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Boogeyman **

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Be afraid. Be very... oh, screw it.

BOOGEYMAN **1/2

Starring: Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Lucy Lawless. Rated PG-13.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, an exclusive glimpse into the Hollywood filmmaking process, in which dashing young screenwriter Eric Kripke pitches his latest project, Boogeyman, to Mr. Greenlight, the fairy godfather of half-baked scripts in search of studio financing!

Eric, thanks for coming. Let’s hear your idea.

Sure thing, Mr. Greenlight! Take a look at the most successful horror films from the last few years. On the one hand, we’ve got a handful of time-tested brand names that are practically guaranteed an audience – remakes of movies like Dawn of the Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only this time around the stars are fresh, household names, and the special effects are cutting edge!

Sounds expensive, Eric.

Sure is, Mr. G! But thanks to blockbusters like The Ring and The Grudge, we now know that star power is overrated. Heck, the story doesn’t even have to make sense! All we really need are a few attractive young actors, some loud, well-timed blasts of atmospheric noise to make the kiddies jump out of their seats, and a healthy dose of CGI magic! That’s where Boogeyman comes in.

Who have you got lined up for the project?

We’ve got Barry Watson from Sorority Boys, Emily Deschanel – she played a dazzling young receptionist in Spider-Man 2 – and even Lucy Lawless!

Lucy Lawless? Excellent! Is there any nudity?

No, and don’t get too excited, she’s only in the movie for about five minutes.

Graphic violence?

No, and that’s part of its commercial viability! Boogeyman is PG-13 material, with enough cheap scares to please kids and adults. Lucky for us, the kids will be able to buy their own tickets, making our target audience that much bigger!

You’ve got a point. What’s it about?

As the movie opens, little Timmy sees his father abducted by the infamous Boogeyman, who’s not so much a man as a force of nature lurking in the dark, underneath the bed and inside the closets of suburbia. Fast-forward 15 years. Naturally, Timmy is scarred for life – he can’t look at a closet without falling into some kind of catatonic trace. But when his mother dies, he has to return home and face his childhood demon!

Sounds simple enough. How does it end?

Who cares? Needless to say, Timmy defeats the Boogeyman – I think he ends up smashing one of his old toys into pieces, or something like that. Either way, he banishes that creepy closet-dweller to an eternity in hell, and all is right with the world… at least until the sequel!

You’ve certainly got my attention, Eric, but before I give you the nod, tell me this: Why should I sign off on Boogeyman, as opposed to all the other cheap slasher flicks that cross my desk?

Mr. G, I’ll be the first to admit that the movie makes no sense. The ending is arbitrary, and there’s not a whole lot of imagination in play here – we’re counting on those loud, unexpected crashes and thuds to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats. But the actors are competent, and the story is never boring. It’s mindless entertainment, with a few eerie twists and enough suspense to keep the audience riveted right up until the final frame. Granted, it’s suspense of the cheapest order, but hey, that’s better than anything The Grudge had to offer, right?

For damn sure! I’ve heard better, but I’ve heard a lot worse, too. This isn’t a bad start, but next time, bring a little more substance to the table. And congratulations, you’ve got the greenlight!

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