Quite an announcement that Rob Savage made in an interview: “The Boogeyman” is said to be the scariest Stephen King film adaptation ever. Hear hear!
When filmmakers label their own films with superlatives and praise them, this (PR) tactic can either fuel interest and ensure full cinema halls or – and this is now much more the case – fuel skepticism in the audience and scare off even absolute fans. In classic advertising, such an approach with potentially misleading attributes could very quickly fall into the area of unfair advertising – and therefore lead to injunctive relief and claims for damages.
In fact, a few months ago, two film fans sued the traditional studio Universal Pictures for damages of at least five million US dollars. They rented the movie Yesterday through Amazon Prime for $3.99 after a trailer for it led them to believe actress Ana de Armas would be in it (via Rolling Stone). However, according to judge Stephen Wilson, the fact that it was actually cut from the finished film should be regarded as misleading, since a trailer is essentially an advertisement to sell the corresponding film.
A final verdict is still pending, but what is certain is that studios and filmmakers should think carefully about what they want to “sell” and how in each individual case. Or they really are absolutely convinced of their creative work. That could well be the case with director Rob Savage. The British filmmaker filmed Stephen King’s 1973 short story The Boogeyman, which, along with 19 other short stories, is part of the Night Shift anthology.
Speaking to Gamesradar, Savage is convinced that his horror film was “the scariest Stephen King adaptation”:
“The Shining is obviously the scariest Stephen King film adaptation, but I don’t think there’s a King film adaptation that’s as scary as this film. This film approaches the source material in a way that is unlike any other King adaptation. We wanted it to feel like we were staying true to his writing. Me and [co-writer] Mark [Heyman] have always revisited the warmth of the characters that you feel in King’s work. No matter how grim the subject may be, there is a glimmer of hope. He is not a cynical author.”
If you want to know what you’re getting into with The Boogeyman, take a look at the trailer.
“The Boogeyman”: The fear of evil from the shadows
In The Boogeyman, sisters Sadie (Sophie Thatcher from Yellowjackets) and Sawyer Harper (Vivien Lyra Blair) deal with the death of their mother. Although her father Will (Chris Messina) is a therapist, he is unable to support her because of his own grief. But soon the pain of loss gives way to the fear of death when a patient drags something into the Harper’s house. Something that targets the pain of its victims.
Director Savage was certainly not without a certain degree of pride when he told Empire that changes had to be made to the editing after test screenings. During one scene, the audience screamed so loudly that they didn’t even notice the subsequent dialogue. After such a test screening, King himself is said to have asked those responsible to bring the horror film to the cinemas.
Savage should be absolutely sure of one thing, though: some hard-hitting horror aficionados are so hard-nosed that nothing seems to frighten them anymore. From June 2, 2023, when “The Boogeyman” starts in German cinemas, the audience can see for itself whether he has not exaggerated with his statement.