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There's no reason to fear this 'Boogeyman'

February 07, 2005|Kevin Crust | Times Staff Writer

Other than inspiring unintended thoughts of K.C. and the Sunshine Band ("I'm your boogie man, I'm your boogie man/Turn me on/I'm your boogie man, I'm your boogie man/Do what you want"), the new horror movie "Boogeyman" has little to offer in the way of entertainment or originality.

From producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, who Americanized "The Grudge," the film is the latest entry in the fright genre to dodge bad reviews and still manage to open at the top of the weekend box office. Can you imagine how much money one of these things would make if it were actually any good?

Barry Watson, late of "Sorority Boys" and TV's "7th Heaven," plays an associate magazine editor plagued by memories of a horrific childhood event. As an 8-year-old, little Timmy witnesses his dad being dragged off into his bedroom closet by the title character. Fifteen years of psychiatric treatment have convinced him that what he thinks he saw was his way of dealing with his father's abandonment of the family.

All grown up and more than a little twitchy, Tim naturally has issues with closets. Asked by his high-maintenance WASP-y girlfriend, Jessica (Tory Mussett), to retrieve her coat at a party, he stands frozen before a dark opening, unable to retrieve the garment. In fact, his apartment is a monument to his fear of anything with doors with its glass-fronted refrigerator and kitchen cupboards with their doors removed.

When Tim's mother (unrecognizable Lucy Lawless) dies suddenly, he returns home for the funeral and decides to spend a fateful night in the family home. A series of freakish occurrences, including an encounter with a spooky little girl named Franny (Skye McCole Bartusiak), fail to give him pause, and in horror movie tradition he proceeds with his plan to face his demons anyway.

Director Stephen Kay employs the darting shadows familiar to anyone who has seen "The Grudge," as well as an assortment of overly familiar jump cuts and shock zooms to give the audience a handful of scares. The script, however, includes listless stretches of atmospheric build-up that succeed only as smokescreen for exposition of the back story.

If you were to toss elements of "The Sixth Sense," "The Exorcist" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" into a blender and hit puree, you might get something resembling this pulpy nonsense. Fright fans expecting anything more than the occasional jolt will be sorely disappointed.



MPAA rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of horror and terror/violence, and some partial nudity

Times guidelines: Very low gore factor

Barry Watson...Tim

Emily Deschanel...Kate

Skye McCole Bartusiak...Franny

Tory Mussett...Jessica

Lucy Lawless...Tim's mother

Sam Raimi and Screen Gems present, in association with Senator International, a Ghost Hopuse Pictures production. Director Stephen Kay. Producers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert. Executive producers Joe Drake, Nathan Kahane, Carsten Lorenz, Steve Hein, Gary Bryman. Screenplay by Eric Kripke and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White, story by Eric Kripke. Director of photography Bobby Bukowski. Editor John Axelrad. Costume designer Jane Holland. Music Joseph LoDuca. Production designer Robert Gillies. Running time:

1 hour, 26 minutes.

In general release.

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