Hello again, folks. It’s Tuesday and time for another journey into the macabre. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the European cinema this month, and so I decided to give some time for a fine product of North America. I selected a film which had somehow gotten on my Netflix queue and sent to me, by means I can only say are unexplained. I don’t recall adding it (but I do add a lot), but it did seem unlikely that I had moved it so high in my order. Yet it did seem to have some things going for it. A ghost story. A spooky hospital. Things that go bump in the night, and some that say…
Boo (2005) starring Trish Coren, M. Steven Felty, Jilon Ghai, Happy Mahaney, and Dig Wayne. Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante.
A group of college kids spend Halloween night in a abandoned hospital with a deadly past. While Jessie (Coren) begins to have visions that unravel the hospital’s bloody secret, her friends are being picked off by an angry ghost longing to be free.
–Writer/Director Anthony C. Ferrante was the editor in chief of Cinescape magazine. He has also been involved in the makeup departments of films such as Scarecrow(2002) and The Dentist (1996) (with Corbin Bernson… oooh, scary).
–This movie was Trish Coren’s first film. She would re-team with Ferrante for 2007’s Headless Horseman.
–Dig Wayne a long time recording artist with several different bands. His song Just Got Lucky was hit for his band JoBoxers. The song was later used in the soundtrack to The 40 Year Old Virgin.
–Shirlene Quigley, who played Honey, previously appeared as herself in Learn to Hip Hop:Vol 2 (2003). She would go on to star in Texas Chainsaw Musical (2007) , and show up as a Chorus Girl the same year in the failed American remake of”Viva Blackpool”.
The Bug Speaks
So you might be thinking that my synopsis was pretty brief tonight. Well, there’s good reason for that. This is a movie that isn’t heavy with plot or original ideas. What it does have is some pretty good scenes and some funny stuff that makes no damn sense at all. It’s a pretty entertaining film, but not particularly with the whys and wherefores of what was going on. This is a flick that surges along on it’s own happy trail to horror cliché abandon, and you’re either with it or you’re not.
Let me start out with a disclaimer to the performances in this one, or one in particular. While there was only one really good acting job done in this flick, I would have to say that every single actress in the film was easily more talented than Trish Coren. She gets off to a rocky start with an opening scene being a take on the thoroughly outdated Scream. So that doesn’t do her her any favors, but her performance felt like Elle Woods dropped into a haunted house. While I would relish seeing Reese Witherspoon splattered across the walls of a haunted hospital that will have to wait for another time. Coren’s Jessie has visions (cut scenes) that explain all kind of the lore and back story of the hospital that are mostly uninteresting. (Apart from the cameo role by Dee Wallace of E.T. and The Frighteners. ) Thankfully these are used sparingly, and do end up paying off somewhat in the end.
That being said there’s the other side of the coin, and I’m talking about Dig Wayne. Now apart from having a cool name that sounds like an interjection, he is sadly underused in this flick. Dig stars as Arlo Ray Baines, a washed up old cop who once was a blaxploitation star. We see Arlo checking out a bit of his film, “Dynamite Jones meets Count Pimpula”, pretty early on, and it’s too bad. I missed some of the rising action while I pondering on how great thatfilm would have been. No matter since Wayne does a great job bringing the character to life, and even gets to utter the classic line, “shoot me in the face… I’ll kick your ass.”
The acting aside, this flick has a good many laughs mixed in with some decent jump scares. It also yields some of the best dumb characters of all time. Take for example Jilon Ghai as Kevin. Kevin proves that some people are just meant to be taken out by avenging spirits in a creepy hospital. When confronted with a levitating clown costume, does Kevin run away? Of course not, he pokes at it ’til maggots drop out. And when he walks past an eerie looking hole in the wall, does he look into it or shine a light in it? Of course not, he just sticks his hand right into it.
The other fairly strong suit is the makeup. With Ferrante having previous experience in the field, he brings the gore quite strongly at some points, but usually counterbalanced with an element of over the top zaniness. Many of the characters suffer a fate where they literally fall apart, and this is done quite well. However if one of the victims happens to get shot, they explode into a giant spray of blood.
This is not a film that is going to change your life. It’s not going to help you find a new car or the woman of your dreams. It won’t even hardly deliver on being a movie. Still the way that it does achieve something is by being it’s own kind of film. Take a bit of Evil Dead, add in a dash ofThe Changeling, a side order of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, sprinkle in some J-horror, and presto…BOO. At a solid 100 minutes, it’s a good film to pop on when you’ve got something else to do. It won’t take up much of your time or attention, but it will manage to make you either jump or smile once.