Imaginary (2024) Horror Movie Review


“Imaginary,” directed by Jeff Wadlow, is a film that taps into the primal fears of our childhood, bringing to life the concept of imaginary friends in a way that is both haunting and thought-provoking. The movie, starring DeWanda Wise, Taegen Burns, Pyper Braun, and Betty Buckley, takes us on a journey back to the innocence of youth, only to shatter it with the realization that not all childhood creations are benign.

The story follows Jessica, played by the talented DeWanda Wise, a successful children’s book author who returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father. Accompanied by her husband Max and her two stepchildren, Alice and Taylor, Jessica finds herself confronting the imaginary friend she left behind, Chauncey, who is far from the harmless figment she remembered.

Wadlow’s direction is commendable as he weaves a narrative that is both familiar and fresh. The film doesn’t shy away from wearing its influences on its sleeve, with nods to classics like “Poltergeist” and “The Shining,” as well as more contemporary hits like “The Conjuring” and “Insidious.” Yet, “Imaginary” manages to stand on its own, thanks to its solid storytelling and the underlying theme of dealing with a parent’s mental illness.

The performances are strong across the board, with Wise delivering a nuanced portrayal of a woman grappling with her past and the present dangers that threaten her family. The young actors, Burns and Braun, hold their own, conveying the confusion and terror that comes with encountering the supernatural.

The horror elements of “Imaginary” are well-crafted, with Wadlow using a mix of suspenseful build-ups and well-timed jump scares to keep the audience on edge. The use of Chauncey, a teddy bear, as the central figure of fear is a clever choice, playing on the juxtaposition of childhood comfort and terror.

While the film may not reinvent the horror genre, it does what it sets out to do effectively—provide a chilling experience with a layer of depth that goes beyond the surface scares. The exploration of the impact of mental illness on a family adds a layer of realism to the supernatural events, making “Imaginary” a more resonant film than one might expect.

In the Nutshell

“Imaginary” is a solid addition to the Blumhouse catalog, showcasing Jeff Wadlow’s ability to craft a horror film that is both entertaining and meaningful. It’s a movie that will likely appeal to a wide audience, offering enough scares for the horror aficionados and enough substance for those looking for more than just a fright. It’s a film that reminds us that sometimes, the monsters we create in our minds can be just as terrifying as any real-world horror. [3 out of 5].

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Genre: Supernatural Thriller

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