Beware the Boogeyman Poster

Beware the Boogeyman (2024) Review

I would have expected the new indie anthology film Beware the Boogeyman to have come out a while back, closer to the release of the widely hyped Stephen King adaptation, The Boogeyman. The inspiration is obvious, one scene even has a character holding a copy of Night Shift, the collection of King’s stories that brought it to most people’s attention. In any case, it’s out now and wants you to believe in it.

Beware the Boogeyman opens with Dr. Tristan Makenzie (Elissa Dowling, We Are Still Here, 16 Bits) the newest potential addition to Silverdale Psychiatric Hospital’s staff going in for her orientation on, of all days, a Sunday. Dr. Gabey Moon (Airisa Durand, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Amityville Poltergeist) meets her and tells her about a delusion shared by five residents of the facility for the criminally insane. A delusion that revolves around the entity known as The Boogeyman.

Written and directed by Calvin Morie McCarthy (Pillow Party Massacre, Insidious Inferno) this forms the wraparound as the two doctors go over the five individuals’ case files.

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McCarthy also wrote and directed Case File 1, which is that of Cathy McGowin (Chynna Rae Shurts, A Haunting in Ravenwood, Exorcism in Utero. She’s brought Glen (Rollyn Stafford, Marty in Transit, Cross Hollow) home to her house in the country. She says she’s going to freshen up, but the eerie green glow at the top of the stairs, and the bottle of pills in the bathroom, tell the viewer something entirely different.

With the Argentoesque lighting we frequently see in McCarthy’s films, and an animated story within the story, it makes for an amusing first segment.

In Case File 2 Writer/director Josh Dietrich (Kurt Vs Soup) tells us the story of the hospital’s most recent patient, Olivia (Nicolette Pullen, Mutant Vampires from the Planet Neptune, Directed by Evil). An artist living alone after some kind of trauma and taking a prescription with a host of side effects. They may include not remembering working on her newest painting. Or that might have been Chad’s (Jason Reynolds, Cold Chains, Hard Hearts and Bloody Hands, The Last Slay Ride) idea of a joke. Or, then again, it could be The Boogeyman.

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This is an odd segment that doesn’t go anywhere near the direction I expected it to. It has a couple of creepy scenes but doesn’t accomplish much beyond create some atmospheric moments that lack a proper payoff.

Beware the Boogeyman’s first male patient, Tommy Butler (Khail Duggan), is the subject of Case File 3. Tommy and his brother Ethan (James Luster, The Librarians, The Dinner Party) stop by their parent’s house after disposing of a body. Mom and Dad aren’t there anymore, but something else, be it a heavy dose of guilt or something supernatural, is.

Sound man Kai Pacifico Eng makes his directorial debut here with a potentially interesting story of a guilty mind that loses steam as it goes on too long and gives us too many shots of Tommy freaking out.

The fourth segment is by another first time director, Tim Coyle and goes in a somewhat meta direction. John Conroy (Steve Larkin, Tuesday Never Comes, Conjuring: The Beyond) and his new assistant Rose (Jax Kellington, Hishkenstien: After Dark, NoHo Deathblow), rather than beware the Boogeyman, go out seeking proof it exists. At least that’s what he says they’re doing.

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This segment features some enjoyably dark humour parodying ghost hunter shows.

Shawn Kendall (Calvin Morie McCarthy) is the subject of Beware the Boogeyman’s final segment. Fresh out of rehab, he lives with his mother (Marcella Laasch, 3 Flies in a Widow’s Web, Z Nation), who reminds him that The Boogeyman will get him if he’s a bad boy. And of course he is, already relapsing, smoking crack and drinking hand sanitizer.

If the previous segment was laced with dark comedy, this one delivers some outright farce such as Shawn stalking the creature while armed with a frying pan, as well as some equally creepy moments. In her debut as a writer and director, Chynna Rae Shurts gives the final a solid closer.

The wraparound ends on a satisfactory, if not entirely unexpected, note before the credits reassure us that no boogeymen were harmed in the making of this film.

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Beware the Boogeyman was very obviously shot on a miniscule budget, with many of the same names popping up in multiple positions behind the camera as well as acting. And for something this low budget, the cinematography and sound are both excellent. The creature, rendered via various actors in a mask, is kept mostly in the shadows, but when we do see it the results are good for a DIY film. Unfortunately, its handiwork is mostly kept off-screen.

While the middle segment feels like it drags, the other four stories are all varying degrees of entertaining, if nothing special. Anthology and microbudget fans should get the most enjoyment from Beware the Boogeyman. Others will find their response corresponding to their tolerance for this kind of indie film.

Beware the Boogeyman is available on Digital Platforms via Breaking Glass Pictures.

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