Team behind 'The Boogeyman' talks about bringing Stephen King's story to life

"We all have a 'boogeyman,' either in the closet, or under the bed, or in the dark," says Chris Messina, who plays Will Harper.

ByAlicia Vitarelli WABC logo
Friday, June 2, 2023
Team behind 'The Boogeyman' brings Stephen King's story to life
"The Boogeyman" is in theaters now and is rated PG-13.

PHILADELPHIA -- Fewer things are universally as scary as the idea that the monsters under our beds or in our closets are real.

That's the premise behind a new psychological thriller called "The Boogeyman." It's the latest movie from our parent company's 20th Century Studios.

"We all have a boogeyman, either in the closet, or under the bed, or in the dark," says Chris Messina, who plays Will Harper, a therapist and father of two daughters, who just lost his wife. "In this movie, it also represents something inside of ourselves, things we're just not facing."

The producers of "Stranger Things" are bringing Stephen King's early short story to the big screen.

"At the core of the movie, it's about a grieving family," said Sophie Thatcher, who plays Sadie Harper.

The Harper sisters are mourning the death of their mother, when the younger of the two, Sadie, starts seeing and hearing things.

"As long as it feels like it hit emotionally, and you had empathy for the characters and want to follow them on that journey, then you did something right in a horror movie," Thatcher said.

Messina says it was that heart, that humanity, that drew him to his first horror genre film.

"You can't have any jump scares or screams from the audience unless you really care about these people," Messina said.

Will Harper has yet to tackle his own grief when a mysterious patient walks into the therapy practice in his home with a dark story and presence.

That's when the boogeyman really starts to terrorize the Harper family.

Director Rob Savage remembers being haunted by King's short story as a kid.

"Everyone has their own idea of the boogeyman," Savage said. "There have been 600 boogeyman movies. But to do this version with Stephen King backing it, just felt like a no-brainer. It felt like we could do something really special."

Savage says it "means the world" to be sanctioned by King, who has given readers and audiences some of the most iconic scares of our lives.

"His opinion was the one that really counted," Savage said. "Showing him the movie was a really terrifying experience. He said that he loved it and that it terrified him. He jumped and threw his popcorn a couple of times.

It's just incredible to think about the amount of times that that man has given me nightmares... The fact that we made something that made him jump, is something to take to your grave."

"The Boogeyman" is in theaters now and is rated PG-13.