The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - BOO! | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - BOO!

boo! review
A family becomes the target of an urban legend.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Luke Jaden

Starring: Jill Marie Jones, Rob Zabrecky, Aurora Perrineau, Jaden Piner

boo! poster

Boo! sets the tone early with some '80s action movie style credits overlaying a distant view of a city at night.

On the street level, it's Halloween and the kids the walk in the murky neighborhood in their macabre costumes.

A title card tell us this is Detroit in 1980.

The darkness here is atmospheric but also makes it hard to see details; nevertheless we focus in on a man at his car. He clutches a piece of paper emblazoned with the words "You have been Booed!"

He retrieves a shotgun from his car, breaks into a house and then shortly a shotgun blast shatters the quiet streets.

boo! review

Now it's modern day in Detroit and we are introduced to a small suburban nuclear family at breakfast. They're enjoying their leisurely meal before a doorbell alerts them to something on the doorstep - it’s a package with a label declaring "You've been booed!"

The youngest son, Caleb (Jaden Piner - ok), is clearly frightened by this and explains to his family that it’s like a dangerous chain letter, something that must be passed on in order to avoid its deadly consequences.

The deeply religious father, James (Rob Zabrecky - adequate) is not buying any of it and says it's paganism to even celebrate Halloween.

The obviously rebellious tattooed daughter, Morgan (Aurora Perrineau), laughs and tells them that just like a chain letter, it's no big deal.

Elsewhere, Mum is popping pills and caressing the cross on her necklace; there's obviously a secret there.

Caleb seems to have some preternatural knowledge of the consequences of Boo and this is even more obvious when he takes himself upstairs to do some sort of ritual and talk to his Goldfish as if it were the end.

boo! review

That night while Dad searches the library for I-don't-know-what and Mum sits alone at the dinner table smoking and drinking wine, Morgan defies their wishes and heads out to see her boyfriend Ash (a soulful Charley Palmer Rothwell).

There's an extensive sex scene set to a wildly inappropriate but lovely song; meanwhile Caleb at home is getting more afraid and calls his wandering Mum to come back to him.

They all suffer some sinister visions in one form or another and there are some nice and genuine family conversations that lead to Dad researching the urban legend of someone who ignored his 'Boo' and suffered the consequences - it's the 1980 murder that we saw earlier in the film.

It seems the curse is real, and daughter Morgan is tormented by a horrific body horror moment that made me gasp, while mum is haunted by images of her sorrowful past.

Caleb's horrific visions worsen while dad is downstairs in the lounge room saying the Lord's Prayer; it seems they are headed for an unexpectedly mean finale that definitely leaves an impression.

boo! review

All in all, this is a competent entry into the horror genre. It has fully formed characters, believable family chemistry, some decent gore, a few creepy scenes, above average acting, particularly by Perrineau (a natural) as Morgan and Jill Marie Jones as mother ร‰lysรฉ, who perfectly conveys her inner pain. There's a good sense of place and the aesthetic in some of the more artistic shots is nicely realised.

Sure, it sags a little in the middle, with a fair amount of screen time taken up by family drama, but it's this choice that makes the characters more than just types and allows us to understand and bond with them before the real horror kicks into gear.

Overall a successful foray into Halloween themed horror for first time feature director Luke Jaden.

Worth checking out.

Boo! is on Digital Download June 17th.

2019 movie reviews