Vivien Lyra Blair stars as Sawyer in “The Boogeyman” (Photo Credit: Getty Images).
(“The Boogeyman” trailer courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
The common frustration with many horror films is why the victims do not just pack up their stuff and leave?
Leave the haunted house.
Leave the God-forsaken town.
Leave the deformed looking doll.
But what if the horror follows the victim no matter where they go or what they do?
If a demonic force is truly the boogeyman, no man, woman or child can outrun him, which will create chill-inducing and spine-tingling anxiety.
Moviegoers will know “The Boogeyman” is cold-blooded when the film begins with an infant getting murdered while it sleeps alone in a playpen.
No matter the circumstances, losing a child must be hard for Lester Billings (David Dastmalchian) in “The Boogeyman.”
But for his baby girl to die in such a horrific way is enough to drive a parent to suicide.
While Lester is still hanging on to life and meaning by a shoestring, he knows that he needs professional help.
More importantly, Lester needs someone to listen to him and believe him when he says he has no responsibility in the death of his child.
Therefore, Lester reaches out to shrink Will Harper (Chris Messina, “Air”) to help him get through the most turbulent time in his life.
However, Will and his two daughters have their own Goliaths to fight.
In “The Boogeyman,” Will’s daughters Sadie Harper (Sophie Thatcher) and Sawyer Harper (Vivien Lyra Blair, “Waco”) are still coping with the loss of their mother.
In fact, it has been a month since Sadie and Sawyer have even attended school.
In “The Boogeyman,” Sadie misses her mother so much that on her first day back in school, she wears her mother’s dress to McDonough 35 High School.
But the only problem with going back into the world is that the entire world seems to know about the untimely demise of her mother.
Sadie begins getting into fights with classmates.
As a result, she sometimes cuts school.
But when Sadie skips school on a day that Lester visits her dad’s in-home office, she realizes that losing her mom suddenly is only the beginning of her trials and tribulations.
When Lester meets a tragic result at the Harper home and office, the kids in the neighborhood begin to insinuate that the family is doomed.
After the school bus passes the home and sees first responders, kids begin asking Sawyer if her dad got killed too.
But a more sinister issue is at play.
Although Will and Sadie do not believe her at first, a shadowy monster begins stalking Sawyer at night.
Sawyer attends therapy sessions with Dr. Weller (LisaGay Hamilton, “Ad Astra”).
But the doctor and her family simply believe that Sawyer is experiencing nightmares and trauma from the sudden demise of her beloved mother.
However, in “The Boogeyman,” the family soon finds out that Sawyer is not just some child who wets themselves when they get scared by imaginary foes.
In “The Boogeyman,” a true demonic force is hunting people in their town.
And unfortunately, after ending its fixation on Lester’s family, the shadowy monster has its eyes, teeth and every deadly part of its body on Sawyer, Sadie and Will.
It is up to the entire family to band together so that Will does not suffer the same depressing fate as Lester.
“The Boogeyman” does enough to stay true to the horror drama.
But it also does enough to distinguish itself from the status quo like the creepy doll obsession in horror movies.
Instead, Sawyer has a ball that lights up when she is scared.
If Sawyer thinks a monster is under her bed or in her closet, she simply must roll or drop her ball to get a bird’s eye view of what is going on in the nooks and crannies of her bedroom.
Unfortunately, what the light exposes is enough to make an adult cry.
Even Will must admit that he was scared in “The Boogeyman.
But while must “victims” in horror films make audiences frustrated because of stupid decisions that should result in their demise, the Harper family does not make the stereotypical poor choices.
But despite their sound decisions, they still find themselves on the hit list of the shadowy monster who only certain people can see.
The Harpers are also sympathetic figures because of their performances.
In “The Boogeyman,” the Harpers come across as just a normal family with the same concerns that many families deal with.
After the death of his wife, Will is just trying to keep his head above water.
When something tragic happens like young children losing their mother, the youngster often looks to the other elders in their life for guidance and confidence.
Will knows he cannot let depression or despair overtake him.
As a result, his confidence can turn into apathy and dismissiveness when it comes to Sawyer’s plight.
Parents often dismiss the fears of their young children, erroneously chalking it up to child’s play.
But everything is not a game.
And a real boogeyman does not play children’s game.
Thatcher does not play the typical troubled teenager.
But when confronted with mean girls, a person’s hidden troubles can eventually boil over.
And Blair is adorable as Sawyer.
However, monsters do not usually care how adorable a child is if they want to annihilate the child.
Unfortunately, some horror films contain scenes that come off funny and not frightening, and “The Boogeyman” does that a few times.
While that can become frustrating, not much else is frustrating when it comes to “The Boogeyman,” which is inspired by a short story written by the one and only, Stephen King.