Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Boogeyman 3 (USA, 2008)

(Spoilers.) The vagaries of eBay. You buy a €1 DVD of some film, say The Boogeyman (1980 / trailer), and get the DVD, keeping it sooooo long in your "to-watch pile" that by the time you pull the DVD case out the pasted label has fallen off of the disc inside and you see it's actually a bootleg ripped onto a normal CD. So you pop it into your player anyways, thinking it's finally time to watch one of the rare Ulli Lommel films that supposedly doesn't suck, and what do you know, you've actually bought a double DVD, with Thai subtitles, of Donkey Punch (2008 / trailer) and something called Boogeyman 3 (2008). There was a franchise? How did we miss that?
Whatever. Boogeyman 3 may not have been the film we wanted — but, hey! Better than nothing. And so it came to our watching the third and final installment of the now-moribund non-Lommel franchise, which lived and died quickly within a span of four years, with The Boogeyman (2005 / trailer), The Boogeyman 2 (2007 / trailer) and this baby here, Boogeyman 3...
Trailer to
Boogeyman 3:

And while most blind dates we have ever had were truly a disaster, this one was surprisingly amusing. Sure, not all that intelligent and possibly a bit affected and at times almost irrational, but not bad-looking at all, not to mention relatively entertaining and quick and easy — we like them easy — and with some nice if not oversized breasts, both braless under tight t-shirts and, at one point, delightfully exposed. Yep, we might not date this one again, but the date gave us everything we wanted that night, if a bit clumsily and without much emotion, almost by rote. (But, actually, if your thing is hematolagnia, this film offers of rivers of hemoglobin, so bring some tissues when you watch it.) 
It must be said that director Gary Jones, who long ago made his directorial debut with the wonderfully cheesy Mosquito (1994 / trailer), does like that moving camera, those creeping shots that infer danger encroaching upon the unsuspecting. It works, sometimes, but like most candy it can also get tiresome if in overkill and at the wrong time. That said, he does manage to film the movie in a mostly convincing manner, one that is never visually boring, and he has a good eye for the staging of the creative deaths of body-count flicks like this one. And as you surely know, Boogeyman 3 is very much a body-counter along the line of hundreds of others, if more in the direction of the supernatural unstoppable killer (e.g., Nightmare on Elm Street [1984 / trailer], et al.) than the physically real (e.g., The Town that Dreaded Sundown [1976 / trailer], et al.). 
Since we were watching a fully unintentionally bought but obviously illegally sold version of the film, which means that we have no way of knowing for sure whether cuts were original, we probably should not complain about the two absolutely atrocious cases of bad editing, but we will. In both cases, they occur during conversations: the first time Sarah tells her friends about the Boogeyman, and then when she's talking to her squeeze, David (Chuck Hittinger of Stalked at 17 [2012 / trailer] and Sharknado [2013 / trailer]), in his dorm room in the presence of his roommate [whose later death is the least creative of the film]. Both scenes that conceivably would have been dreadfully boring and long had they not called in an obviously drunken mohel with dull teeth to edit the sequence. Impressively jarring. 
Boogeyman 3 opens with the sad and unglamorous Audrey (Nikki Sanderson [among other things, a glamour model in real life]) returning home, Daddy (Tobin Bell) dead,* and before you can say "Don't be stupid!" she reads his journals and suddenly there's something in the dark. It kills her nice doggy, and then she gets pulled under her bed by a shadowy and mysterious force to what one thinks is her demise — but no, once we are introduced to the true heroine of the tale, the delectable college psychology student Sarah (Erin Cahill of Creature Unknown [2004 / trailer], The Watcher [2016 / trailer] and Cut to the Chase [2016 / trailer]), Audrey suddenly pops up again in Sarah's dorm room, apparently off her rocker, to sob to her best friend that she is being hunted by the Boogeyman and is going to die. Audrey, of course, comes across very much an unhinged, minor-league Cassandra, finally solidifying her position by claiming something along the lines of "You don't believe me, but you will." 
* We don't really know how or when, but it happened in Boogeyman 2 (2007 / trailer), so the Boogeyman surely did it.
Needless to say, Audrey who-should-already-be-dead-but-isn't doesn't last long — perhaps one too many foreshadowing scene (i.e., false scare), but not that long temporally — and Sarah actually sees the Boogeyman, so before long she too is playing Cassandra to her party-hearty dorm friends and calm & serious school mentor, the nicely DILFy Kane (Matt Rippy of Day of the Dead [2008] and Crystal Skulls [2014 / trailer]). Unluckily, due to the suicide of her mommy and subsequent (but since overcome) breakdown, she has a "past" of seeing things, so no one believes her, especially since, going by the look of things, she is progressively spiraling downwards into typical paranoiac and obsessive behavior. Sarah comes to realize, through some pretty nifty hallucinations (though none, despite the blood — and this film has a lot of blood — ever reach the unnerving scariness of some of the dreams in the first and original Nightmare on Elm Street), that the Boogeyman is actually out to slaughter not just her friends, but the entire dorm. Can she stop him?
As she goes mega-Cassandra, she completely fails to see something that is very obvious to the viewer: if the Boogeyman (supposedly) can't hurt you if you don't believe in him, then you shouldn't be in danger if you don't know about him. So by telling everyone about him, she is actually facilitating his ability to do harm. (Sort of like with the contemporary US press and all those GOP crackpots that hog the headlines.) The light in her head does go on eventually, but by the time she realizes that the Boogeyman is playing her like a Stradivari, it could be too late...
Needless to say, Sarah is hot. She fills her tight beaters in a way that made us wish we were a woman, too. As a character, she is surprisingly likeable and intelligent, so the ease with which she gets played by the Boogeyman almost comes across as simple expediency on the part of the scriptwriter Brian Sieve (The Possession of Hannah Grace [2018 / trailer]). On the other hand, if you see the apparently cis-gender Boogeyman as representational of the alpha male, then her blindness is more a reflection of the inability to see the obvious that so many otherwise intelligent women who continually "run into the door" suffer. (Then again, Boogeyman 3 could just be a mindless supernatural body-counter in which nothing should be read at all.)
Boogeyman 3 has some nice kills — which is why one watches flicks like this, anyways — even if all are obvious long before they happen. The fate of the film's annoyingly token Black guy, the mega-stoner Lukas (WB "B-Dawg" Alexander),* hit particularly close to our home, while the death of the Jeremy (George Maguire of Spiderhole [2010 / trailer] and Violent City [2015 / trailer]) gives new meaning to stretching and flexibility. The best death, however, is undoubtedly reserved for Lindsey (Mimi Michaels of Backwoods [2008 / trailer], Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 [2011 / trailer] and Relentless Justice [2015 / trailer]), who gets to enjoy a total blood-flood overkill (it makes its inspiration, The Shining [1980 / trailer], look a bit wimpy) as foreplay to suffering a nasty fate that one or two of us probably came close to experiencing in real life as little children (we sure did).
Really, couldn't the scriptwriter made him the one with a girlfriend, maybe even also another minority, so that the total whiteness (and obvious case of tokenism) of this film wasn't so frigging glaring? One can literally count the "minorities" in this film on one hand and still have fingers left over.
So, cool kills — but, nevertheless, there are structural flaws that you really have to be willing to overlook to "enjoy" the proceedings. The sudden reappearance of Audrey is not as idiotic as one might think, despite how the Boogeyman tends to quickly (if painfully) kill everyone but her and Sarah: that he toys with those two young women makes sense, once the plot point arises that to be able to do what he does (Kill! Kill! Kill!), one has to believe in him — thus, Audrey is left alive to make Sarah believe, and Sarah is left alive to make everyone else believe.
The problem is, though the film claims that is the power behind his deadliness and makes this fact the MacGuffin driving Sarah's actions — and cements the truthiness of the fact with the death scene of Sarah's mentor Kane, just after she utters the immortal line, to paraphrase: "Oh my God, you do believe me!" — most of the deaths in the film don't require "belief" to occur. Okay, maybe Audrey had a tinge of belief while reading her dad's journal, but, really: How the heck can a dog believe in the Boogeyman? And while both Lukas and Jeremy do mention the name "Boogeyman" once or twice, neither specifically believes in him at the time of their deaths: the supernatural being simply starts haunting them and then kills them. Ditto with David's roommate Ben (Eley Gabel, also seen somewhere in World War Z [2013 / trailer]), who really doesn't believe in anything but breasts, something he is in pursuit of when the Boogeyman comes for him. (In the case of Lindsey, on the other hand, she explicitly and doubtfully says something like "What if he's real?" just before she has her transcendental experience.)*
A question that popped into our mind by the end, regarding the Boogeyman, is "Is he gay?" We couldn't help but notice that while his kills were gender-variable, the only victims he took home with him — that is: transported out of our reality and into his own — were all male. Something oddly Dahmer-like in that, which ultimately adds a sort of repressed-sexuality aspect to his killings...
But while it would have been nice had the plot truly held water (see: the original Nightmare on Elm Street), holding water is not something that the slasher cum body-count genre is known for; when it shows up in a movie of this sort, it is generally an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
So, disregarding that major but common flaw (as is normally expected), Boogeyman 3 has fun deaths, tons of blood, passable acting, looks relatively good for its Bulgarian-shot budget, and really doesn't overstay its welcome, so in the end the movie definitely delivers the basic goods of its genre. That alone makes it more watchable then thousands of flicks out there.
Despite leaving no survivors, Boogeyman 3 nevertheless leaves the possibility of a sequel — it could easily be set in a police station — but seeing how long it's been since this film's release (15 years!), a fourth installment seems highly unlikely.

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