Kids are trapped in a mental hospital while The Boogeyman stalks the halls.
Ghost House Pictures has really disappointed me with their output thus far. I really hoped that Sam Raimi’s production company would produce solid, fun horror movies but what they have presented so far has been crap like The Grudge and 30 Days of Night. The original Boogeyman was another underwhelming film that fell apart at the end. However, thanks to the fact that enough people will pay money to see a horror film, one made on the cheap will still make a profit. When these films make a profit, they bring sequels. With the case of The Grudge, we got another lackluster version released in theaters that made even more money but brought only one fear – that of another sequel.
Going into the viewing of the straight-to-DVD Boogeyman 2, I fully expected another horrible and clichéd horror film from the house that Sam built. What I found was a very solid little horror flick that forgoes the ridiculous CGI and hokum supernatural aspects of the first movie as well as the restraints of PG-13. Instead we get a pretty solid slasher flick that is more along the line of Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, but without Freddy Krueger.
The movie starts 10 years ago, when Henry and Laura witnessed their parent’s murders at the hands of a mysterious man they believe to be the Boogeyman. We cut to present time and Henry has been institutionalized to help cure his fears of the Boogeyman. Henry is being released as cured and lets Laura know that he is leaving for San Diego to interview for a job. Laura tells him how much she needs him with her because she still has the fears that the Boogeyman will return if she is left alone. Henry is determined to leave and convinces her to check herself into the institution to get the same help he received.
The institution is filled with kids that have various fears. This is an experiment by Doctor Jessica Ryan, although it is never disclosed what that experiment was. It’s just a way to get that Nightmare on Elm Street feel. The various fears were used by the filmmakers to determine how that person would die. There is one who has a fear of germs, another with a fear of getting fat, another with a fear of the dark and so on. Just as in Dream Warriors, the killer in Boogeyman 2 preys on the fears of his victims.
What sets this film apart from the original is there is a logical explanation for everything that happens. There are numerous problems with the execution, but none of them take away from the enjoyment of the horrific moments in the film. There is one instance that connects it with the first movie as Laura finds a news article that states Tim Jensen (the protag in the first movie) committed suicide while under the care of Dr. Mitchell Allen, who now runs this hospital. With this connection in place, the sequel lets the viewer decide if the events of the first film were supernatural or if Jensen was actually crazy.
With the removal of the PG-13 restrictions, Boogeyman 2 follows through with what you really want from a horror film. You get doses of nudity as well as gore that goes over the top at times. A man is cut in half. A woman has her body slashed to bits. There is so much blood and gore it seems the filmmakers were trying to make up for the misstep of the first film. This movie is a small treat for gore heads.
There are problems with the movie. When Laura tries to show people what happened to a girl who was sliced up, she finds the room clean and tidy with no body in sight. This makes no sense when you get to the end. This twist was a nice departure from the conventional Ghost House movies, but the twist after the twist is even better. The problem is the movie gives away a part of the original twist a little too early. There are red herrings, but you kind of skim over those because the movie is transparent at times.
The direction is fairly solid, although clichéd at points. There is really nothing here we have not seen before in better films, as first-time director Jeff Betancourt uses the paint-by-numbers application of horror films 101. The acting is pretty good, although none of the characters are necessarily likeable. This is good for the fans of horror films who just watch to see how each character will bite the bullet. The kills are well done, although none are revolutionary.
Considering this is a low budget, straight to DVD horror flick, the movie delivers the goods. It is better than a lot of the crap Ghost House Pictures puts out in cinemas. For a late night horror film, you could do a lot worse.
Both the full screen and widescreen versions are available to view. The sound is Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds good. The picture is very good and presented in 2.35:1 widescreen.
There are two commentary tracks on the DVD. The first commentary is with director Jeff Betancourt and screenwriter Brian Sieve. This is a solid talk track as both are first timers, Sieve with his first produced script and Betancourt, an editor turned director. The commentary is very educational as they go into depth the process of making the film, from writing to casting to the structure of the picture. It’s a very nice track. The second commentary track is with Actors Tobin Bell and Danielle Savre and Producers Gary Bryman and Steve Hein. This is a slightly interesting track with many antidotal tidbits as the producers ask the actors questions. Mostly, it is boring and if you only listen to one commentary, listen to the filmmaker’s track.
There is a featurette called Bringing Fear to Life that is dialogue free with just music playing while the effects work is showed. It is not really a good way to show this and is a poor featurette. There is also a trailer and some previews.