Stephen King adaptions are often very lacklustre, a lot of the time failing to capture his iconic writing, but when they shine they become staples of the genre. Today's film is adapted from King's first collection of short stories, 'Night Shift', which contained 20 stories - including 'The Boogeyman'.
Sisters Sadie (Sophie Thatcher, Disney+'s 'The Book of Boba Fett', Paramount+'s 'Yellowjackets') and Sawyer (Lyra Blair, 'We Can Be Heroes', Disney+'s 'Obi-Wan Kenobi') are still processing the loss of their mother. Their dad Will (Chris Messina, 'Birds of Prey', TV's 'The Mindy Project'), who is a therapist, has an unexpected client (David Dastmalchian, 'The Suicide Squad', 'Ant-Man and the Wasp') show up and brings an uninvited guest with him. Now this presence feasts on darkness and is preying on the family.
'The Boogeyman' is nothing new: a family dealing with grief before a demonic presence haunts them and forces them to become closer as a unit. However, this adaption lacks anything original, even hitting the same beats similar stories often follow. Even though the cast is solid, there is little to save this one.
The horror elements are hugely lacking here; while they're not cheap jump scares, the actual horror moments happen so infrequently. There are large chunks of the film when it feels like a generic family melodrama rather than something spooky. When the horror does happen it's fine, though the demon design is a little too much like the ones from 'Scooby-Doo'. The idea of a horror film based around the Boogeyman sounds really exciting but it just never really lands. Even the ideas, like it only thriving in the dark, fizzle out and feel like an afterthought.
'The Boogeyman' is by no means a bottom-of-the-barrel horror outing but it just feels so generic, and every opportunity it has to take a new direction it doesn't. There is no reason to leave the light on - there's no 'Boogeyman' to be found.