Boogeyman 2: A Review
I'm pretty sure that writer Brian Sieve has seen A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I don't know the man personally, this is true, but I think I am pretty safe in my assumption. In fact, dare I say that he is a pretty big fan of that movie? He probably liked the original Freddy movie, but I think I can safely say that the one with the Dream Warriors fighting a creature that brings their fears to life in a mental hospital is his favorite of the bunch.
I am less sure that he liked the original Boogeyman. Or if he's even seen it.
I am a little unsure how I feel about Boogeyman 2 because, as we'll see, the plot is ripped from Dream Warriors and has almost nothing to do with the original Boogeyman. On the other hand, I really like Dream Warriors (easily my favorite of that series) and until I went back and read a synopsis of Boogeyman, I remember absolutely nothing about it except for the fact that Emily Deschanel was in it. I don't recall disliking the original, it simply wasn't terribly memorable. The Boogeyman lives in closets and takes children in the middle of the night and that was pretty much it. Upon reading the synopsis, some stuff came back to me, but it was still a pretty middling film. So the fact that Boogeyman 2 isn't terribly similar to the original is not the worst thing in the world.
When Laura (Danielle Porter) and Henry (Matt Cohen) were young, their parents were killed by the Boogeyman. Eviscerated in pretty gruesome fashion, in fact. Ten years later, Henry has finally managed to overcome his fears of the Boogeyman with the help of a therapy group run by Doctors Ryan (Renee O'Connor, Xena's Sidekick) and Allen (Tobin Bell, Jigsaw Jigsaw JIGSAW) and he's convinced Laura that she should give it a shot. Checking in to the hospital, Laura joins a man afraid of the dark, a germaphobe, a cutter, an agoraphobe, and a bulimic to try and confront her fears.
It isn't long before people start dying in ways that could theoretically be accidents or suicides, but aren't. We know this because a) it's a horror movie and b) we see The Boogeyman. The first to die is the guy who's afraid of the dark, who is trapped in the basement of the hospital in the dark and ripped apart in the elevator shaft. Next is the germaphobe, whose food is spiked with cockroaches and resorts to drinking industrial strength cleaner to fix the problem. Things get progressively worse from there, as the power goes out after the group is locked in for the night and people continue to die in ways related to their fears. Well, except for the agoraphobe, whose chest is opened with a rib spreader and his heart taken out; kind of missed the mark with that one, film.
If that sounds like the sort of things that happened to the Dream Warriors, and nothing like what the Boogeyman did in the first movie, you are very correct. The latter will be explained, in a way that you'll either think is pretty clever or will drive you up the wall; as for the former, that's a bit of a tougher nut. As I said, I really like Dream Warriors, and while this movie apes that film, if I really want to watch a movie about kids getting killed by their own fears, I'd go watch that movie. Boogeyman 2 goes out of its way to misdirect you and convince you that the doctors are up to something sinister, which is a fine tactic for a horror movie even though we all know there really IS a killer, but it doesn't follow through. Xena's Sidekick apparently is more concerned with her "experiment" than actually helping the kids, but that is mentioned once and then dropped like a hot potato. Jigsaw is given an ulterior motive in that one of his former patients, who just happens to be the main character from the first movie, killed himself. That one isn't dropped immediately, but it plays out pretty poorly, and there was really nothing in the first film to suggest that was a possibility. Dream Warriors had none of that silliness. Dream Warriors is also bolstered by some truly excellent performances by the likes of Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, and Robert Englund; while I do love me some Tobin Bell, he's not exactly used to the best of his ability here and the rest of this cast does their jobs but is nothing spectacular. There's no one truly awful here, however, which is definitely a plus for Boogeyman 2.
For those concerned that The Boogeyman was never concerned with being clever or forcing people to face their fears in the first film, worry not. It turns out that The Boogeyman man in this film is really brother Henry, who wasn't so much cured of his fear as he was driven completely nuts by Dr. Allen's treatment. In order to get him to confront his fear, Allen locked Henry in a closet and while in there, Henry was confronted by the actual Boogeyman. Wikipedia says that The Boogeyman enters Henry's body and possesses him, and while I don't necessarily agree with that, I do think this is The Boogeyman's sole legit appearance in the film and the proof of his existence breaks Henry something fierce. When Laura faces off against Henry in a boiler room (further shades of the Nightmare franchise), she ends up decapitating him to finally bring an end to the nightmare. Since this is a horror movie made in the last decade, there's a big twist at the end to set up another sequel, but at least this one is believable so far as twists go.
Boogeyman 2 pales in comparison to Dream Warriors, but at the end of the day I think I will remember this one more than the original. I don't mind when movies rip off other movies so long as they are enjoyable, and this definitely was. Boogeyman 2 also has some really good practical effects, with the CGI in this film seemingly kept pretty minimal, and that is truly a breath of fresh air.