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Boogeyman 2 (2007)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 1/8/2008

All Ratings out of
Video: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/25/2007

It has been said that the opposite of love isn't hate, but rather apathy -- it is much worse to have no feelings towards something then to have negative feelings towards it. Following that line of thought, hating a movie would be nowhere near as bad as finding it forgetful. If you hate it, at least it created some sort of feeling in you. 2005's Boogeyman is a movie that I know that I saw (I reviewed it!), but I remember very little about it, save that it starred Barry Watson and one of the Deschanel sisters. So, as I sat down to watch Boogeyman 2, I had few expectations...and I was still disappointed.

Boogeyman 2 is only tenuously related to the first film and is essentially a sequel in name only. As the film opens, we meet young siblings Henry and Laura (played by Jarrod Bailey and Sammi Hanratty respectively), who see their parents murdered by a hooded figure (presumably The Boogeyman). The film then jumps ahead 10 years. Henry (now played by Matt Cohen) has been institutionalized due to the lingering trauma related to his parents' death. However, he is doing better and has decided to move on with his life, and seek a new job. Laura (now played by Danielle Savre), always the supportive sister, is very proud of Henry's progress. Apparently she's so impressed that she decides to check into the hospital which Henry has just left. There, she meets Dr. Mitchell Allen (Tobin Bell) and Dr. Jessica Ryan (Renee O'Connor) who promise to help her. She also meets the other patients, who include a germophobe, an agoraphobic, a bulimic, and a self-mutilator. Before Laura can even settle in, one of the patients is killed. It's ruled an accident, but Laura is convinced that The Boogeyman is stalking her. Before long, the patients find themselves trapped on the unit with a killer on the loose.

Boogeyman 2 was directed by Jeff Betancourt, who is making his directorial debut here, but he's served as the editor on such well-known films as The Grudge, The Good Girl, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. As an editor, it's been Betancourt's job to make sure that the story in a movie flows and makes sense. So one has to wonder who was minding the store or what was going on with the script with Brian Sieve (who is also making his feature film debut), as the story in the film is a tangled mess. (One also can't help but wonder how executive producer Robert Tapert allowed all of this to happen.)

If you are one of the few fans of Boogeyman, you are going to dislike this film, as it negates nearly everything from the first movie. Unlike that movie, Boogeyman 2 never takes any time to define what The Boogeyman is or what he wants. The first act of the movie hinges on the idea that Henry has been released from the hospital and that Laura then essentially takes his place. And yet, the movie never really explains this to us, other than the fact that she witnessed her parents' death. Once Laura gets to the hospital, the movie becomes a carbon-copy of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (with a dash of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.) We are introduced to a group of stereotypical teens who have stereotypical diagnoses and we then see them killed in an ironic fashion involving their fears. And we now have to watch characters who are trapped in the most deserted hospital since Halloween II. The movie quickly stops being a supernatural film and becomes a slasher movie (and according to the commentary, this is what the producers wanted). When this becomes apparent, only those who haven't been in the room while the movie is playing won't be able to figure out the ending. We also get some references to Alien and House which come off as lazy instead of an homage. And I'm still seeking an answer to my main question: If The Boogeyman is stalking Laura, then why does he attempt to kill everyone else as well?

The lax story means that Betancourt has very little to work with. The movie is competently made as far as the visuals and the overall look of the film, but there is no substance here. Again, the characters are all stereotypes and the movie does nothing to add any dimensions to them. Because of this, there is no suspense when we see the characters being threatened. Essentially, the viewer simply waits to see who is going to be killed next and how it's going to happen. Oddly, Betancourt and Sieve state on the audio commentary that this is what they wanted to avoid with the movie.

While Boogeyman wasn't a very good, or memorable, movie, it did present some interesting ideas. As stated in Boogeyman 2, the idea of The Boogeyman is a universal concept and something that most viewers can related too. Unfortunately, this movie does nothing to promote that idea and instead we get a very silly slasher movie. While that could be considered cheating, that would be OK is this was at least a serviceable slasher movie, but Boogeyman 2 is dull and lifeless. This movie should have stayed in the closet.

Boogeyman 2 does its best to scare children on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The DVD contains both the widescreen and full-frame versions of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The transfer looks pretty good as the image shows very little grain and no defects from the source material. This movie has a very dark look, but the action is always visible here. The few flashes of color look fine. But, several scenes lack in detail and there is some mild artifacting evident in some shots. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As with most modern horror films, Boogeyman 2 contains a great deal of sound effects and they come across fine here. The stereo effects are good, and well-used in the hospital scenes. There is a great deal of surround sound and subwoofer effects during the chase scenes, which at least makes the film a good listen.

The Boogeyman 2 DVD only has a few extras. We start with two AUDIO COMMENTARIES. The first features director Jeff Betancourt and writer Brian Sieve. This is an interesting commentary as the two certainly have a great deal of enthusiasm about the project. As noted above, it's noteworthy to point out their stated goals with the film and how they fly in the face of how I perceived the movie. Along with that, they do offer a great deal of info on the story, the actors, and the making of the movie. The second commentary has actors Tobin Bell and Danielle Savre and producers Gary Bryman and Steve Hein. This is a passable talk as well, as the producers share details on how the film came together and the actors give details about the day-to-day work on the movie. "Bringing Fear to Life: Makeup Effects from Storyboard to Screen" (5 minutes) is simply a series of stills, storyboards and clips which show the design and implementation of the FX makeup. This is set to music, as there's no comments from the cast or crew here. The final extra is the TRAILER for Boogeyman 2.

Review Copyright 2007 by Mike Long