Monday, 30 November 2009

The Nasties Review: The Boogey Man

Nasties Review: Ulli Lomell's The Boogey Man

Hello and welcome back to the Nasties Review. This episode the scum of the movie world steps through the looking glass with a nightmare for the vain. The bad guys a mirror and the good guys are farmers....enough said.
Uli Lomells The Boogey Man.

Willy and Lacey's negligent mother and her abusive boyfriend put the kids to bed so they can indulge in a bit of uninterrupted kinkyness. After tying Willy to his bed Lacey frees him only for Jake to take the knife and head off for a spot of revenge and Lacey sees him murder the boyfriend via a mirror.
Fast forward (20 years) and Jake is mute and they have both been moved out into a farm in the country. Lacey is still trying to deal with the trauma and as part of her 'therapy' her husband Jake takes her to the scene of the crime where she comes face to face with the mirror again. After having a vision and smashing the mirror Jake takes the remaining pieces of it home to rebuild it for her to see that all is OK. Unfortunately the mirror contains the evil of the murderous act and anyone who is touched by the reflection of any part of it is controlled or killed by it. The question is can they destroy the remaining mirror before it destroys them?

The first of two entries into the DPP list by Ulli Lommell, well kinda two but we'll leave that to the review for the other one, Boogey Man has a story that requires you to take an awful lot for granted. The opening sets the scene, with the mothers boyfriend indulging in some inappropriate child care techniques and apparently this has been happening for some time which does beg the question as to why they allowed themselves to be caught snooping if they knew the consequences. So Willy exacts his revenge by stabbing the bestockinged bad guy and then we find ourselves 20 years or so later where the kids are now adults, Lacey is still traumatised and willy is mute.
The cliché continues when Lacey is dragged back to the murder house by her husband in order to make her face her fears, upon seeing the most annoying child on the planet and then the mirror that she witnessed the crime in she sets about it with the nearest available furniture to destroy the vision she seems to be having. Obviously feeling that this emotional meltdown wasn't enough, Jake takes all the pieces and reconstructs the mirror at her current home.

So up to this point here's a list of some of the stuff we must blindly accept. We're 40 minutes in and we have to accept that the kids are so stupid that they don't know NOT to piss off mummies special bed time friend despite his previous record of child restraint and that as adults they are living the trauma cliché surround by pop psychologists who appear hell bent on deepening said trauma. To top this off Willy is quite insane but still they allow him to horde knives and somehow he avoids being hauled away to the hotel with padded walls and dressing gowns with over size rear securing arms after half throttling a girl who wanted to have sex with him. Lacey is deeply disturbed by what she saw although she did seem quite casual about the murder at the time, she is also seemingly possessed and the evil happenings only seem to happen because of her presence, the mirror had happily sat there for 20 years without incident until she came along then bang she breaks the mirror and the evil is released....of course she was already showing signs of supernatural possession or something like it so is it her or the mirror that's to blame....

There is very little coherence in the narrative and the second you start to think about what's happening it all becomes rather shaky to say the least. The main characters are generally likeable with the exception of Willy who is actually a psychopath who just happens to have killed a bad guy.
[insert willy with knives and strangling footage] and of course there's most of the peripheral characters who are there to serve little purpose other than to provide on screen carnage fodder.

Thankfully though the pacing is reasonable and the film delivers the goods when it absolutely needs to although it has to be said that for the most part, the goriest moments happen to people we neither really know and certainly do not care about. However this is not always a bad thing

But for the most part this is all a meaningless diversion from the actual story and the more you look at how the film is put together, the more you realise that the gore scenes are lazy in structure and purpose. The violence is not weaved into the actual story, it's committed upon strangers because it's easier to do the deed and drop it then it is to make it a credible and sustainable element of the story involving the main cast. That would of course require a more robust story that would have to contain and sustain the outrageous happenings rather than have them as a side show.

Boogeyman is however competently shot, the film looks nice enough and the gore effects are very effective for a film that wouldn't have commanded a massive budget also the deaths are fairly imaginative. The idea isn't massively original but I can happily let that go even when it blatantly 'uh hum' pays homage to some classic horror films.

Not that this is particularly important in terms of borrowing from the classics many films do, but the only problem is it throws in some conflicting messages as to what is actually happening. The various borrows Lomell makes make no sense in terms of what's going on in this story and in a film that already has trouble with its lack of narrative focus and coherence that is not at all helpful. It does just feel that these elements were put in purely for the show, and frankly this is mostly what this film is.

Overall Boogeyman is an okay film but even at it's best it's no more than that. It just doesn't bear close or even mild scrutiny and there is no depth to the thin story as it labours to deliver the gore at regular intervals.
I'm going to give Boogeyman 4 zombie fingers, while it is a rather empty, nonsensical waste of script paper, the writing is truly amongst some of the laziest and inept examples I've seen before. However it looks fairly good, the effects are pretty reasonable and the performances are fairly decent. It's just a shame that the diabolically flawed story humiliates itself so badly in public.

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