Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #349
Number of Views: One
Release Date: October 18, 2008 (Screamfest Film Festival), January 20, 2009 (United States)
Country of Origin: United States
Box Office: $6,882,157
Running Time: 94 minutes
Director: Gary Jones
Producers: Sam Raimi
Screenplay: Brian Sieve
Special Effects: Robert Kurtzman, Yana Stoyanova
Visual Effects: Ryan Spike Dauner
Cinematography: Lorenzo Senatore
Score: Joseph LoDuca
Editing: John Quinn
Studios: Stage 6 Films, Ghost House Pictures, B and G Derivatives Holdings
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Stars: Erin Cahill, Chuck Hittinger, Mimi Michaels, Matt Rippy, Nikki Sanderson, W.B. Alexander, Elyes Gabel, George Maguire, Jayne Wisener, Kate Maberly, Todd Jensen, Nikolai Sotirov, Vladimir Yossifov, Richie Mantaliev, Galina Talkington
Suggested Audio Candy
Joseph LoDuca “Main Theme”
I’ve never been one to follow convention. I blame Fleetwood Mac for that. When Lindsey Buckingham suggested so eloquently that I should go my own way, I guess I just took it a little too literally thus I never really cared much for keeping up with the Joneses. Sometimes I operate ass-about-face and Boogeyman 3 is living proof of that truth. The first two films in this faltering series, neither of which I have seen, are reasonably well-known, likely due to Sam Raimi’s involvement but neither were met particularly graciously upon their release. The first was damned on account of questionable and overused CGI, while its sequel addressed the issue by making its killer more tangible; rooted in the real world, making for what is regarded a fairly standard slasher romp.
When I learned that Gary Jones’ third installment is commonly referred to, not as the runt of the litter as expected, but as the closest the series has come to finding its algorithm, I was intrigued enough to take a further look. The Boogeyman franchise no longer commanded an audience at the box office so, in some ways, there seemed less pressure on the third entry to perform. Playing to the straight-to-DVD crowd’s sensibilities affords Jones a little more freedom to operate, particularly when it comes to grue as it doesn’t need pander to the PG-13 masses any longer. Moreover, two apparently flawed attempts at attaining its fan base arms Jones with precious knowledge of what not to do. His plentiful experience behind the camera (Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove, Spiders) coupled with a more extravagant budget than he had been provided previously made for far too attractive proposition to pass up.
As much as I march to the beat of my own drum, sometimes I miss a beat. Regardless of the fact that I was entering without pre-formed expectation, watching Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook the night previous possibly wasn’t my most astute move in hindsight. Having already broken bread with a bona-fide boogeyman, how could a by-the-numbers all-American slasher flick ever dream to cut the mustard? Jones’ tale features a cast of homogeneous cookie-cutter characters and precious little in the way of invention or an original approach to its themes. Thus the significant burden falls squarely onto the boogeyman of the title’s shoulders and I’d rather face up against this grungy-deadbeat over Mister Babadook any day of the week.
Cerebral isn’t a term I would choose when describing Boogeyman 3. In many ways it most closely resembles the slew of mediocre A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels which surfaced during the nineties; with decent production values but little to no real grace or poise. The central crux revolves around psychology major Sarah Morris (Erin Cahill) who unwittingly becomes sympathy sponge for the troubled Audrey (Nikki Sanderson) and inadvertently implicates herself in something rather ominous courtesy of the boogeyman, who turns his attentions toward systematically slaughtering her friends in all manner of heinous ways.
So about those buddies. We have the token black guy, the raucous rocker, the fickle blonde best friend, the dashing doubting Thomas boyfriend, and his Pledge-week obsessed room-mate. All present and correct. Throw in a vaguely condescending resident shrink and we have ourselves some cannon fodder. It is never a case of whether they will meet their respective makers, likely in the precise order you are expectant of, but how each will succumb. This is where Boogeyman 3 avoids the early bath we’ve had running in its honor since the opening credits. The kills, whilst easier to spot than a hippopotamus on roller blades wearing neon leg warmers, are at least inventive. Moreover, there are a couple of well-staged standout scenes amidst the bread and butter cheap jolts and scares.
This is perhaps Boogeyman 3’s biggest failing. It declines to significantly quicken the heart-rate and not through lack of trying either. There is so much emphasis on showing its nightcrawler at every available opportunity that any ambiguity is squandered. When you consider its premise and the exclusive opportunity to tap into our most nagging childhood fears, it seems a little negligent. In addition, the boogeyman himself is not nearly menacing enough in appearance, despite being in possession of a pair of perished piano plonkers that Richard Clayderman would kill for. He looks more the nephew of Mortiis than our darkest fears personified and I half expected him to give the devil horned salute and strum his air guitar as opposed to actually getting any killing done.
There is, however, another saving grace and that is borne more of the concept than execution. According to allegory the boogeyman grows in stature the more people believe in his presence and, as the penny drops throughout the sorority, this affords him ample celebrity status to encourage he exhibit his malevolent bidding more openly. Despite this, Boogeyman 3 suffers from too much exposition, anemic tension, and far too much identity. I know one thing for sure, if Mister Babadook shared a closet with this particular night terror, he’d flunk out of college faster than Rodney Dangerfield. Grab a sixer, round-up some non-entities, toke on that bong hard upon commencement, and enjoy this for what it is – a well-earned 94 minute hiatus for your cerebellum. Just don’t forget to check beneath your valance before you bed down as I think I may have left a half-eaten Snickers under there.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 6/10
Grue Factor: 3/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers & Pelt-Nuzzlers: Mercifully, there are enough malfunctioning air duct exhaust fans, discarded devouring trunks, blood disgorging laundry dryers, and head-butting bongs (yes, you did read that correctly) to keep things brisk and painless. The laundry scene is actually something of a doozy as is a premonition of an entire dorm-load of vivisected seniors which shows that the boogeyman’s messy habits should see him fitting in just fine around campus. There’s even the obligatory bathtub scene just to convince us against switching channels. Question: When is a soapy titty not a good titty? Answer: Never. It’s always a most delightful titty.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
© Copyright: Rivers of Grue™ Shadow Spark Publishing™