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Detroit-Made Horror Film Makes its Debut

By: Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers | October 29, 2018

Tonight, just two days before Halloween, local filmmaker Luke Jaden is screening his directorial debut, Boo!, to a Detroit audience for the first time.

On the surface, Boo! is about a family wrapped up in a suburban Halloween tradition, but as things progress and more is revealed, that tradition might just be a catalyst for something more.

For the uninitiated, “Booing” is a Halloween tradition found in many suburban neighborhoods that involves someone leaving a bag on a neighbor’s doorstep, ringing the doorbell and leaving before they answer. In the bag, the neighbor will find treats, small toys and, most importantly, a note with a drawing of a ghost on it that says, “You have been boo’d.”

It’s a real-world chain letter of sorts that asks for you to post the ghost drawing on your door, notifying others you have already been boo’d, and then doing the same thing to another neighbor or, as the story goes, the ghost will get you.

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The official movie poster for Boo!

“I’ve always been into the genre of horror. I grew up as a kid in a quite religious household and Stephen King books weren’t allowed in my house,” Jaden said. “I would pretty much sneak to garage sales as a kid in my neighborhood and I would buy Stephen King paperbacks along with, like, Peter Straub and Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft and Robert McCammon…I just had this curiosity that led me to wanting to discover the other side, which is horror.”

That curiosity led Jaden not to film school, but to writing and directing his own short films in the Metro Detroit area. As he says, “making short films was my film school. It was learning and experimenting and not being afraid to fail and really just trying a bunch of things out and seeing what works and what doesn’t work.”

A few years ago, Jaden lost his mother to breast cancer. In his grief, Jaden found the inspiration for what would become his directorial feature debut.

“There’s this whole ideology I feel when you lose someone who’s that close to you where it’s like two options: A) you move on or B) you don’t move on and you’re haunted this monstrous thing called life,” Jaden said. “I think for me it was, like, well I’m going to move on, but I’m also going to express those feelings and that emotion I felt when I had lost my mother…because death is a beautiful thing, but it’s also a nightmarish thing. While it’s enlightening, it’s also haunting.”

Boo! centers on a religious family of four: a father at odds with his religious beliefs, a mother haunted by a child that was never born, a teenage daughter suffering from depression and a young son that feels unheard in his family. Amidst all of this, the family is brought into the Booing tradition but wants nothing to do with it.

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Local filmmaker Luke Jaden’s directorial feature debut Boo! is screening at Cinema Detroit Monday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m.

“That is when we start seeing this family unravel,” Jaden said.

The film was entirely shot in Metro Detroit, primarily in a house in Indian Village. It also features notable locations such as the John K. King bookstore and Belle Isle. Shooting in Detroit was a deliberate choice for Jaden.

“I think Detroit is just this place that has so many stories and there’s so many stories that still need to be told,” he said. “It’s an incredible city. I love it and I want to continue to make movies that are shot in Detroit and/or set in Detroit.”

Co-written by Jaden and Diane Michelle, Boo! is being screened tonight only at Cinema Detroit at 7:30 p.m. with a Q&A to follow. It stars Jaden Piner (Moonlight), Aurora Perrineau (Truth or Dare), Rob Zabrecky (A Ghost Story), Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs. Evil Dead), Charley Palmer Rothwell (Dunkirk) and Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild).