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Imaginary (Full Review)

Synopsis: A woman returns to her childhood home to discover that the imaginary friend she left behind is very real and unhappy that she abandoned him.

There is a lot to say when we begin to get a lot of the same type of movies over and over again. There seems to be a lack of creativity sometimes when studios constantly put out very cookie cutters films. Not to say the movies are bad, but they are missing some originality to them. Imaginary directed by Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare), delivers an entertaining movie, but lacks that originality. The concept of an evil imaginary friend is the original part of the story, but everything else in the movie seems very formulaic and follows a lot of tropes within the horror genre, that we have seen too many times. Did I still have a great time with it, yes. Imaginary does do the tropes well enough to keep me entertained, but never had any wow moment to stand on its own. I’ve unfortunately have seen many of the elements it carries in other movies and also seen them done better. I do have to say that the opening scene did have a great impact on me. It was scary and creative. What followed after, never really got that same feel again, which is a shame. I do like to state that the movie itself isn’t terrible, but it did have some issues with some of the scripted dialogue. There were some jokes that never landed and it felt forced. The concept of a killer teddy bear is ridiculous and the movie didn’t really lean into the camp of it. I honestly wanted another horror film like M3gan, which was also released by Blumhouse last year, that did exceptionally well with critics and audiences. This movie needed to be self aware of itself and deliver the camp, but it didn't. The trailer presented the movie as such and it was a bit disappointing with what I got from the movie in theaters. I thought it was gonna be over the top and crazy, but it took itself way too serious. Imaginary takes the concept to a less fun destination and then forces these comedic moments that threw off the tone of the movie.

The cast does the best they can with the script that was given to them. I do like the performances from the step mom DeWanda Wise and the little girl, Pyper Braun, who really progressed the movie very well. One of the themes in the movie is family relationships. I do think Imaginary explores this theme very well and I was able to get a very good look into the day in the life of this family and what they are going through. We get a very equal amount of perspective of what each character is dealing with and what they are trying to overcome. They all seem to have their own personal battles internally and I think that was the strong point of the movie. We even get a nice resolve at the end with everyone. I do think some of the twists at the end made it a bit corny how they all become a whole family who love each other. There ares some great moments in this movie that did deliver some genuine fear. Like I stated prior, the movie starts with a bang and really sets the stage of what the movie could have been and what it can deliver. There is one scene where the little girl has a therapy session and it was super well crafted. Probably the best put together scene in the entire movie. I did also like the reveal of a major plot point that was actually a solid twist. It delivered a new dynamic to the story and progressed the story well without exposition from the dialogue. It was a moment of the movie showing the audience instead of telling the audience what is happening. I bring this up because there were many moment in the movie where we just got a character that starts explaining what is happening and I really don’t like when movies do that.

Jeff Wadlow is a director that is a bit hit or miss with me. He is someone who knows horror well and also action. The direction from this movie seemed a bit stale and it was a bummer because I know what he is capable of. Scene after scene in this movie had this shadowy figure that is behind someone to only just disappear. Happens a least three times in the movie and it is a tactic that is used so often in other movies. Even with scenes that had the teddy bear felt stale. The mom thinks she’s talking to her daughter, but in reality she’s outside playing. Another trope we have seen before in other movies. Scenes like this made me feel like the movie doesn’t stand on its own two feet. Some of the positives come from the creature designs. I do like that some of the monsters we get in Imaginary are cool. There is some terrifying imagery of the monsters and I do appreciate that the monsters look like they had some practical effects. There’s a great scene with the older sister in a room where the light source reveals one of the monsters and it was really a well  crafted scene. It had great sound design, a creepy song and a cool monster reveal. I do think this movie was held back in its PG-13 rating. There were moments where this film could have gone hard, but it pulls back. As for Chauncey the bear, I did like the look and design of the bear. It felt like it had personality, but wished it did more. The scenes with the bear mostly had to do with the little girl’s performance, which she does deliver great moments. She is very talent and it will be awesome to see if she continues her career in movies/tv, specifically horror.

Overall Imaginary is a fun flick to watch, but not a memorable one. It lacks any real depth and has a bit of a boring story. There are some cool scenes that get sprinkled into the film, but not enough for me to recommend. The cast does a great job with what they were given and that was great to see. Chauncey had his own theme song that kept being played and its thrilling and works well. I did feel some tension every time the tune was going off. There were also some themes of mental health, which I always like to see in movies, but it barely gets explored. Especially with the main character's father and the kid’s real mother. Two side characters that didn't really affect the outcome of the movie. They set up some things with those characters, but they never really give any closure or resolution with them. We do get one scene in the third act that was touching and it gets pulled away. A twist that not only was corny, but low key ruined a great moment in the movie. It was fun at times like I said, but I don’t think I personally will rewatch this movie. A fun one to stream if your bored, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to check it out.

Review: 50/100


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