With a name like Boo! you might expect this horror movie to have a ton of boo scares, complete with random cats jumping out of nowhere every five minutes. There are a few boos but the movie, written and directed by effects expert Anthony C. Ferrante, plays more subtle and creepy than the title implies.
Something like a Session Nine for the teenybopper set, complete with a Scream-styled opening, Boo! plunks a group of attractive college kids into a haunted hospital on Halloween night and watches them get picked off one by one (usually after having had sex or drinking). Since the characters are generally pretty stupid — with the exception of one smart blonde, Trish Coren channeling a poor man’s Reese Witherspoon — you’re happy to see them go, the more gruesomely the better. There’s a somewhat trite back story added in via flashbacks about a mental patient (M. Steven Felty) and a nurse (Dee Wallace Stone) who burned to death years ago on the third floor of the hospital, which sets the stage for lots of bad memories to surface in that very spot and gives the ghosts a reason to be there.
The makeup effects, depicting everything from gunshot wounds to skinned dogs to burned flesh, are perhaps the most impressive thing about Boo!. It’s a nice movie to look at thanks not only to the cool creep-outs (ghost girls, malevolent clowns, possessed friends), but the crisp cinematography compliments the dark, lonely location (the famous Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles, the site of many a macabre movie) and sets the scene for a natural feeling of ghastly foreboding.
Boo! is not a movie that more discerning genre fans will want to see again and again, but it’s a good creeper-outer for younger kids and those who scare easily. The acting is rather uneven (though above par in regards to most horror indies), and the movie gets hopelessly stuck on “the third floor” just over halfway through, but Boo! is still worth a peek on DVD.
Sorry, no review of additional release material, but here’s what you can expect to find on the disc:
• Audio commentary by Ferrante, producer David E. Allen, co-producer Sheri Bryant and editor Chris Conlee
• The Making of Boo! featurette
• The Special Effects of Boo! featurette
• Intensive Scare: Tales of the Linda Vista Hospital featurette
• Deleted, alternate and extended scenes with Ferrante commentary
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson