A little ways into Boogeyman, a dark haired, blue-eyed woman appears. Man, she kinda looks like Zooey Deschanel. She even sounds like Zooey Deschanel. Zooey Deschanel rocks as an actress. She's one of those up-and-coming actors that can really act. She's built a decent resume of independent film, and is slowly emerging in larger fare. She has this unique voice and indifferent attitude. And she dates a rock star. Cool! Once the credits roll, it's clear that the actress in Boogeyman, Emily Deschanel (Spider-Man 2, The Alamo) is Zooey's sister. Their mother is also an actor, and their father an Oscar nominated cinematographer. Wow. And Lucy Lawless (Eurotrip, Spider-Man) is here too, although her role is a lot smaller. Why all the focus on actors? Because as a film, Boogeyman is pretty sparse.

The premise is that the boogeyman is real, and took Tim Jensen's (Barry Watson, Sorority Boys, Teaching Mrs. Tingle) father. This drove Jensen, already terrified of the legend, over the edge. Years of therapy convinced him that his father walked out on his family. He's back at home for his mother's funeral, and stepping into his childhood home brings back all sorts of unpleasant memories. His fiancee (Tory Mussett, Peter Pan, Mission Impossible II) is worried about his erratic behavior, and his childhood neighbor (Deschanel) thinks he has serious problems.

One issue that screenwriters Eric Kripke (Battle of the Sexes, Truly Committed), Juliet Snowden, and Stiles White had to deal with was the lack of a sizable cast. Every horror movie needs attractive, expendable people to pick off one by one. They do get around this in a pretty clever way, but that is probably the only good thing to say about Boogeyman. However, it actually succeeds in a sense because it assaults the viewer with loud music, strange camera angles, and all sorts of visual tricks to pummel anybody watching into submission. Director Stephen T. Kay (Static, Six Bullets from Now) decided to substitute plot with visual sensory overload.

There is just no substance to Boogeyman, and this includes the title character. There is a thread about child abductions, but Kay abandons this in favor of a one-on-one confrontation between Jensen and the Boogeyman. Jensen decides spending the night, alone, in his parents' old dilapidated house is a good idea, and when night falls, all the creaking sounds and dark corners scare the crap out of him. He refrains from telling people that he believes it's the Boogeyman, mainly because everybody will think he's insane. The only one who listens is Franny (Skye McCole Bartusiak, Against the Ropes, Riding in Cars with Boys). The Boogeyman has some sort of grudge against Jensen, and decides to make his life a living hell. The movie never explains why the Boogeyman is coming back to get Jensen, why he chose Jensen, or much of anything else. The ending is pretty lame, and most of the acting is pedestrian. Aside from the overuse of CGI, there are some interesting stylistic touches that Kay uses, but otherwise this is the generic horror movie.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 26 minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror and terror/violence, and some partial nudity.

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