Blumhouse has a new horror out on streaming called Imaginary. This review is going to be brief. I watched Stopmotion the other day and, while not the best horror ever, it was a refreshing change to see something new.

Imaginary looked along the same lines, so I thought I would give it a go. The description says:

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.

It stars DeWanda Wise, Taegen Burns, Pyper Braun, Betty Buckley, Tom Payne, and Veronica Falcon. It is written by Jeff Wadlow, Greg Erb, and Jason Oremland. Wadlow directed and is best known for Kick-Ass 2, Truth or Dare and, most recently, Fantasy Island. Not a great start.

The Story

The story is familiar. A kid has an imaginary friend, Chauncy the Bear, who’s evil.

Jessica (Wise) is a new stepmum to Alice (Braun) and Taylor (Burns). Alice is younger and doesn’t mind the new mum, Taylor is a teenager and hates her. This was such a new way of setting up a movie like this, it’s original, new, fresh, and brilliant. Sorry, my Sarco-Meter has just buzzed.

Jessica writes books about a friendly spider, but that doesn’t really matter. The main thing is they move back to her old house, where Alice finds Chauncy in the basement and makes it her best imaginary friend. Has this little girl never seen a horror movie?

Taylor and Alice’s real mum, who’s mentally unstable, breaks into the house and attacks Jessica. This is a subplot that doesn’t really pan out anywhere.

Alice says that Chauncy has to do a scavenger hunt, if she completes it, she can join him to where he lives. Jessica starts to get worried and calls in a child psychiatrist, but again, this doesn’t pan out.

The good thing is the old neighbour, who used to babysit Jessica, knew there was something up and spent her life trying to find out about Chauncy. It’s some form of spirit that attaches itself to children and gets evil if abandoned. It turns out it all started with Jessica.

Yes, that is a spoiler, but honestly, if you don’t see it coming, you must be dumber than Lloyd Christmas. They all end up in a dream world, where Jessica has to save the day and everyone lives happily ever after. Well, apart from the last shot which shows Chauncy with another kid. Yawn.

The Same Old Tropes

I was hoping Imaginary was going to be something new, but no, it’s a story that has been done to death. There are a couple of jump scares that don’t land, but that’s about it.

One thing that I did notice is the now-frequent use of the tope that has the main character in focus, with a creepy figure behind them, out of focus. I’ve been seeing it all the time in new horrors. It was first done well by John Carpenter in Halloween, over 40 years ago.

Imaginary is produced by Blumhouse and I am starting to see them simply as a conveyor belt for mid-range horrors. I know they have some decent movies on their roster, The Purge, Not Safe for Work, Get Out, Split, BlacKKKlansman, and Whiplash. Looking at the rest of their stuff, it’s all churned-out horrors, most of which I’ve never heard of.

They have also been churning out sequels, the Insidious series, more Purges, the Paranormal Activity movies, and the Sinister series. Recently, it all seems like Imaginary – dull, predictable, and boring.


Imaginary is an instantly forgettable movie. It gives you no reason to develop a vested interest in any of the characters, the bear wasn’t scary, and it is all just dull. It’s one of those movies that a bunch of drunken kids will go and see and come out thinking they had a good time.

At the end of the movie, you see the “real” Chauncy and I laughed out loud at what it looked like. It was supposed to be scary, but it wasn’t. If you have nothing else to watch, perhaps give Imaginary a go. Otherwise, do something more interesting instead.

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