While the title may throw you off, Booger is a wonderful film about dealing with loss and how to pickup your life after. And hairballs.
PLOT: After her dead friend’s cat runs away, Anna grows desperate to find him, ignoring the fact that her life (and body) are totally falling apart.
REVIEW: Booger deals with the aftermath of a massive loss and how that can affect a person. Your twenties are a tough time regardless of circumstance so adding in the loss of a best friend is enough to push most people over the edge. So it’s easy to understand where Anna is coming from. Her friend Izzy isn’t simply just another person, its someone who knew the very being of Anna. Losing Izzy means that Anna has lost a part of herself, so her grief is for more than just physical loss. And anyone that’s experienced intense grief knows how strangely that can manifest itself.
Some films stand out for their characters, their story, or even their visual language. But a select few stand out because of their name, and it’s hard not to be taken aback by the title, Booger. It brings about some obviously gross imagery and isn’t the easiest title to get someone to watch. Let me put your fears aside and say there is no “snotty” imagery in this and is simply the name of a cat. But that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of acts to make you squirm.
I feel like it needs to be stated outright that Booger isn’t your stereotypical body horror. Most of the disgusting and wince-worthy acts are more of the “acting like a cat” variety. So expect some hairballs and skin licking but less so of the more FX-heavy stuff. It’s mostly trippy visuals and some gross-out gags. And I sincerely hope that she didn’t actually eat cat food because I haven’t had my stomach churn in regard to a scene in a long time. Apparently, blood and guts are “a-okay” but suddenly add some pet food being eaten by a human and I get all queasy. Humans are weird. Which almost feels like it could have been a tagline for this film.
Grace Glowicki stars as Anna and she does a great job with a tough role. Disconnected from her surroundings, she’s walking through life on autopilot. It’s fascinating to watch as Anna deals with her conflicted feelings about moving on. She almost feels like an entirely different person when we see flashes of her before Izzy’s death, as she seems so much happier. Those moments, both for their character development and the glimpses of seeing Izzy alive to see how she left such an impact, are some true highlights.
The Mom is absolutely incredible and absolutely broke my heart. While seeing Anna lose her best friend is one thing, the grief of the mother hits harder due to her overt kindness. Anna is cold towards everyone yet this woman is just desperate for connection in the wake of her daughter’s death. As a viewer I found myself wanting to plead with Anna to take this woman up on her offer for dinner. Heather Matarazzo plays an eclectic pet store owner and she’s one of the film’s few light spots. She seems to represent nearly every single “cat person” I’ve ever met. There’s a really great bit with her and a litter box that is hysterical.
Writer/Director Mary Dauterman provides a film that doesn’t always follow the worn path. There are some strange turns in the story but they ultimately serve the greater narrative. Booger is a film about grief and all of the ways that it can manifest itself. While I do feel as though things wrap up a little too perfect and abrupt, the journey getting there was satisfying enough that it didn’t matter much. Loss is something that we all go through.
BOOGER is now playing at FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2023.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/booger-fantasia-review/