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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is about finding strength and courage to combat a difficult situation, but it's also about grief and the various ways people go through it.
Positive Role Models
Sadie is presented in a pretty positive manner. While grieving the loss of her mother, she continues to be present for her younger sister (unlike her father, who responds by checking out) and takes it upon herself to research the monster's origins. On the other hand, she deals rather poorly with being bullied, and she succumbs to peer pressure.
Teen girls Sadie and Sawyer (White actors Sophie Thatcher and Vivien Lyra Blair) are the main characters, and they drive the story. They see a Black female therapist (LisaGay Hamilton). Sadie has a diverse group of friends, although only Bethany (Madison Hu, of Chinese descent) is sympathetic. The other three friends present as White, Black, and Latina.
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Violence & Scariness
Monster attacks. Fighting monster, stabbing. Children in peril. Young girl knocked over, grabbed, and thrown against TV (she winds up in the hospital). Person is said to have died by suicide (hanging). Dead body. Character with rifle, shooting at monster. Adult grabs teen, slams her head against wall, zip-ties her hands to a beam. Person thrown against wall, leg injured. Some blood spatters. In a nightmare, a teen is knocked down by a door, and some kind of tendril tries to enter her mouth. Monster pins down teen, attempts to "suck her life essence." Teen has a coughing fit, pulls a long stringy thing from her mouth. Kids are grieving the loss of their mother. Pool of blood, which turns out to be spilled paint. Jump-scares. Scary noises. Bullying: A teen is shoved up against locker, her lunch smashed against her clothing. Vandalism. House on fire. Dialogue about the deaths of three children. Yanking out child's loose tooth with string/doorknob.
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One use of "f--k." Also "s--t," "goddamn," "bitch," "Jesus," "screw," "jerk," "popping your cherry," "fart."
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Products & Purchases
Sony video camera shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens smoke pot. (Not glamorized.) Dialogue from dad: "I could smell weed on you."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Boogeyman is a horror movie based on Stephen King's classic short story about a darkness-lurking creature that preys on a family grieving the loss of a parent/partner. Violence includes children in peril, monster attacks (a child is thrown across a room), shotgun blasts, a teen's head getting slammed against a wall, a small blood spatter, a pool of blood (that turns out to be paint), a dead body (very brief), a death by suicide, jump-scares, scary noises, bullying, vandalism, a house on fire, and more. Teens smoke pot in one sequence, though it isn't glamorized. "F--k" is used once, "s--t" and "bitch" are used sporadically, and there are uses of "goddamn," "bitch," "Jesus," "screw," "jerk," "popping your cherry," and "fart." The movie's beats are a bit familiar, but director Rob Savage still manages a potent emotional core and some good scares. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Unlike director Rob Savage's innovative earlier movies, this chiller hits a few too many familiar beats, but its attention to character and emotion -- and a few good scares -- make it worth watching. Based on a 1973 Stephen King short story that was published in his classic Night Shift collection (which also yielded many other movies, including Children of the Corn), The Boogeyman was adapted by A-list screenwriters Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place), working with Mark Heyman (Black Swan). They've fleshed out a scant story that had just two characters in one location, but they've also leaned on the typical three-act structure of many other ghost/monster movies. (By comparison, a similar monster tale was executed with far more ingenuity in Lights Out.)
But director Savage -- whose excellent Pandemic-era Host made clever use of the panels in a Zoom chat -- still finds ways to make it work. He dives in on the characters' grief, which smoothes over certain logic holes and explains certain behaviors. And he goes all out with some nifty, spooky touches, such as Sawyer kicking her light-up ball down dark hallways to check for monsters. (Blair, in particular, is excellent, bringing some of the same pluck she demonstrated as young Leia Organa in Obi-Wan Kenobi.) All in all, The Boogeyman should please most horror hounds.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.