Rated 2.0

I was never a big fan of 1982’s Poltergeist, but the scene where the little boy is terrorized in his darkened bedroom seems to have stuck in the zeitgeist of those churning out by-the-numbers horror films in Hollywood. Seemingly every other one of these flicks opens with a nod to that moment, offering up yet another take on the boy blocking up the closet, peeking beneath the bed, to retreat, cowering beneath the sheets.

So, 15 years after the obligatory opening rehash of above, a young man returns to the old, dark familial homestead to confront the titular beastie in his closet. That’s pretty much it for the script. In horror films, bone-headed characters are a dime a dozen, but the protagonist here seems to have drawn a line in the sand and demanded, “Bring it on!” for the title of King of the Boneheads. Repeatedly tossed about by the faux-poltergoosed, he simple-mindedly continues on in his determination to spend the night in the house, even as friends and family are knocked off in his stead.

The movie was produced by Sam Raimi, so one would expect more. The deranged force behind the Evil Dead series (before essentially being hitched for life to the Spider-man franchise), the man had a giddy eye for funhouse horror. Now content with simply producing genre entries (he had a modest success with last year’s remake of the Japanese Ju-on: The Grudge), at least he’s keeping his finger on the pulse. Or at least trying to.

Boogeyman ends up being a total and complete stylistic knock-off of the first Evil Dead, sans sense of humor. All bells and whistles to distract from the anemic scenario, it admittedly delivers with the cheap jolts and a handful of decent chills and manages to maintain a modest level of unease throughout. Adequate matinee fodder.