Film Review: THE BOOGEYMAN (2010)

Film Review: THE BOOGEYMAN (2010)

Jan 18, 2017

THE BOOGEYMAN was part of Stephen King’s Dollar Babies” incentive for budding film makers which enables them to purchase the rights to a selection of King’s stories for $1 and turn them into films (only to be screened privately and within festivals- not commercial gain).

Notably popular Director/Screenwriter Frank Darabont began his feature film career with a Dollar Baby. In 1983 he recreated Stephen King’s The Woman In The Room, and has gone on to direct other pieces of King’s work such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist (he also has the rights to King’s novels The Long Walk from the Bachman Books, and The Monkey from Skeleton Crew).

THE BOOGEYMAN was one of King’s greatest short stories. It was originally published in 1973 in Cavalier magazine, and then again within the 1978 novella Night Shift. Night Shift features many prominent stories that have since been turned into feature films like Graveyard Shift, The Mangler, Trucks, Sometimes They Come Back, The Lawnmower Man, Children of the Corn, and Jerusalem’s Lot (a prequel to Salem’s Lot). Some of them even gaining several sequels and/or a remake.

THE BOOGEYMAN is the story of Lester Billings, a man adamant his three children have been murdered by an illusive Boogeyman that has been hiding in the closets of his home. Lester relates his story in detail within one therapy session with Dr Harper (a psychologist). The story Lester tells is quite powerful and leaves us wondering whether he is in fact losing it, or if the Boogeyman he discusses truly exists.

What Gerard Lough did with this tale was modernize it and give it a small spin. However he manages to retain the eerie feelings we endure in the story King originally divulged.

Lester’s name may have been changed to Andrew, and rather than reference the Vietnam War, he drops a simple tidbit about Iraq, however the character of Andrews agitation, growing aggression, hostility, desperation, and sorrows are perfectly echoed as they were in the original story.

Actor Simon Fogarty is the anchor of this short, as he plays Andrew Billings with such a flourish that one cannot help but compare his well rounded performance to the descriptions of ‘Lester’ in the short story. We feel his emotions in their entirety, we sense how mournful he is from being torn from his children, and we can see the growing fear he has towards the being he cannot yet prove exists. This is all evidence in Fogartys naturally believable portrayal, of a father on the brink of his own sanity.

Michael Parle (Lough’s lead in his 2015 feature film Night People) plays our bemused and often somewhat cynical psychologist Dr Harper. We can sense how skeptical he is throughout his interaction with Andrew, but it becomes clear that he does want to help lessen the grief stricken fathers guilt.

Lough himself provides a very well adapted script (not omitting some of the most powerful statements within the original story) and  allows the viewer to cringe uneasily when they hear the all too familiar line “the closet door was open….just a crack”, which continues to chill the viewer. It’s through his near perfect adaptation of Stephen Kings language, his amazing casting choices, and his ability to inject his flavor into each scene through his direction; that Lough truly impressed me.

Having seen the badly cast and weaker 1982 Jeff Schiro interpretation, I was reserved to not seeing this film gain a truer adaptation . The 1982 version was not just poorly cast, but also somewhat lost the air of fear and the beauty of the story. I was saddened when I learned that that was the only officially released adaptation.

Thankfully, Loughs impressive retelling of my favorite King short has me excited for future King adaptations.