Pros: Good story, decent acting, above average special effects, neat twist ending
Cons: Fairly unrealistic depiction of mental illness and mental hospitals. May be too gory for some.
I stumbled upon Boogeyman 2 (2007) in my travels through my cable provider's movie channels today, and I was pleasantly surprised. I fancy myself a horror movie connoisseur of sorts, having seen hundreds of them since my obsession with the genre started in the early 1990s, and this was better than many I have seen recently.
The plot: The movie opens on the scene of a young girl's birthday party 10 years ago. Young Laura opens her presents and blows out the candles on her birthday cake. Her brother (Henry) is afraid to leave the table to use the bathroom, because he is afraid that he will be attacked by the "boogeyman" in the dark hallway outside the dining room. His father goes to change the lightbulb in the hall, and he is savagely disemboweled by the titular entity -- witnessed, of course, by the young siblings. Mother is found dead, also a victim of foul play courtesy of the same killer.
Flash forward ten years, and Henry (played by Matt Cohen) is checking out of a mental hospital after being successfully treated for his "Boogeyphobia." (Yes, that is really what it is called in the movie.) He meets up with Laura (played by Danielle Savre), and discovers that she has been as traumatized as he was by their parents' murders. She is also terrified of the Boogeyman, and he convinces her to check into the same hospital where he was treated.
Laura joins a therapy group whose members include: a germaphobe; a bulimic; an agoraphobe; and a "cutter" (self-mutilator). The group is led by Dr. Jessica Ryan (Renee O'Connor) and supervised by Dr. Allen (Tobin Bell, of "Saw" fame). The purpose of the group is to get the patients to confront and overcome their darkest fears. Jessica is convinced that the Boogeyman is real, while Drs. Ryan and Allen try to convince her that he is not -- her belief in him is just residual trauma from having witnessed her parents being murdered. (Just like the old "It's just the wind" cliche in old haunted house movies.)
Naturally, the Boogeyman starts appearing, and people start dying. But who is responsible? Is he a supernatural figure, or is he one of the staff or patients? Therein lies the mystery. I had it figured out about halfway through, but it is still fun.
For horror movie buffs, there is a lot of really good gore in this movie. The writer and director got pretty creative with some of the death scenes, and the special effects were a little shocking at times. In one scene, a beating heart is ripped from someone's chest... In another, a person is pretty much eaten alive (from the inside out) by insects. Yeah, pretty gruesome stuff, but very well done.
This is actually a pretty decent horror flick. The acting is passable; there is a neat little mystery to it; and the special effects and gore are above average. The movie was just the right length, too. I have noticed that a lot of horror movies spend the first half hour or 45 minutes building up to the first death scene; however, that is not the case with Boogeyman 2. The story gets moving almost immediately, and it moves right along until the climax.
I have seen all three Boogeyman films, and this might be the best of the trilogy. Lots of scares, lots of nastiness -- much better than I expected.