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There is no doubt that Blumhouse’s brand is very much established as ‘the mainstream horror studio’. Churning out utterly disposable and mostly boring or outright bad “original” horror (January’s laughable Night Swim and 2022’s thoroughly irritating Dashcam), adapting already established properties to a substantially mixed reception (Five Nights at Freddy’s and The Exorcist: Believer both last year, as well as their Halloween trilogy), yet undeniably striking gold with bangers such as Split, Get Out and The Invisible Man.

Imaginary unfortunately very much falls into the former category and squanders what is undeniably a premise that is ripe for horror potential and creative visual ideas.


Imaginary sees a woman (DeWanda Wise) return to her childhood home to discover that the imaginary friend she left behind is very real and unhappy that she abandoned him.


The filmmakers opt for the same done to death traits and tropes that absolutely plague this generic, PG-13, supernatural horror tosh sub-genre. Prepare to roll your eyes as the film makes its way through the checklist, ready? Childhood trauma, a fractured central family, a mysterious/off-kilter neighbour, research on the lore/mythology of the threat… it’s all here and nearly completely overshadows the glimpses of originality on display.

There is some decent imagery at times, with some solid practical effect work and costumes and a goofy B-movie silliness to Chauncey (his multiple forms and the lingering shots on his dead-eyed teddy bear face are chuckle worthy) and the imagination realm is an icy blue riff on M.C. Escher and the Further from Insidious. Stylistically and cinematography-wise the film is largely bland and basic, there is also some awkward editing and angles around dialogue exchanges at times.


Performance-wise DeWanda Wise (who also serves as a producer here) is a decent lead and clearly is committed to the material, and attempts to elevate what is a very familiar character. Young actress Pyper Braun has to do quite a bit of the creepy, screaming kid routine and to be honest the rest of the cast are incredibly irritating (apologies Taegen Braun and Matthew Sato) or awkward and seemingly unintentionally bizarre in their line readings (Betty Buckley), all of which are not helped by the screenplay.

Imaginary is sadly pretty much exactly what I expected from a supernatural Blumhouse horror. A core idea with huge potential that is warped into an easily digestible dull horror that is littered with jump scares and lacks palpable thrills. Outside of some fun, cheesy horror visuals and practical effects and sets, this is another snooze-inducing, by the numbers, tame chiller.


Rating Imaginary



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