Home Reviews Films Film Review: IMAGINARY (2024): New Blumhouse Horror Movie Offers Some Scares and Surprises Along the Way

Film Review: IMAGINARY (2024): New Blumhouse Horror Movie Offers Some Scares and Surprises Along the Way

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Film Review: IMAGINARY (2024): New Blumhouse Horror Movie Offers Some Scares and Surprises Along the Way

Chauncey The Bear Imaginary

Imaginary Review

Imaginary (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Jeff Wadlow, written by Greg Erb, Jason Oremland and Jeff Wadlow and starring DeWanda Wise, Taegen Burns, Pyper Braun, Betty Buckley, Tom Payne, Veronica Falcon, Samuel Salary, Matthew Sato, Alix Angelis, Lilly Sunshine, Cecilia Leal, Eduardo Campirano and Michael Bekemeier.

Jeff Wadlow co-writes and directs the wildly unique new Blumhouse horror film, Imaginary. On paper, a killer Teddy Bear must have sounded formulaic and trite, but the villain of this new picture, Chauncey the Bear, is not your every day stuffed Teddy Bear. On the contrary. The filmmakers have put a creative spin on what has been done before in killer doll movies like Child’s Play or the recent hit, Megan. As a result, Imaginary will play less predictably and more shockingly to audiences.

This film opens with a throwback to what is one spooky situation involving an over-sized spider in the central character’s life. We soon meet that character, Jessica (DeWanda Wise), who has suffered one heck of a traumatic childhood. All these years later, her dad, Ben (Samuel Salary) now resides in a bed, confused, in a nursing home. Jessica is involved with a nice, loving man named Max (Tom Payne) who has two young daughters, teenager Taylor (Taegen Burns) and little Alice (Pyper Braun). Jessica, Max and the girls move into a new home and Alice discovers a stuffed bear called Chauncey who becomes Alice’s imaginary friend. But, wait, if Chauncey really exists, is he truly imaginary? Therein lies the twist at the movie’s core.

Betty Buckley, in a way-out-there turn, serves as an old nosy neighbor named Gloria who has some secrets of her own to reveal about the younger Jessica. Gloria is a wack-a-doodle self-published author who may know a thing or two about multi-dimensional worlds and demons. In the interim, Taylor sneaks a boy into her home while her dad and Jessica are away and the young man has an encounter with Chauncey that leaves him peeing on himself, literally.

The problem is also that Chauncey is supposedly telling Alice to do demented things such as collect dead bugs and hurt herself with a nail. Jessica grows concerned when Max goes away on business and tries to find answers but the twist is that Alice may not be so delusional after all. There’s more to Chauncey than what appears on the surface and the movie runs with its plot threads efficiently, if not always effectively.

The pros of the film involve the scenes which earn an “A” in the scare-factor category. A freaky woman (Alix Angelis) appears in the house at one point and I’ll leave you to discover what role she plays in Alice’s life. The surprise is that a lot of what’s going on is focused on the author, Jessica, and her past. A therapist (Veronica Falcon) comes to Jessica’s aid, and after her interaction with Alice, the huge plot twist is revealed which will take audiences on a roller coaster to hell and back in a Blumhouse movie sort of way, which is a little more mainstream than, say, the films of David Lynch or Lars von Trier, but Imaginary is still creative in its own right.

Jeff Wadlow creates different worlds within the world the film, itself, creates. You may initially think the characters are one-dimensional and the happenings are trite. Don’t be fooled! Wadlow has good reasons for his characters behaving as they do and the viewer will enjoy the results.

Could I have done without an over-sized Chauncey the Bear terrorizing key characters at the conclusion? Perhaps, but in today’s day and age, a movie needs a hook and the bear is the hook for the other themes of the film to take flight successfully, for better or worse.

This film isn’t always successful but the performances steer it on track, particularly DeWanda Wise as the concerned stepmother and the young actresses Taegen Burns and, especially, Pyper Braun who could give the little girls in similarly themed horror movies a run for their money with her spookiness and effectiveness on screen.

Wise creates a character with depth even if the screenplay sometimes undermines its own integrity to get back to making it a picture about Chauncey the Bear. Also, Tom Payne’s Max conveniently disappears for much of the movie, only to reappear at the end with buggy eyes in a bizarre scenario. Max should have been developed more effectively as a character. The movie also offers at least three different endings and I liked the first one the best. But, still, the movie gets points for continuing on when other movies would have given up with just one conclusion.

Imaginary is Blumhouse at, pretty much, it’s most enjoyable. This one could divide audiences just a tad thanks to its endless plot twists but viewers will certainly not be bored with the story line’s jump scares and roller coaster ride-like tension. The film starts slow and eventually gains momentum until it’s like the whole entire haunted house amusement park for the audience’s taking. If you think you’d like a horror movie like that, give Imaginary a try.

Rating: 7/10

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