Micro Budget Boogeyman Film Hoodman (2021) Trades Scares for Yawns
First Non-Festival Release: May 1, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Mark W. Curran
Writer: Mark W. Curran
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Starring: Madison Spear, Brock Morse, Skye Roberts
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Ari (Madison Spear) is involved in a terrible car accident that takes the life of her son. She is convinced that a paranormal entity from a story her parents told her growing up is responsible: the Hoodman. After moving into her parent’s home following the accident, Ari begins having terrifying nightmares of the figure stalking and threatening her. While searching for clues she discovers a disturbing pattern of local child disappearances that may be linked to the myth. She’ll stop at nothing to find her son and save her little sister Missy (Skye Roberts) from becoming his next victim.
A dreary slog of a film, Hoodman makes cinephile’s worst nightmares come true with over-stretched supernatural urban legend.
With a story that doesn’t go anywhere, Hoodman struggles to justify its plodding and circuitous story. The audience is subjected to the filmmaker’s need to linger from scene to scene over unimportant details. A stronger film would be able to tie its subplots together in a meaningful and satisfying manner, but that doesn’t happen here. Instead, everything is half-baked and presented as an opportunity to stretch the film out. Optimization would benefit the script as the team cannot seem to handle so many things at once. Furthermore, there is somehow very little closure for the main driving force of the film, which is ridiculous.
Bland and uninspired, Hoodman fails to both tell a good story and do it well. The cast struggles to make the material come to life, which is typical for the standard Z-grade slasher that it is but it still hurts, nonetheless. They choke out stilted dialogue, both in creation and delivery, that barely attempts at fleshing out their unmemorable and irritating characters until the merciful closing credits play and release the audience from their prison.
The talent behind the camera isn’t doing much either. The film has a very cheap aesthetic to it. Attempts at creating more artistic shots are not pulled off well and look out of place in a film that doesn’t try and do anything creative with its story. Poor sound design makes dialogue cut in and out while poor set design makes the viewer scratch their head on how exactly the filmmakers envisioned this film playing out. It’s been mentioned before in this review and will be mentioned after, but I cannot emphasize enough how criminally slow this film despite it being just short of 100 minutes long. It’s painful and it could be avoided.
Misleading IMDb and Letterboxd scores brought me to streaming Hoodman as soon as it hit Tubi. As someone who prefers not to watch trailers, I am glad that I disregarded the urge to pay for this film through Amazon or other means. Hoodman is an endurance test for fans of supernatural or procedural horror. Clocking in at almost two full hours, this repetitive and directionless chiller is one that is not meant to be taken seriously. Complete with unintentionally creepy secondary characters that offer nothing to the plot, a lack of general payoff, and a downbeat stinger that induces eye rolls, Hoodman is a nightmare of a film that is not worth your time.
Dreadfully boring and hopelessly derivative, Hoodman stiches together the highlights of the best urban legends while failing to capitalize on them in any meaningful or sophisticated way. By far the film’s biggest flaw is its oversaturated runtime filled to the brim with repetitive sequences and “scares” that lulls the audience member into a predictable and irreversible sleep. Aside from a fine leading performance, the most this film inspires is a few chuckles in between stilted dialogue delivery and artificial set pieces. Don’t believe the urban legends that this film is worth your time, either on IMDb or other sites, and think about watching anything else.
Overall Score? 3/10