The opening scenes of A.L. Vijay's Boo are downright terrible. It instantly becomes evident that the director is not technically proficient in horror. Just observe how Kaira (Rakul Preet Singh) is introduced to the audience. The camera, at first, looks at the Halloween decoration before landing on this character. We see masks on the walls and skeletons on the sofa, and the camera moves so slowly that you age a bit by the time Kaira enters the frame. If the movie had taken some more time to show us this character, some of us would have turned into skeletons. Vijay thinks unrushed movements (or shaky tracking shots) and loud bangs are the main ingredients for making a good horror picture. His camera has such a sluggish pace that instead of generating tension or suspense, it detaches us from the story and fills us with restlessness. Even when the characters investigate strange occurrences, you don't hold your breath and watch them in trepidation. Rather, you simply wait for the movie to move on to the next event.
In Boo, four friends gather for a Halloween party and soon start reading horror stories from a "special book." One of those friends is Kaira, and everyone has got together in her apartment. Kaira has to be one of the worst friends ever. She forces Rithu (Vidyullekha Raman) to watch The Conjuring and Evil Dead, even when the latter informs everyone that two of her family members died after watching the mentioned films. And it's not just Rithu. The other two friends are also not very good. The three of them start dancing after scaring Rithu. Of course, Boo doesn't want us to take these portions seriously, but Vijay is inept at comedy. He fails to suffuse these moments with mirth and silliness, so all you can do is say, "Rithu's friends are horrible." "This is not funny," Rithu grouses. I nodded my head in agreement.
I was surprised to see how much the movie didn't care about telling us the names of the characters. My eyes intently looked at the subtitles, waiting for the names to appear in the texts. The characters in the first story are simply referred to as "a journalist" and "granny." In another story, a woman talks to someone named "A" on WhatsApp. Why so much...secrecy? But then, this approach makes sense because the short stories seem like those amateurish spooky tales we told to each other as kids. No one cared about things like names and settings. We only focused on "scary things." And Boo seems like something an amateur cooked up to pass the time until the electricity returned to his building.
There are some decent ideas here, like that video that changes suddenly or the way the hiccups give rise to paranormal activities. But Vijay is unable to convert these ideas into something creepy. None of the actors are suitable for the horror material. Raman especially kills the mood with her dialogue delivery. The tone uncomfortably shits between horror and comedy, and as a result, the movie comes across as neither spooky nor funny. After an excess of incompetence, Boo continuously hits us with twists, which is when the movie becomes somewhat entertaining. I laughed and realized this film was solely made for these shocking reveals. I also understood the reason behind the secrecy concerning the names of the characters in the short stories. If only the rest of the movie had been as trashy and fun as these final scenes...
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