While using a childhood toy as the villain for a horror film can be rattling for the audience, the scariest thing in Jeff Wadlow’s Imaginary was the audacity of the writers to have the audience sit through it.

Imaginary, which premiered Friday, follows Jessica, a children’s book author, and her newly blended family made up of her husband and his two children from a previous marriage — the youngest named Alice and a teenager named Taylor.

The film opens with Jessica frantically running from something in a distorted version of her apartment. This opener, while gripping, is overshadowed by confusion. I thought to myself, “Did I miss something somehow?” But a few seconds later we see it’s just a nightmare. 

Following this first scene, we learn Jessica and her new family are moving back into her childhood home she left at 5 years old. While Taylor and Jessica are constantly butting heads, Alice seems to really love her new stepmom. 

Once in the home, we are introduced to Chauncey, a stuffed bear Alice finds in the depths of the eerie basement. And in classic horror film style, Chauncey is haunted.

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Immediately, Imaginary becomes a compilation of scenes that simply don’t fit together, such as Jessica’s father leaving for an undisclosed reason, Taylor sneaking a guy into the home and a random old lady who is obsessed with Jessica stopping in their house.

While setting the story within the childhood home is captivating, the movie’s exploration of another world where the house resides doesn’t fit at all. It feels like Wadlow picked an ending out of a hat and ran with it. But the entire film feels like that too — the whole plot appears as if at least five separate storylines were strung together.

Seeing as this film is a Blumhouse movie, I expected craziness. Their recent work has been interesting to say the least. While their 2022 release M3GAN leads with laughs and is purposefully campy, Imaginary feels like the creators really believed it was great when it’s not.

M3GAN is funny because we all know it’s a joke, but the few jumpscares add a classic horror element. Imaginary isn’t funny nor scary. The entire film I waited on the edge of my seat for a jumpscare and once it finally came toward the end, I was unsatisfied. It’s too developed as a regular movie before it turns into a horror film.

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If Blumhouse is going to continue along this humorous and immature path for their horror films, they need to fully lean in rather than having one foot in the door and the other jumping in and out of storylines.

And if they are going to use a stuffed animal for a horror film, they should make the stuffed animal actually be the villain, not an underwhelming red-herring. I want to see a stuffed animal with a knife next time or Imaginary might be my last Blumhouse film.