JANUARY 24, 2009
I was really hoping Boogeyman 3 would at least live up to the surprising quality of Boogeyman 2, which eschewed the supernatural nonsense of the original in favor of a straight up slasher. But the supernatural force is back, and while it still plays out like a slasher film (as opposed to the haunted house-ish original), it still severely underwhelms in any category.
For starters it doesn’t seem to make any damn sense. The opening scene has a girl who looks like she’s 15 getting naked, and then dragged under her bed by the boogeyman. But then she resurfaces a few scenes later, not even injured. Did the boogeyman drag her under there and then just chill out? Plus, the movie steals a page from New Nightmare and introduces the concept that the BELIEF in the boogeyman is what makes him come to life. This results in a potentially great finale, in which our heroine takes credit for the murders in order to kill everyone’s belief in him and spare their lives. But then we get not one but TWO epilogues that prove he’s still around, which renders her sacrifice pointless and the movie even dumber (it doesn’t help that the 2nd epilogue, which concerns the predictable fate of a pair of new students, runs about 5 minutes too long).
Another crippling factor is the over-generic-ness of the entire college. Everyone listens to vague instrumental music that suits their character (i.e. the black pothead listens to some Hendrix-y “trippy” rock), and all of the posters on the wall are equally nondescript. I understand that the film is a low budget production and thus having a Metallica poster or the newest U2 song is out of the question, but come on! I’m sure a band like Saliva would let you throw something up for cheap. The saddest example comes when a kid is shown playing a fake Warhawk type game with a generic PS2 controller. It’s weak enough, but several shots of his room reveals that he doesn’t even have a game console (generic or otherwise)! And when he pauses the game it just freezes the image, there’s no ‘pause menu’ type screen. All of this just keeps an audience from ever believing a single thing that occurs, supernatural or otherwise.
Also, a major plot point requires most of the college to be listening to the campus radio station. I don’t know about yours, but at my school, NO ONE listened to the campus radio. I had a show once, and when I’d have a contest for a free CD, I would just ask for someone to call. No trivia, no “be caller 20” nonsense, just call. And I’d never get a winner.
One department that they DO deliver on is the gore/splatter. Like 2, this is far removed from the PG-13ity of the original; the deaths here are impressively gory, and there are sets literally drenched in blood. Christ, our heroine plays her final scene looking like the broad from The Descent. And since you don’t really care about any of the kids thanks to their generic interests, seeing them die is hardly a problem. I noticed a while back that whenever a character is really likable, they don’t usually make a crowd-pleasing “awesome” death for their demise (Randy in Scream 2, for example, is pretty much killed offscreen).
It also continues one tradition of the series – an incredibly thin link to the previous film provided by a file photo of the actor who they couldn’t afford to bring back. Last time the Tobin Bell character revealed that he treated Barry Watson’s character from the original, this time the girl at the beginning is shown to be Bell’s daughter. We know this because she goes into her house and stops to look longingly at a photo of him, before reading his journal (which is accompanied by a voiceover guy trying really hard to sound like Bell). I really hope that Boogeyman 4, should it come to pass, focuses on the locksmith who inexplicably provided a key lock for her bathroom:
The extra features are slim. No commentary track (thank Christ), just a pair of worthless deleted scenes and a trio of behind the scenes pieces that are more or less exactly what you’d expect (though the 2nd one, concerning the Bulgarian location, is at least kind of interesting due to the fact that it’s Bulgaria and not Canada). Sony also provides a few trailers for most of their other upcoming DTV sequels (Screamers 2 is left out for some reason).
So it’s not terrible, but still pretty weak. The college campus setting is always welcome*, and some really interesting ideas are presented, but screenwriter Brian Sieve lives up to his name and lets them all fall through the cracks. If there was ever a movement to do remakes for DTV sequels, this one would be near the top of my list.
What say you?
*Both the college in the movie and my own college in Massachusetts have a Hammond building and a Sanders building. If their school’s cafeteria was located on a suspended building over a major street (as mine was), then I would have called shenanigans.