31 Days of Horror: Stephen King’s The Boogeyman thrills

The Boogeyman - Courtesy 20th Century Studios
The Boogeyman - Courtesy 20th Century Studios /

At least one Stephen King film adaptation must be included in any Halloween viewing list, and I am including The Boogeyman on mine. It’s a newer film that was released this year, so I definitely want to mix some new flicks in with the old tried and true selections.

The Boogeyman began its life as one of the short stories included in King’s collection Night Shift, and that story is the reason I cannot sleep with my closet door open to this very day. Yes, I know I am a grown woman, but that story scared the hell out of teenage me.

As with most adaptations, the film is slightly different from its source material, but thankfully the differences work well. And the bones of the story are still basically the same, built around a traumatized, grieving man named Lester Billings, who has lost three children to what he believes is the boogeyman that lives in a closet.

Lester shows up at the home office of therapist (and widower) Will Harper, and tells Harper his sad story. Unfortunately, something followed Lester to the Harper home, and now Will and his two daughters Sadie and Sawyer are in danger.

Like a lot of modern horror, The Boogeyman leans hard into grief as a theme

The Boogeyman
The Boogeyman – Courtesy 20th Century Studios /

It’s bad enough that the little family is still grieving a loss of their own, now they are being menaced by the evil entity that Lester Billings brought into their house. It’s pretty likely that he didn’t mean to put the family in peril, but now Sadie has to fight to save her family.

When she visits Billings’ home, she encounters his wife Rita, who definitely believes her story of the boogeyman. But, will Rita be a help or a hinderance? And can Sadie save her father and her little sister?

The Boogeyman boasts a great, emotional storyline, some pretty good scares and a solid cast overall, but props must be given to Sophie Thatcher (Yellowjackets), who plays Sadie, as well as David Dastmalchian (The Last Voyage of the Demeter)’s Lester Billings. And though her role is smaller, Marin Ireland (The Dark and the Wicked) is also great as Rita. She is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

The Boogeyman is currently streaming on Hulu.

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