Movies based on the macabre works of Stephen King tend to have memorable endings. From the unlikely Mother’s Day movie Carrie‘s “hand from the grave” moment to Pet Sematary‘s undead spouse returning home, King’s movies always leave the audience breathless with suspense and speechless with horror.
The Boogeyman, the latest in a long line of Stephen King adaptations, promises more of the same. The movie, about two sisters battling an unseen entity in their new home, looks just as scary as other 2023 horror hits like Skinamarink and Evil Dead Rise, and promises an ending to remember. Digital Trends explains The Boogeyman‘s ending, including who dies and what exactly is haunting the film’s lead heroines.
The Boogeyman focuses on the Harper family: Will Harper (Based on a True Story‘s Chris Messina), a father and stay-at-home therapist; teenage daughter Sadie Harper (Yellowjackets‘ Sophie Thatcher), and preteen little sister Sawyer Harper (Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Vivien Lyra Blair). All three live in a spacious home somewhere in California and all three are still recovering from the recent death of wife and mother Cara in a car accident.
One day, while the kids are at school, a strange man walks into the Harper household while the kids are at school and demands to be seen by Will. Will reluctantly agrees, and the man tells his story. His name is Lester Billings (The Suicide Squad‘s David Dastmalchian), and used to be happily married with three kids. One day, his infant child dies of SIDS. Bereft with grief, the family endures one trauma after another when both remaining children die under mysterious circumstances. Lester has come to believe that his family has been staked by a demonic creature, a literal Boogeyman.
After being reassured by Will, Lester sneaks away and wanders upstairs. Just then, Sadie comes home and hears strange noises coming from her mother’s empty art studio. She investigates and finds Lester’s dead body hanging on the back of a closet door.
After the police take away the body and the family settles back into their home, strange noises/sightings occur. At first, only Sawyer experiences these occurrences. Eventually, Sadie believes her little sister’s claims that there is a Boogeyman walking around the house, cloaked in the shadows because its seemingly only weakness is bright light. Sadie begins to investigate why the Boogeyman is there by going back to the source: Lester.
She finds his home address and breaks into his seemingly abandoned home, where she encounters the last survivor, wife and mother Rita. Now armed with a shotgun and half out of her mind, Rita explains why the Boogeyman stalked her family and now Sadie’s: it’s attracted to trauma. Just like her family grieved over the loss of their child, Sawyer’s grief over her dead mother is like catnip to the supernatural creature.
Sadie goes back home and tries to tell her father the truth, but he doesn’t listen. He tells her to go down to the basement and get rid of some of her mother’s things, which are packed away in boxes. She ventures down into the dark basement, finds a lighter that belonged to her mother, and lights it to see. She asks out loud if her mother is watching her. As a test, she asks her mother to move the lighter’s flame to the left. The flame doesn’t move.
Later, the Boogeyman attacks again, almost killing Sawyer and sending her to the hospital. This prompts Sadie to go back to the Lester household, where Rita ties Sadie up to lure The Boogeyman into a trap. It appears she is successful as the creature is seemingly gunned down by Rita. It’s a ruse, however, and the creature attacks Rita, causing her to shoot Sadie loose, but also to be killed by the creature. Sadie ruses home, but not before we see Will and Sawyer return home first, where they are promptly taken prisoner by The Boogeyman.
Sadie finds Sawyer hiding in a closet with Christmas lights wrapped around her, which keeps The Boogeyman temporarily away. They venture down to the dark basement, where their father is being held prisoner. The sisters lure the creature away and battle it individually, which causes a can of gasoline to spill all over the floor. Sawyer is knocked unconscious and the creature straddles Sadie, opening its mouth in an attempt to eat her.
Sawyer awakens and throws some of the gasoline onto the creature to help her sister. Sadie lights the lighter she had from before, and this time, the flame moves to the left, indicating her mother is with her in spirit. The creature is now ablaze with flame, which quickly spreads throughout the house. The daughters gather their wounded father and escape to the outside, watching The Boogeyman burn to ash along with their home.
The film flashes forward to a scene in the daytime, with Will, Sawyer, and Sadie finishing a counseling session with a family therapist. They are at last willing to talk about the trauma of losing a loved one, which is why The Boogeyman stalked them in the first place. Just as they leave, Sadie thinks she hears a noise from an open closet. She walks up to it and, deciding that she doesn’t want to revisit the past, closes the door, literally and symbolically.
The Boogeyman is now playing in theaters nationwide.
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