Boogeyman 2 - Unrated Director's Cut
Studio: Sony/Ghost House Pictures
US Rating: Unrated
Film Length: 93 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 2:35.1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Subtitles: Optional English, French and Spanish
The Film - out of
The horror genre exists within a narrow band of ideas. I used to feel that the cinema of horror was an endless breeding ground of innovative; a wildly unhindered Petri dish where creepy, grotesque, natural and supernatural evil took on multifarious forms and figures. I marveled at how the inventive creatures, ghosts, monsters and unstoppable killers that tear through victims with either carefree rage or sadistic calculation, went about their grisly perverted plans. But I see now that the horror genre is far more refined in scope. And that isn’t a bad thing, not at all.
As slight as the scope may feel, there is still plenty of delicious creativity that exists within that corridor of horror; plenty of ways to play out the macabre and morbid visions of fear and fright. The great thing about the horror genre is that in almost every film, no matter how bad it is, there always seems to be some redeeming element that still manages to spark a smirk. I don’t know whether that is because there is always something in the movies to be found or simply that I can find something to enjoy about it whether it is there or not, but that is what makes the horror genre so enduring.
In 2005, the film Boogeyman was released. Written by Erik Kripke (creator of the great CW show, Supernatural), it took the somewhat benign notion of the boogeyman and created a modern day fright-fest, much in the same way as Darkness Falls did with the tooth fairy. The problem with the original Boogeyman was that, despite having a great concept, with some good scares and a plot that just about makes sense, it gets a knife to the chest with one of the most ludicrous and disappointing endings around. It lets all the stuffing out of the pillow that you should be covering your face with.
For the sequel, Ghost House pictures and two of the originals’ producers (Steve Hein and Gary Bryman) went back to the drawing board, so to speak, deciding to follow a path that exists independent of the original. Boogeyman 2 centers on a brother and sister who, as children, witness their parents brutally slain by what they believe, and long fear, as the boogey man. The brother, Henry Porter (Matt Cohen) has been institutionalized to help him conquer his fear of the boogeyman. His sister, Laura (Danielle Savre) upon his release, realizes that her paralyzing fear of the hooded figure is too much and checks herself into that institution, taking her brothers old room. No sooner than she checks in, the killing begins. Each patient with her in the institution is dealing with a particular phobia – fear of the dark, germaphobia, agoraphobia and the like. As the killings ensue, Laura races against the clock to convince her fellow patience and the doctors treating them that the boogeyman is real.
Despite having a far smaller budget, the production values on this direct to DVD sequel are high. Filmed almost exclusively with hand-held cameras, first time director Jeff Betancourt keeps the scares coming and the ‘locked in the institution’ atmosphere, alive. The film is in essence a return to the slasher movies most popular in the 70’s and 80’s, and with its location and inventive death scenes related to the phobias the victims suffered, the story rings with echoes of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. But it cannot be dismissed as simply an overt knock-off. It is saved by writer Brian Sieve’s entertaining script and a concept that makes the frights less supernatural and more tenable.
What doesn’t work for the film is a concentration on making the gore excessive at times. While going overboard on the extravagant death scenes in films like the Elm Street or Friday the 13th series works because of the implausible proposition of the premise, in Boogeyman 2, since the writer and producers set out to make a more grounded evil, the overdose of blood and prosthetics seem to tilt those scenes into unnecessary glut.
The characters in the film comprise a general collection of easily dispensable and mostly forgettable ‘victims-to-be’. Young pretty faces who spout functional dialogue and who enjoy their last moments on screen screaming at the top of their lungs amidst bloody and violent circumstances. Tobin Bell of Saw fame plays a pretty convincing doctor (Dr Allen), using his soft and creepy gravelly voice to be likeable and suspicious at the same time.
Sony Pictures Home entertainment brings this Ghost House picture to DVD with a solid presentation in both a widescreen (2.35:1) and full screen (1.33:1). The image has a mix of tones, from warm to very cold that help bathe the scenes and define the atmosphere. A very clean image with no noticeable issues, distortions or edge enhancements. For a low-budget film (reportedly only a couple of million), this is a high quality image and impressive for this release.
Boogyman 2 comes with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 and French Dolby Surround options. Quality is generally very good with most of the energy coming through the low end bass and the sub-woofer. Joseph LoDuca’s effective score breathes through the surrounds at time, edging up the effectiveness of the scares and creating a solid ambiance. The audio lacks an edge - clarity in the high end - coming across a little soft and taking the score down a notch.
Commentary with Director Jeff Betancourt and Screenwriter Brian Sieve - As the commentary gets underway, director Jeff Betancourt serves as commentary facilitator, adding thoughts and posing questions to co-commentator and screenwriter Brian Sieve. Jeff is particularly energetic with this commentary as the two of them discuss the ideation of the story, the return of slasher origins and how they dealt with a restricted budget.
Commentary with Director Actors Tobin Bell and Danielle Savre and Producers Gary Bryman and Steve Hein - Tobin Bell has such a great voice that even in delivering a commentary he sounds sinister. This small group of actors and producers speak fondly of the making of the film and seem to enjoy themselves. They cover the approach to scenes, the shots they like and how many got sick with a bug likely kicked up after filming in the basement of the abandoned L.A. hospital.
Bringing Fear to Life: Makeup Effects from Storyboard to Screen - (4:54) – An interesting slideshow of images and footage comparing the storyboard with the final result, all set to Joseph LoDuca’s haunting score.
Previews - A ‘Coming to Blu-Ray’ promo and trailers for Resident Evil: Extinction, Dragon Wars, Zombie Strippers, 30 Days of Night, Black Water, Gabriel, Southland Tales and Rise: Blood Hunter and a spot for the Fearnet.com website.
Boogeyman 2 Trailer
Moving from the supernatural frights of the boogeyman, to the more slasher-flick exploration of so-called ‘boogeyphobia’, this sequel takes a definite new path to attain the jumps and jitters horror film fans can’t seem to get enough of. The film requires more than a few leaps of logic on this new stage, but manages to conjure sufficient tension and scares to achieve a level of satisfaction. The ending does seem to drag on longer than it needs to, but by the time the credits roll and all the twists and turns have been revealed, Boogeyman 2 proves to be an entertaining entry into the world of horror films, as small as the world seems to be to me now.