I'm talking to the man in the mirror- I'm asking him to change his ways, because he's really, really mean.
Yeah, I'm talking about The Boogeyman. Not the new movie with the same title but, as it says right on the DVD menu screen, "The original 1980 version".
20 years ago, little Lacey and little Willy are banished from the house while their drunkard mother tries to score some sweet sweet lovin' from her weirdo boyfriend. When the kids are caught peeking in a window, the boyfriend puts a gag in Willy's mouth and ties him to the bed. Problem solved! Continue the sweet sweet lovin'. Lacey gets a knife from the kitchen and uses it to free Willy (Ha ha! I didn't even mean that! Zing!)- then Willy takes the knife and stabs the boyfriend to death, as Lacey watches the scene as a reflection in a mirror. This whole sequence has some blatant Halloween steals, including the child's eye-view of a knife-wielding hand.
Now it's 20 years later, and Lacey (Dupont heiress Suzanna Love) and Willy (Nicholas Love) are living on a farm with an aunt and uncle, as well as Lacey's husband and son. They're still troubled by the events of that fateful night: so much so that Willy hasn't spoken since and Lacey has a feeling something bad is going to happen. As Lacey grows more and more agitated, her husband Jake (Ron James) takes action to get her to snap out of it. First, they visit a shrink (late, great horror mainstay John Carradine) and when that fails, Jake decides that Lacey needs to re-visit the house where the murder went down in order to defeat her demons once and for all.
The house, it turns out, is for sale, so Lacey and Jake pose as prospective buyers so they can look around freely. Lacey's Nemesis Mirror is still hanging on the wall in the bedroom, and looking into it, she sees a reflection of the dead boyfriend coming after her. She flips out and smashes the mirror. Jake is pissed and embarrassed, and picks up all the pieces to reassemble back at the farm. He's gonna make Lacey stare at that damn mirror until she snaps out of it, dammit! It seems, though, that he missed one piece that remains on the bedroom floor- and here's where things get weird. Once the visitors have left, the piece of glass begins to glow red. Breaking the mirror has released the spirit of the murdered boyfriend, and he's ornery. He's able to manipulate objects, I guess, to the point where people lose control over them: for example, a young woman cutting her hair stabs herself with the scissors, despite trying really hard not to. A window then slams down on the head of her pesky little brother, killing him.
OK, sounds good, right? Yeah, it's not a bad idea, vengeful spirits and all that, but writer/director Ulli Lommel can't decide what to do from there. He tries the slasher angle by utilizing a subjective camera when the "spirit" is out and about- it breathes and lurks, but it isn't really there, so it's a wasted effect. People do harm to themselves, or objects move around to do the harm, so why try to make it seem that the spirit has a physical presence if it doesn't? Then Lommel tries the religious horror angle: Lacey, at times, is inexplicably possessed by the spirit, and the family priest is called in to help. A piece of the mirror flies onto her eyelid (?) and she doesn't really do anything bad except make faces and speak in a weird voice. We get the bad house angle right down to the quarter-circle upstairs windows a la The Amityville Horror. Willy finally speaks after 20 years, blurting out the solution to all their problems: "The well!". So Jake, Willy, and Lacey throw the mirror down the well, wherein the mirror explodes. You know I love random exploding things, but even that couldn't save The Boogeyman.
"But," you say, "I would LOVE it if Halloween, The Exorcist, and The Amityville Horror all got together and made a baby!". In theory, I agree with you, but this baby needs to be the baby in the attic that no one speaks of. Let's be honest, readers- this movie isn't very good. It's a classic example of trying to rip-off too many films that have come before, resulting in a big pile of mish-mosh. If you want to be a copycat, OK fine, but pick one movie, in one genre and go with it. Like my gramma always said, "If you try to be something to everyone, you'll end up being a nothing to nobody.". Well, she never said that. But it's more appropriate than "Go pound sand up your ass!", which she actually did say.
I really wanted to like this, but it disappointed me. It hurts, but I've gotta give it 4 out of 10 eeeeeevil glass shards.