(director/writer: Jeff Wadlow; screenwriters: Greg Erb, Jason Oremland; cinematographer: James McMillan; editor: Sean Albertson; music: Sparks & Shadows; cast: Pyper Braun (Alice),  DeWanda Wise (Jessica), Tom Payne (Max), Taegen Burns (Taylor), Veronica Falcon (Dr. Alana Soto), Betty Buckley (Gloria), Cecilia Leal (Mom in Hotel), Alix Angelis (Samantha), Samuel Salary (Ben), Dane DiLiegro (Chauncey Beast), Matthew Sato (Liam); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Jason Blum, Jeff Wadlow; Lionsgate; 2024)

“An unimaginative creepy horror pic about an imaginary friend, who is an evil children’s doll in a suburban household.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is the first film writer-director Jeff Wadlow (“Kick-Ass 2″/”Never Back Down”) has made for the Blumhouse franchise. Wadlow co-writes it with Greg Erb and Jason Oremland. They provide the usual horror pic scares and tropes for a silly film that is not good but might be strangely watchable if you’re an adult who never grew up. That is, it might be watchable to some horror pic fans who can relate to its supernatural thrills even with the film’s bad acting, undeveloped story and putrid dialogue.

Imaginary is an unimaginative creepy horror pic about an imaginary evil friend, a children’s doll, found in a suburban household, that was left behind by the child who possessed it and grew up and moved on without taking him along.

Jessica (DeWanda Wise) and her new husband Max (Tom Payne, Brit actor), and his two 

children from a former marriage, Taylor (Taegen Burns) and Alice (Pyper Braun), move into Jessica’s childhood home, hoping for a fresh start.

Both of them have experienced some prior grief–for her, there was no father at home as a child; for him, he had to deal with the mental problems of his ex-wife.

When the youngest daughter Alice finds an old teddy bear in the house, she calls it Chauncey and refers to it as her new friend. Well, the doll turns nasty and real, and becomes a problem. Thereby the couple have a problem, as the doll ingrains himself into the household and has no intention this time of allowing the family to move on without him–as it plays demented games to make sure of this. Which I guess proves, you should never expect to safely retrieve a childhood doll you abandoned.

REVIEWED ON 3/13/2024  GRADE: C+