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Fungus the Bogeyman

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Fungus the Bogeyman Movie Poster Image
Monster tale with gross-out humor, very strong language.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The story ultimately revolves around two married couples who love each other and are dedicated to their children. Teenagers rebel against their parents in different ways and struggle to fit in among their peers, learning that that they must be true to themselves. Friendships transcend differences of class, gender, and even species.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Parents risk their lives to protect their child. A wife and daughter tease an unemployed father and put him down in various ways, but finally accept the work he wants to do. Male bogeys partake in burping contests. A female rules the bogey world and females are depicted as family breadwinners and decision-makers. Teenagers are mean to another teen boy just trying to fit in.

Violence

A bogey fart-powered weapon can transform bogeys into humans and can even kill them, though none are killed and all get transformed back into bogeys. A menacing bounty hunter chases bogeys and accidentally hits the priest with a dart from his stun gun.

Sex

Teen calls her teacher, a priest, "Juicy Jake." A couple snuggles in bed; he reaches under the covers and says "you know what this is." The Bogey couple kiss and smell each other's armpits. Teens flirt and share a kiss.

Language

"Hell," "f--king," "toffing," "damn," and anatomical terms like "anal," "buttocks," "bum," and "poo."

Consumerism

VW van.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bogey men drink bowls of a sludge in a bar. A priest gets drunk on red wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fungus the Bogeyman has some very strong language for a movie geared at kids and heavy doses of anatomical and scatological humor. Language includes "hell," "f--king," "toffing," "damn," and anatomical terms like "anal," "buttocks," "bum," and "poo." Bogeys live in an underground world that thrives on filth and foul odors. When one bogey family temporarily transmutes into people, they have trouble accepting the hygiene of the human world. They eat straight out of dirty diapers, spread trash around their kitchen, add scum to their tea, and sleep in a sludge-filled bathtub. A teen calls her teacher, a priest, "Juicy Jake." A couple snuggles in bed; he reaches under the covers and says "you know what this is." Subplots involve harnessing the power of farts and burps to do both good and evil. Two menacing characters who brandish weapons will only scare the youngest of viewers. Tweens might relate to the central story of teenagers seeking their own identity, though older teens may find it corny.

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What's the story?

Based on the cult graphic novel by British writer and illustrator Raymond Briggs (which also inspired two Paul McCartney songs, Bogey Music and Bogey Wobble), FUNGUS THE BOGEYMAN is about a family of monsters, known as "bogeys," who venture into the world of humans, known as "drycleaners." The bogeys believe they have a "social contract" with the humans -- bogeys provide the "bumps in the night" humans fear (because humans crave fear), and humans in turn provide the bogey underworld with seepage from their landfills. But when bogey teenager Mould (Haydon Downing), curious about the world outside, sneaks out, his parents Fungus (Timothy Spall) and Mildew (Joanna Scanlan) must leave their deliriously-filthy underworld and temporarily mutate into human form. Here they befriend their human neighbors, try to adapt to the sanitary world outside, and face unanticipated dangers from an inventor with a secret past (Victoria Wood).

Is it any good?

If your tween finds farting and burping endlessly funny, look no further for your next family night film. Fungus the Bogeyman has both in spades, as well as plenty of gross-out humor involving underworld, Shrek-like monsters (called bogeys) who slather themselves in filth, vomit on each other, and enjoy smelling each other's most odorous body parts and functions. Word play ("my drear," "I stink therefore I am") and solid animation also offer some hooks. Fortunately for the adults in the room, who will tire of bogey humor faster than you can say "jockstrap," the hideous monsters must at least temporarily try to improve their health and hygiene standards when they enter the human world.

And, not to be species-centric, but the film gains in nuance and depth in the human world, set in England. The neighbors (played by Marc Warren, Keeley Hawes, and Fern Deacon) are a middle-class family struggling to make ends meet with the kind-hearted husband unemployed. Their teen daughter has a crush on the local cool kid and is perpetually embarrassed by her parents, not unlike the bogey teen Mould, who feels he doesn't fit in underground. He's "dry-curious," a term latent with double meaning, who is interested in exploring the human ("drycleaners") world. Ultimately, the underlying sweetness of the main characters and the affable resolution of teen angst make Fungus watchable for tweens and adults alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how authentic the monsters are in Fungus the Bogeyman. Do they remind you of any creatures you've seen in other movies?

  • Could you relate to Mould's desire to learn about the world outside his family home? Did he seem like a normal teenager, even in bogey form?

  • In what ways are the human world and the bogey world different and alike? How are they reliant on each other?

Movie details

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