No Guest Found in this category
We’ve all grown up hearing about monsters lurking in the darkness, inside a closet or underneath the bed… but what’s really there when the lights turn off?
Based on the 1973 short story by Stephen King, The Boogeyman comes from a powerhouse of creatives including director Rob Savage (Host), producer Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) and writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place).
The film follows high school student Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer, who are reeling from the recent death of their mother and aren’t getting much support from their father, Will, a therapist who is dealing with his own pain. When a desperate patient unexpectedly shows up at their home seeking help, he leaves behind a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims.
Supanova had the privilege of sitting down with Savage to learn more about the film and what’s hiding amongst the shadows.
Savage was drawn to the project as he “read this story as a kid” and it “terrified” him back then.
“It stuck with me,” he adds. “It was the idea of trying to make an audience feel like a terrified kid in a dark bedroom again.
“Everyone has had that experience of thinking that there’s something under their bed, or in a dark closet, or hearing a strange noise in the middle of the night.
“It just felt like, if we could get people back to that primal place [and] we could make this creature terrifying again, that it could be an incredibly special movie.”
Savage notes that he “wanted to start from a place of familiarity… start from a place where you can see yourself in that scene”.
“We just tried to think of every single inventive way of attacking that kind of scare dynamic,” he tells. “Pushing [the film] to really crazy, over-the-top kind of places by the end, and that was really fun.
“It was also about wanting to take this as seriously as possible. It’s a familiar fear but using that in a way that benefits us. It’s speaking to childhood fears and making them legitimately scary again.”
Even from just the trailer, it’s evident that the film plays around a lot with the contrast between the light and dark.
“We shot this film widescreen, it’s shot 2.35:1 – so a bit wider than what we’re used to seeing in movies, and I wanted to use the corners of the frame,” he explains.
“I wanted the audience to sort of be like a detective. I wanted them to be looking, like, yes, the character’s here, but I wanted them to be looking off into the dark parts of the frame. I wanted to invite them to imagine that there might be something there.”
Savage proceeds to explain more about the creature in this film, known as the ‘Boogeyman’.
“So, you don’t see this creature for a lot of this movie, but he hangs around in these dark spaces, and there’s this movie that I love from the 1960s called The Innocence.
“It’s a haunted house movie which does the same thing – it has these beautiful widescreen shots, and it has figures lurking in the darkness, in the background of the shots… I really wanted the audience to be a participant in those scare scenes”.
Savage stresses that it was important that the grief experienced by the family throughout the film “felt authentic”.
“I wanted it to feel like there was real meat on the bone,” he adds. “The actors were so amazing and committed so much to those characters and building the inner world of these characters.
“We wanted people to feel like they connected to the characters so the horror landed better, one thing really informs the other. I always thought that we’d end up having to cut down a lot of the emotional stuff; that the studio or test audiences would want that to be filled with more horror. I think they quite rightly saw that the more you invested in the authenticity of what the family’s going through, the better these scares landed.”
The house in the film is almost like another character itself.
“I’ve got to shout out Jeremy Woodward (Knives Out, Antebellum), our production designer,” Savage enthuses.
“He was so incredibly dedicated and detail-oriented on this shoot. The Billings’ house, it’s an interesting one. The downstairs of the Billings’ house, is a real house that we went into and just messed up, and we built a couple of fake walls so we could add scary closets wherever we needed them.
“Then, as soon as she’s upstairs, that entire part of the house is completely built, they built that from scratch.”
The score and sound, or lack thereof, also play an essential role throughout the film.
“I wanted the sound to feel like it was coming from the experience of the characters, so it wasn’t necessarily realistic. It was dialled up. We were always trying to make it feel like you were experiencing the sound world through the characters. So, whatever they were paying attention to was accentuated.
“Sometimes the best thing we’d decide to do was to just take that all out. Some of the scariest moments of the movie are when we go very, very quiet. We pull out all of the sound and all of the music.
“I’ve got to shout out Patrick Jonsson (Thor), who did the score, which is beautiful and terrifying and unique, and Craig Mann (Insidious) and Trevor Gates (Us, Freaky), who worked on the sound. We spent a lot of time honing that to get the jump scares landing just right.”
The Boogeyman is in cinemas now