Imaginary: A horror that falls flat despite endless potential

Imaginary was always going to be a hard sell with the main villain being a teddy but yet the film could’ve been spine-chilling.

The film has largely fallen flat sitting on a 4.9/10 on IMDb and a 32 per cent Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes and this is unsurprising.

Here are my thoughts – be warned, there are spoilers ahead.

The story follows Jessica (DeWanda Wise) as she returns to her childhood home with her two stepchildren and husband Max (Tom Payne).

As a huge Walking Dead fan I was excited to see Tom, however he doesn’t largely feature in the film and isn’t seen at all in the second half.

Jessica discovers her imaginary friend, Chauncey the teddy-bear, is in fact real and unhappy to see she left him in her childhood home which she now returns to.

Recent horror has failed because of their monsters being unscary and at times comedic; Chauncey, even when a large, real bear at the climax of the film, is not scary in the slightest.

The scarier monster is shown at the opening of the film as Jessica is chased in a nightmare by a giant spider she created from her books – something largely underutilised as this was the more terrifying of the two creatures created but is left largely to the opening scene.

Throughout the story, we learn that despite it seeming that Jessica’s stepdaughter Alice is the one being attacked by the imaginary friend, it is Jessica that Chauncey has his sights on the whole time.

This fact becomes obvious very early into the film but annoyingly, when it is revealed in the climax, it is explained to the Nth degree being over-described as the whole audience wonders if the writers have any faith in the audience’s ability to pick up on the most obvious of clues.

Admittedly, Chauncey only being seen by Jessica is a good reveal as is seeing her father do everything to protect Jessica as a child from being taken by her not so imaginary friend.

However, Gloria (Betty Buckley) is not needed in this film.

She is one of the key over-explainers of the reveal mentioned above and is there just for a swerve at the end of the film as she states how her goal the whole time was to trap Jessica in an imaginary land where she belongs – totally unnecessary and adds time onto an already long ending.

This imaginary world is where I have my biggest problems with this film.

First of all the children leave Chauncey’s imaginary world and it seems Jessica did too except she only did it in her mind despite the fact the kids are actually out of the world and do eventually help her escape – very elaborate but not in a good way and just became confusing as to what happened.

Recent horror films in cinema have not scared me – maybe this is my own fault for watching so many but the 15 age rating this has is over-the-top due to the lack of an intimidating villain or any real scares.

There are endless possibilities in the climax for literally any monster to come out as the world as it is imaginary and based on creativity and yet we get Chauncey as a real bear and a family with black eyes – that is it.

There is potential for so much more here that goes underutilised and led me wanting the film to end, which it had the chance to do, at many points before it actually did.

Finally, we saw her father look into the villain’s eyes earlier in the film and he is not the same person he is and has to be in a care home.

Not too long after we see Jessica do exactly the same and yet it appears she is totally fine – a hugely obvious plot hole.

Yes, my views above do seem very negative, but it is largely let down to an ending that could’ve been so much more.

Overall it was a watchable film but had more potential and I will give it 4.5/10.

Cover: Image by Izzy Loney from Pixabay

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