Imaginary (2024) Blu-ray Review

4 Min Read

Imaginary is a visually captivating film blending childhood wonder with eerie suspense. Pyper Braun shines, making it a solid entry for pre-teen horror fans.

Imaginary (2024) Blu-ray Review
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When I was a child, I lived in Brooklyn, NY. My grandparents owned a house on 76th St. & 18th Ave. There was a large basement, half of which was a living room/dining room and a large kitchen, and the other half was a large storage/unfinished basement with a small bathroom at the back.

In that small, dimly lit room I remember (or was told) that I would sit on the bathroom floor and stare at the corner of the ceiling and speak with my imaginary friend.  I don't remember his name now or recall any of the details of our conversations. But my mom told me that I would carry on full-blown discussions with this "Person" and she laughingly said that she would allow it to happen as long as she didn't hear another voice answer me but instead, she would often hear my voice pretending to be someone else.

Thinking back now, I can imagine how scary that would be, as a parent, to hear a creepy four-year-old voice, answering his own questions. Most of us can relate to the thought of having an imaginary friend. Still, thankfully none of us ever experience what Little Alice (Pyper Braun) and her Stepmom, Jessica (DeWanda Wise) go through in the Blumhouse release Imaginary.

From Blumhouse (Insidious and The Purge franchises, Get Out) comes a chilling tale of childhood and repressed memories of the past. After Jessica (DeWanda Wise) moves back with her family into her childhood home in Louisiana, the reappearance of an imaginary friend from her youth sets in motion a threatening scavenger hunt with Jessica's stepdaughter, Alice (Pyper Braun). As Jessica's memories begin to surface - aided by cryptic stories from an elderly neighbor (Betty Buckley) about a portal to the spirit world - she realizes the imaginary friend she left behind is very real... and very unhappy she left.

I tend to go into most PG-13 horror films with bated breath, but my fiancé told me this movie was a bit more original than I was giving it credit for. While this film reaches for originality, it falls short of its grasp, in many ways. From the overwrought teenager who incessantly hates his stepmom, to the young child who has a connection to the entity (in this one Alice is the child, and she, as her stepmom before her, connects with Chauncey the Bear) and the entity that refuses to let them go. The tropes continue with the helpful old busybody neighbor, (Buckley) who will try to help them rescue Alice from the clutches of evil. (Or will she?).

However, despite its flaws, there were a few little twists that I did enjoy, such as the scene with the child psychologist interviewing Alice where it is revealed that Chauncey is not what he seems (I don't want to spoil it for you). Conversely, the film missed the mark with a bit of a bloated story, with certain plot points that go nowhere, and with others that go on for too long.  Also, the husband/father conveniently has to go on tour with his band, and he quickly has no other impact on this film. You might as well forget about him entirely...I did.

Besides not being scared throughout the film, things don't pick up until the third act, when in a Poltergeist/Insidious kind of apparition appears. It is then the ladies realize they need to go into the "Never Ever" to rescue Alice who has been taken into the entity's world.

This is where things get interesting, and you can see the Five Nights at Freddy's inspiration when the puppetry and monster costumes come to life.  One thing I will say about the casting of Pyper Braun, who plays Alice, is that she is fantastic in this film. She not only plays the part of an isolated young girl, but she shines when she is affecting the voice of the Teddy Bear, Chauncey. The creepy parts in this movie, for me, came when she was speaking as her "Imaginary Friend" and I have to admit the child sold it for me.

The film also shines in its specs and extras, although not too many of those are on display.   Imaginary is presented in Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC and a resolution of 1080p with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The movie does look great, it takes advantage of some bright and pretty outdoor shots, which juxtaposes nicely with the third act's blue-tinged, M.C Escher nightmare world. There is a tactile sense of the "Never Ever" you can almost feel when in the otherworldliness where Chauncey dwells.  The corridors twist around themselves and the countless doors on either side present countless options for our protagonists to become lost.  For a dark and frightful place, they did a solid job of making it come to life, and it looks creepy on screen.

The Dolby Atmos pops, from Alice's creepy ramblings to the screams of fright as Jessica attempts to rescue her stepkids from the numerous monsters that lurk around the corners.  The movie comes to life, as our heroes are fighting for their own.  

I usually enjoy watching the special features included with the movies I review, but these are a bit short for my taste. I enjoyed the Making of, and seeing a small interview with Alice (Piper Braun) who, in my opinion, stole the movie from her counterparts.  

All in all, this was an entertaining movie, albeit bloodless and, at the end of the day, not very scary. This was a good gateway drug into the world of horror, especially for the pre-teen crowd, as they would find plenty to scream at and little for parents to need to guard them against. There's a scene where the neighbor's son comes over and has some "drugs" which turn out to be allergy pills and he also has a failed attempt at raiding the liquor cabinet which results in a broken bottle of liquor but otherwise, it is pretty tame. Chauncey punishes him for his transgressions, but that too is bloodless. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending upon your horror proclivities) they all live happily ever after. Well except for Gloria, she does NOT live happily ever after.  You can watch the film and see what becomes of her, you don't have to Imagine it.

Cast:
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 104 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate

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For more information about Imaginary visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Leonard Buccellato please click here.

Imaginary images are courtesy of Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


FlickDirect, Leonard   Buccellato

Leonard's lifelong passion for movies began at a young age with his fascination for the horror classic Blacula. This love of movies has inspired him to explore his creative interests, resulting in his writing of short stories and co-producing a web series. Currently, he is developing a horror novel, showcasing his love of storytelling. His diverse interests, including his enjoyment of Dungeons and Dragons, make him a multifaceted individual committed to exploring new ideas and experiences through movies and literature.




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