talent in this film with a lot of humor and charm while also being realistically scared during the film’s more intense scenes.

Like all great horror movies, The Boogeyman features an unsettling mystery at the forefront. The issue is that it doesn’t have a very precise set of rules for its antagonist, nor does it have that much fun with the idea. There are times when the film feels like a by-the-numbers creature feature, doing a good job of scaring you, but not a great one. It’s got all the flickering lights and jump scares you would expect from a film with this premise, but it knows how to surprise you and it should satisfy most fans of the horror genre.

While there may be some who look down on PG-13 horror — this isn’t one of the scarier movies to come out in recent years — The Boogeyman has a lot to offer. It’s one-part Lights Out, one-part The Babadook, and it scares you while having moments of levity that don’t break the tension. It wraps up most of its story threads well and pays tribute to the King story it’s based on without sticking too closely to it. If you’ve been looking for a horror fix for summer 2023, this one is not a bad choice.

SCORE: 7/10

As ComingSoon’sreview policyexplains, a score of 7 equates to “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.

Disclosure: ComingSoon attended a press screening for ourThe Boogeyman review.

The Boogeyman Review: A Thrilling Stephen King Adaptation (2024)


Is The Boogeyman a good adaptation? ›

Audience Reviews

The Boogeyman is one of the better Stephen King adaptations. It's planned out well with its casting and horror sequences. But it shouldn't be the top choice when looking for intense scares. Content collapsed.

Is The Boogeyman still alive at the end of the movie? ›

The Boogeyman's ending teases that the creature is not actually dead, and that it could come back to attack Sadie and Sawyer. The Boogeyman is relentless in preying on its victims, and there's no way to determine whether the monster is permanently dead or if setting it on fire was just a temporary setback.

How many jump scares are in The Boogeyman? ›

The Boogeyman offers at least a half-dozen solid jump-scares.

What is The Boogeyman Stephen King about? ›

"The Boogeyman" is a horror short story by Stephen King, first published in 1973. The story follows a man named Lester Billings, who visits a psychiatrist to talk about the deaths of his three children. Lester believes that the deaths were caused by a supernatural entity known as the Boogeyman.

Is The Boogeyman good or bad? ›

Overall, The Boogeyman is good with its acting, suspense, and horror.

What is the main idea of The Boogeyman? ›

The Boogeyman is a horror movie based on Stephen King's short story, and it explores the theme of parental neglect and trauma. The movie centers around Dr. Harper and his family, who become the perfect target for the Boogeyman due to their grief and vulnerabilities.

Is the boogeyman based off a real story? ›

The boogeyman is not real, but most cultures have some version of the boogeyman myth, although they go by many, many different names. The actual "boogeyman" name most likely originated sometime in the 19th century, but the mythology of these kinds of "monsters" have been around for much longer than that.

What kills the boogeyman? ›

The hairspray runs out, but Sawyer douses the Boogeyman with lighter fluid and Sadie sets it ablaze with the lighter, causing the monster to burn to death and avenging the countless families it killed, including the Billings.

What happened to the mom in Boogeyman? ›

Therapist Will Harper is struggling to overcome the death of his wife, who died suddenly in a car crash. His daughters, Sadie and Sawyer, are likewise struggling to deal with their mother's passing. One day, a disturbed man called Lester Billings visits Will's office.

Are jump scares bad? ›

Cardiologists are of the opinion that while movies with jump scare scenes may not pose a heart attack risk to everyone, if someone suffers from paranoia or PTSD, is elderly or has a pre-existing heart condition, it is recommended that they avoid watching such movies and that they should not partake in fear-evoking ...

Is The Boogeyman movie demonic? ›

The Boogeyman turns out to be a real demonic force. The demon threatens the ones he loves, so Tim decides to take action. BOOGEYMAN the movie is filled with scary scenes and scary supernatural encounters with the demonic title character.

How does Stephen King's Boogeyman end? ›

A battle with the Boogeyman ensues, in which it tries to suck the life out of Sadie, but the family fight back and Sadie sets the creature on fire using her mother's lighter and an aerosol can. Eventually, the monster is defeated, and Will, Sadie and Sawyer escape their house, which is now engulfed by flames.

What is the scariest creature in Stephen King? ›

Stephen King: 10 Best Supernatural Villains
  • Pennywise the Clown isn't the only monster you need to fear at night. ...
  • Now, Gage is back with the most ancient of curses coursing where blood once flowed. ...
  • The Raggedy Man. ...
  • Kurt Barlow.

Why is Stephen King horror? ›

Stephen King's work is known for its recurring themes and motifs, which have become synonymous with the horror genre. One of the most prominent themes in his work is the concept of fear itself, and how it can manifest in different ways.

Is The Boogeyman based off a real story? ›

The boogeyman is not real, but most cultures have some version of the boogeyman myth, although they go by many, many different names. The actual "boogeyman" name most likely originated sometime in the 19th century, but the mythology of these kinds of "monsters" have been around for much longer than that.

Is The Boogeyman A Disney villain? ›

The Boogeyman is the main antagonist of the 1999 Disney Channel original film Don't Look Under the Bed.

Was The Boogeyman on tough enough? ›

Was eliminated from WWE Tough Enough 4 for lying about his age. He claimed to be thirty and later admitted he was really forty, but was offered a development deal, anyway. His television debut as "The Boogeyman" was postponed after he was injured at a WWE house show.

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