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Imaginary Movie Review: M3gan Meets The Boogeyman

Imaginary is M3gan meets The Boogeyman as it takes viewers on a thrilling ride. A great gateway horror flick that’s filled with fun jump scares.

Imaginary movie review

Pyper Braun as Alice in Imaginary. Photo Credit: Parrish Lewis

Imaginary is another film that is a great introduction to the horror genre – think M3gan meets The Boogeyman, it is a bit scarier than the first, but not as scary as the latter. Rated PG-13, it has to shy away from what could be some truly brutal moments, but that is okay because we can use our imaginations and, after all, isn’t that what this movie is all about? 

The film follows young Alice (Pyper Braun), her teen sister Taylor (Taegen Burns), and her new stepmother Jessica (DeWanda Wise). From the start it is hinted that there is something wrong with her mother, and that is why she is no longer a part of their lives. Jessica is a children’s author, but has been struggling with writer’s block. At the same time, she is having intense nightmares.

When her husband Max (Tom Payne) suggests the family move to Jessica’s childhood home, they do. At first they think all of their problems have been solved, but in actuality that is when the real nightmares begin. 

Alice finds an old stuffed bear in the house that used to be Jessica’s. His name is Chauncey Bear and while he seems like the perfect imaginary friend to help her deal with what she is going through, there is something dark and sinister about him. Imaginary explores the lore surrounding imaginary friends, and reveals if we can truly trust our own imaginations or not.

This is a great introduction to horror because while it is filled with perfectly placed jump scares, it isn’t too gory or too scary. There are certainly some moments that viewers will be watching through their fingers, but it also delivers on silly humor and corny moments that are sure to make it a cult classic. 

Imaginary movie review

DeWanda Wise as Jessica in Imaginary. Photo Credit: Parrish Lewis

The biggest flaw of this film is it takes a long time to get to that third act, and then the third act seems to go on a bit too long, causing Imaginary to feel longer than it is. The set up does what it is meant to do before the twists start rolling in and the actual horror sequences are unleashed, but it is almost too much set up. While none of the scenes or moments are particularly bad, they do bog down the film as viewers wait with baited breath for things to go full terror.

The next door neighbor Liam (Matthew Sato) offers up a lot of comedic relief, but unfortunately his character overall feels rather unnecessary. The plot surrounding him only causes Imaginary to drag, however there are some rather good scares in there so we see why it was kept in. This movie is an hour and forty-four minutes and it feels like two hours. Had it been trimmed down a little bit here and there, it would have flowed much better so that the incredible third act set piece could truly shine. 

All of that being said, Imaginary really is a fun ride. It has the right amount of jump scares, an intriguing plot and interesting lore, as well as some stellar lead performances. DeWanda Wise, Pyper Braun, and Taegen Burns actually feel like a stepmother and her two stepsisters. The chemistry is there. While I would have liked for more of Tom Payne to be included, it was necessary to have him out of the house most of the time so that Imaginary could really focus on the girls and Chauncey Bear, who will haunt your dreams, trust me.

This movie is what some might call horror light. It is perfect for younger audiences who are excited to get into the genre, but that isn’t saying it’s not a lot of fun for the older crowd too. Think of this as a gateway horror movie, not really scary, but enough to make you jump. It is silly and fun, and a great romp through the imagination, and what just might lurk inside of your mind.

Thanks to a great cast and some perfectly placed jump scares, Imaginary has the makings of an instant horror classic. This movie begs to be seen on the big screen. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

NEXT: M3gan Review: Move Over Chucky, There’s A New Doll In Town

Imaginary movie poster

About Imaginary

From Blumhouse, the genre-defining masterminds behind FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S and M3GAN, comes an original horror that taps into the innocence of imaginary friends – and begs the question: Are they really figments of childhood imagination or is something more terrifying lying just beneath?

When Jessica (DeWanda Wise) moves back into her childhood home with her family, her youngest step daughter Alice (Pyper Braun) develops an eerie attachment to a stuffed bear named Chauncey she finds in the basement. Alice starts playing games with Chauncey that begin playful and become increasingly sinister.

As Alice’s behavior becomes more and more concerning, Jessica intervenes only to realize Chauncey is much more than the stuffed toy bear she believed him to be.

Imaginary hits theaters on March 8th.