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Blumhouse has a hit-or-miss roster and “Imaginary” feels like another chapter in the list of filler films. Directed by “Truth or Dare” producer Jeff Wadlow, this is the newest Blumhouse lineup chapter called “Imaginary”. The plague of excessively tangled plots carried out by overly facile means i.e. flat expositional dialogue, car commercial visual style, and an apparent first draft creative concept that fails to remove all rough spots are its major problems.

Jessica (DeWanda Wise) is a children’s book author and illustrator trying to create bonds with her stepdaughters: Taylor (Taegen Burns), an angry and angsty teenager; and Alice (Pyper Braun), a younger girl who is more open-minded. As they moved into Jessica’s childhood home, Alice got attached to Chauncey, an imaginary friend that only worsens their already fragile domestic situation which also evokes memories from Jessica’s past life. This simple rite of passage takes on sinister hues as Alice must perform increasingly unsettling acts for her bear before he will take her on “a trip”.

Within this domestic drama of Jessica feeling alienated from the family unit is another layer about obscured child trauma and fractured relationship with the father. Her get-away place is her imagination where she writes children’s books. Similarly, mental health issues landed Taylor and Alice’s mother in a mental institution hence when Alice starts looking for herself she opens up her mind letting Chauncey in. Though it becomes more obvious throughout the film that there is a psychic bond between Alice and Jessica, the rest of it veers off into confusion adding new laws, worldbuilding, histories that obliterate what went before.

“Imaginary” teeters off the thin ledge of horror towards very shallow waters of mythic science fiction as soon as Gloria (Betty Buckley) comes back into picture portraying old neighbor who once was babysitting Jessica. There is no longer the usual story of a possessed bear/spirit/demon; instead, there is another world hiding behind a “Coraline”-style door that leads to an underground full of imagination where bug-eyed imaginary friends have taken kidnapped children. It’s like CG haunted house meets Thirteen Ghosts but without any fun or lightness in tone.

However, it seems more like an aimless study of tropes that never gets anywhere than a horror film itself. “Imaginary” lacks scare techniques and gore supporting its attempts at being a genre movie. The typical splatterfest or nail-biter suspense that could have broken the film’s monotony does not exist in here; just a series of disappointments where the hint of bloodshed or danger deflates into yet another tease with no pay-off.

Co-written by Jason Oremland, Wadlow and Greg Erb, the script is hopelessly simplistic; this does not leave much to be expected from an equally shallow acting on part of the cast. Each line is so obvious and fake that it only serves as a lead into another scene or prop up themes. “Imaginary” never seems probed deeply enough to expose its many angles. It could have been a deliberately cheesy blood-splattered version of “Ted,” or it could have gone either way, being ridiculously self-aware horror-comedies like “M3gan” or “Child’s Play.” Instead, however, it just hovers somewhere else in empty space devoid of intent or thought. What it will not do is be another one of its vaguely akin forerunners because what it lacks are their identities. “Imaginary” is unremarkable that one might forget its title,, dull and aimless, which is ironic for such a film that glorifies imagination but surprisingly forgets about the most important aspect of itself.

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