Imaginary review: Silly but fun horror - SciFiNow

Imaginary review: Silly but fun horror

A young girl’s friendship with a stuffed bear she finds in the basement turns sinister in new Blumhouse horror, Imaginary. Our review…

Children’s book illustrator Jessica, (DeWanda Wise) faces the daunting challenge of blending her new family into her childhood home in upcoming Blumhouse horror, Imaginary. The struggle to connect with her stepdaughters is amplified by the resistance of teenage Alex, who refuses to accept Jessica, while her real mother is suspiciously absent. Alex keeps a watchful eye on her younger sister Alice (played by a brilliant Pyper Braun), coercing her not to take to the invasion of a new matriarch.

Desperate for companionship and security, Alice ventures into the basement of the new house and is called to a raggedy teddy bear she names Chauncey. Forming a bond with the bear as a new imaginary friend, Chauncey’s influence takes a dark turn, transforming innocent childhood games into something far more sinister.

Acutely aware of the unnerving and perplexing behaviour of Alice, Jessica finds herself forced to confront unpleasant and repressed memories from her own childhood, realising that she has her own connection with Chauncey.

The house, with its shadowy corners and obligatory bumps in the night becomes a claustrophobic backdrop for a developing psychological drama, and the pairing of Wise and Braun provides a well-earned anchor to the emotional core of the movie.

While the third act might not be to everyone’s taste, with a tonal shift into something oddly reminiscent of Labyrinth, the gear change certainly injects a more playful element into the story.

The malevolent teddy strikes a good balance between unnerving wrongness and childlike appeal. Its broken features appear sweet but are smartly unsettling, exuding a deeper malevolence behind them. His appearance is a potent symbol of the darkness that lurks in the recesses of childhood memory.

Though it lacks some of the finesse of top-tier Blumhouse, Imaginary is a fun, slightly silly horror that holds an enjoyment in watching the story play out with more psychological twists than you would expect.

Imaginary is out in cinemas now