The new horror film The Boogeyman does something very unusual as compared to other recent horror movies. It places importance on both the characters in the film and the tropey jumpscares, which is why I think it is highly engaging and connects very deeply because of the well-written characters. This does not mean that it’s completely devoid of genre conventions. On the contrary, it is totally a conventional movie, and you might see the twist coming, yet there is something very tender about the film that has been wonderfully brought forward by the performances. The story revolves around the Harper family, which was grieving their mother’s death.
Will Harper lost his wife and now has to look after the two children. Sadie, the elder daughter, was growing distant from Will, and Sawyer, the younger one, was just too young, but she too missed her mother. She constantly reminded Will of this feeling, and he tried to act playful, but the reality was that he felt he was never going to be enough for them. The family dynamic was not great, and then something terrifying happened that set off a chain of harrowing events that could potentially end the whole family. Sadie is a character that really makes the film what it is. The performance by Sophie Thatcher really captures the yearning for a loved one and the courage one has to show in the face of danger. Here’s a closer look at her character, Sadie:
Sophie Thatcher As Sadie Harper:
Sadie didn’t realize how deeply she missed her mother. Will was trying to put up a front of being a caring single father, but she could sense that he wasn’t fully present. She was lost in her own thoughts, and the consequence was that she was also going into her shell. Her best friend at school was a girl named Beth, and something had happened between them that fractured the bond they once shared. Beth was now part of the’mean girls’ gang, and it seemed that Sadie’s days in school would mostly be spent in the loo, hiding away from everybody. She needed to be comforted, but there was also a counter-persona of being strong and hyper-independent that was protecting her wounded self. She didn’t want to seem vulnerable, and as a consequence, she didn’t reach catharsis. Sadie’s way of remembering her mother was to wear her dresses. It made others uncomfortable, even Will. He didn’t want to have that awkward conversation with her, and he was busy with his patients. Will was a psychiatrist and worked from home. He had set up an office there, and the clients could see how he managed the two kids.
Sadie and Sawyer were mostly left on their own. One day, a man named Lester Billings came to see Will, and everything changed. Lester committed suicide at the Harper house. He was deeply disturbed after the deaths of three of his daughters, and people suspected him to be the murderer. The police came and pinned the suicide on the guilt he must have been feeling, but Sadie’s intuition told her something else. She listened to the taped conversation of the session and found that Lester had told Will about a creature that preyed on children when parents weren’t paying attention. She even found a drawing of this creature. Sawyer had been having nightmares. Was she actually seeing this creature?
Sadie didn’t want to ask Will for help, as he never talked to her about his own feelings. He even wanted to get rid of all her mother’s stuff. The painful memories may be overwhelming, but he didn’t have the courtesy to ask Sadie if she wanted to get rid of all her mother’s stuff. She was a high schooler and understood that it was hard for him, too. But Will’s behavior and his unwillingness to face Sadie made her go to Beth for help. Through her, she found out about Rita Billings, Lester’s widow. What she found was beyond reason and science. According to Rita, the creature embodied the myth of the boogeyman. The boogeyman, who in folklore always preyed on children when it got dark, was not a myth. It was actually real and had existed right beside humans. Sadie didn’t believe it at first and even took Sawyer to see a therapist, who guided her to expel all her fears. It wasn’t going to work because the creature was real, and Sadie would later have the responsibility to protect her sister. She desperately needed the warmth of her mother. She found an old videotape that had recordings of her mother. Sadie, who didn’t believe in the supernatural, was willing to try anything to talk to her mother, even through superstitious measures.
When Sadie, too, started to have nightmares and inexplicable events started to happen to her, that’s when she realized that the creature was real. She was afraid but couldn’t abandon Sawyer. She tried telling Will about the creature, but he didn’t believe her. He even suspected her of using drugs and believed that the tale of the creature was a hallucination. After this, her trust in Will was completely broken. When Rita contacted her, Sadie couldn’t refuse, as Rita was the only one who had survived the creature. Rita was, in fact, using Sadie as bait to bring out the creature and have a shot at killing it. She tied Sadie up in her house and waited for the creature to show up. Lester’s death in the Harper house had made the creature connected to Sawyer and Sadie. As it attacked kids whose parents were not paying attention to them, the Harper house was his next feasting ground. Rita knew this, which is why she tied Sadie up. The creature did come out, but Rita managed to injure it. Sadie escaped the Billings house while the creature killed Rita. The silver lining was that she knew the creature could be killed.
Sadie tried to inform Will that they were in trouble as the injured creature was coming to get Sawyer, but it was too late. He got to the family first, and it seemed they were dead. Sadie found Sawyer hiding with a light source around, as she, too, had figured out that the creature couldn’t bear the light. It thrived in the darkness. Sadie didn’t leave Will behind and went into the dark basement, where the creature could be hidden. The two sisters were finally working as a team, and they managed to burn the creature and save Will. The house burned down as well, symbolizing that they had moved on from the mother’s death. Will must have finally realized that he wasn’t being committed to his fatherhood. He even admitted this in front of the kids in a therapy session. He was ready to be an attentive and caring father who wasn’t just marking time with the kids. Sadie suspected to the very end that the creature may have survived. Actually, her fear was that Will could soon turn back to his previous self, where he wouldn’t believe her or just become an insecure father with no love to give. Sadie needed to trust Will, as she, too, had not opened up in front of him. She, too, needed to come out of her shell and perhaps bond with Beth again. One thing was sure: she knew she had her mother’s memories with her, which gave her strength, and facing the creature was a testament to her courage. If she overcame that monster, she could overcome anything.