By: Devon B. on May 27, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Ninth Dimension (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0, English DD 5.1. 89 minutes
The Movie
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Starring: Trish Coren, M. Steven Felty, Jilion Chai, Nicole Rayburn, Josh Holt, Michael Samluk, Rachel Melvin, Dig Wayne, Happy Mahaney, Dee Wallace Stone
Screenplay: Anthony C. Ferrante
Country: USA
Year: 2005
AKA: Boo!

Anthony C. Ferrante, long time Fangoria scribe, is the writer and director of this goo 'n'grue. One thing he definitely should've re-written was the title. Boo? What a terrible fucking name. The cover says the film is from a producer of Dog Soldiers. The films actually share a few producers, but I assume David Allen is who the cover is talking about, as he's the most involved with the special features. Are we in for a new comedy horror classic like Dog Soldiers?

Boo opens with a shot that copies the opening of Halloween, but quickly the beginning scene starts to become very reminiscent of another popular slasher, Scream.

A group of college kids are setting up a Halloween practical joke on their girlfriends. Unfortunately, they set it up in a haunted, abandoned asylum. Despite immediate spectral phenomena before even entering the building (a la the time jumps in The Frighteners), the most unwilling participant goes in. Once inside they're subjected to ethereal nastiness with some Evil Dead undertones. Meanwhile, a black cop, former star of blaxploitation flicks, goes to the asylum trying to help a friend who's inside trying to locate his missing sister.

Boo offers not so much a haunting as a series of jolts. The reanimated dead seem really easy to kill, and the ghost motivations often seem ridiculous. Boo has some really cringe inducing dialogue, and most of the attempts at humour fail. It borrows too heavily from other films, to the point that when our heroine time travels just like Michael J. Fox in The Frighteners, she witnesses Dee Wallace Stone in the past…just like Michael J. Fox in The Frighteners! I certainly have no qualms with the inclusion of Dee, but they should've done something new with her. The FX are generally okay, but there is some bad CGI, and the moon looks like a glow in the dark sticker that's lost most of its charge.

Aside from a funny, and very brief, play on blaxploitation horror, there's not much of value here for hardcore genre enthusiasts, which is disappointing given it was helmed by one. Boo's an okay popcorn movie, good for heckling at a video party.
Boo is presented at 1.78:1 in a 16x9 enhanced print. The film has quite a few specks, which seemed odd, but it is a new movie, so the print is otherwise very sharp and nice.
The audio is presented in a 5.1 or 2.0 mix. The sound is vibrant and well done. Sometimes the sound FX are a bit overpowering, perhaps for shock value, but otherwise the audio is of high standard.
Extra Features
Boo comes with a commentary track featuring producers David Allen and Sheri Bryant, editor Chris Conlee, and Ferrante. The track reveals that the opening scene was all meant to be homage to Halloween, and was written in the 80s in response to bad Halloween sequels. I still think Scream had a heavy influence by the time the film was actually being made. Ferrante and the editor are the more interesting commentators, but Allen is stupid and keeps talking over the others, which greatly hurts the overall value of the track.

There's also a 16-minute making of, which includes background info on Graveyard Films, the company that made its debut with Boo. The featurette has a little about the hospital where the film was shot, but has a lot of the usual drivel that makes these making ofs up. It is admitted that the title Boo was inspired by the title of Scream. Other featurettes include a decent 10-minute look at the FX, and a six-minute overview of the actual creepiness felt by the cast and crew at the supposedly really haunted location where the shoot took place. For some reason, Boo gets an exclamation point in these special features, to become Boo!

The deleted and extended scenes are included with optional commentary. No great losses here, and the alternate ending with a terrible knock-knock joke should never have been filmed. For some reason, these scenes are presented with clocks running on them. You'd think they could've taken those off…

Finishing things off are some trailers, including Boo's. One of the trailers is for Cemetery Gates, also from a producer of Dog Soldiers. Behind that rather silly title, lurks a film about, seriously now, a genetically enhanced, killer…Tasmanian devil! I didn't know they were one of the most vicious animals alive, so I found the trailer informative as well as amusing. The devil looks like a rodent of unusual size from The Princess Bride, which I guess makes sense 'cause they are rodents. The film co-stars Reggie Bannister, who doesn't appear to have aged since Phantasm.
The Verdict
The flipside of the brilliant, slow burner Session 9, Boo is a ghost movie for the Scream generation. It's not dull, but the only people it will frighten are those that fall for obvious jump scares. The film suffers from its own sense of hippness, and seems to think it's highly original, when it just isn't.
Movie Score
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