The two-word review of Boo (2005; aka, with exclaimation point, Boo!) would be "Pretty bad!" But here's the longer version:
It's Halloween & spooky things start happening right from the beginning. The acting is massively awful, but whenever the actors are absent from the screen or at least not talking, some of the visuals are artfully strange.
The occasionally effective visuals makes it all the more puzzling that everything else about the film just sucks so bad. It's a case of the CGI & set design outpacing the performances.
Since artful visuals aren't that common in shlock horror, I tried to enjoy the film just for this one well-done aspect, but it wasn't easy.
Filmed in an actual abandoned hospital, it came out like a junky knock-off of Session 9 (2001) which was shot in an even cooler abandoned hospital.
One-dimensional dullard teens are planning a Halloween scare party at said abandoned hospital.
One guy is unexpectedy a coward in the face of certain doom & we're supposed to despise him for it; that's what passes for characterization.
The third floor of the hospital is said to be haunted. Some of the folks who get stuck on that floor turn into walking corpses who fall to pieces, framed as gorey jokes.
In flashbacks we learn the third floor was where the criminally insane were housed. When the hospital caught fire, neither the criminally insane nor the nursing staff could get out. The ghost of Big Nurse (Dee Wallace-Stone) still keeps the insane spirits imprisoned in the ghost-ward.
Although there is that skeleton of a plot, the story isn't that important. It's more like a Spook House ride at a carnival, letting you sit passively as the car takes you through a series of tableaus borrowed from better horror films if not from video games, or a sampler of standard routines that might've made a passin' fair Vaudeville Horror Review.
First-time director Ferrante is a long-time horror film critic who came straight out of horror fandom, so there's a bit of the tongue-in-cheek about his refusal to be original. Let me grade some of the "thrilling" if unoriginal tableaus:
1) A dog snatched by a "something" & later found to be skinned. D-
Personally I didn't care for the characters & certainly wasn't surprised by the story content.
2) A ghost-girl at the window. C+
3) Blood trail of dragged body leading to evil 3rd floor, where the number three drips blood: D
4) Spooky wheelchair moves with no one in it: F
5) Tidy clean clown costume comes alive & drips earthworms & mealworms obtained by the FX crew from the live bait or pet store: C
6) The one-way-ride elevator: C
7) Melty teen bodies: B-
8) Big Nurse ghost scoffs Psycho ghost: C
It's a competent-enough bit of ordinary shlock horror without one thing about it that will not be way too familiar.
But it fills its market niche & delivers a big helping of gruesome cliches, so it's miles ahead of all too many other badly acted independent horror fiascos.
A lot of cheapo horror films invest most of their budget in a nice image for the dvd box, showing something cool you'll never see in the film. Boo has the usual cool dvd box, but for a change it has many more images like it throughout the film itself.
Continue to the next madhouse:
Death Tunnel (2005)
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl