Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Boogeyman (2010)

The Boogeyman is an Irish short film adaptation of Stephen King’s tale. Directed by Gerard Lough, the film opens with bereaved father Andrew (Simon Fogarty) explaining his story to a psychiatrist and saying how he is responsible for his three children’s deaths at the hands of “the boogeyman”. As Andrew recounts his tale, we see what unfolded through flashbacks.

To be honest, I haven’t read King’s story, so I can’t account for how faithful Lough’s adaptation is. Unfortunately, I found this to be a fairly dull short that lacks action, likable characters and tension.

The first problem was with the character of Andrew. Though King’s characters are usually rough around the edges, they are ultimately likable in that “everyman” way. However, Andrew comes off as inherently unlikable, complaining about his wife and expressing how he never really wanted kids. This is quite a shaky way to start a story, especially since it takes a while for Andrew to (sort-of) redeem himself. By the time he actually does express some love for his family, it was already too late and I was already anti-Andrew and couldn’t care less what happened to him.

I also thought it odd he wasn’t suspected more by the police in his children’s deaths. Perhaps if more people suspected him it would have upped the ante and made him a more sympathetic character, but by his own admission he is only telling the story to the psychiatrist to get it off his chest. I think the intention of the filmmaker was to create tension in the viewer, making them wonder if Andrew had really killed his children instead of the boogeyman. However, this intention fell flat and I really never felt the tension or urgency to find out who the true murderer was.

The story unfolded at a languid pace as well, and I just didn’t feel any sort of suspense while watching it. It would have helped if more had been shown of the flashbacks, but instead the story focused more on showing Andrew talking to the psychiatrist. I did read that the production had issues finding child actors for the roles due to the subject matter, but I think the story could have been shot around those problems.

As for the direction, it was okay…nothing too special except for a lot of blue and grey muted colors on display. The direction and editing were fairly plain, and since the story was a bit slow it could have used a little more punch.

Another problem was the silly boogeyman costume design, which was anything but scary. Instead, it just looked like a dude wearing a cheap, plastic Halloween mask. I wish the boogeyman character had been shown less, because a shadow on a wall or eyes peering from a closet would have been much more effective and creepy rather than seeing that ridiculous costume.

The Boogeyman is a slow-paced short that unfortunately couldn’t keep my attention. It lacks tension, likable characters and any sort of scares.

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