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Cry_Wolf (2005)

DVD Cover (Rogue Pictures)
Genres:
Horror, Slasher Film, Teen Horror
Director:
Jeff Wadlow Jeff Wadlow
Starring:
Erica Yates Erica Yates
Julian Morris Julian Morris
Lindy Booth Lindy Booth
Jane Beard Jane Beard
Gary Cole Gary Cole
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5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Eight unsuspecting high school seniors at a posh boarding school, who delight themselves on playing games of lies, come face-to-face with terror and learn that nobody believes a liar - even when they're telling the truth. --TMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 21, 2005
"Avoid suspicion. Manipulate your friends. Eliminate your enemies."

Sounds more like George W. Bush's oath of office than the plot for a new teenage horror flick. If George W. Bush had been in this film, you would have recognized him, simply because every character in this film has a higher I.Q. than our 'beloved' President of the United States. Characters in these types of films are supposed to have high I.Q.'s and extraordinary deductory senses. The film does not work if they are all morons, for we know they are not going to figure anything out -- and if they can't, why should we even bother? George W. would have been sitting in the chapel with the rest of them, as they explained the rules of the game he would crush a beer can on his head and declare war on the East Wing of the library. If you have yet to guess, "Cry Wolf" takes place on a school campus -- the prestigious Westlake Preparatory School, where bored kids of wealth and privilege converge to act like idiots and get people killed. However, it is this tongue-in-cheek treatment of the story and the plot that makes "Cry Wolf" stand out from most other wannabes in the genre. This film might not have been the very next "Scream", but it certainly eclipsed garbage like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "Urban Legends". This film had an interesting premise, an unusual pay-off, and Jared Padalecki. What more could a gay film critic want in a quaint little horror movie?

The stars of this little 'game' are: Owen (Julian Morris), who has just transferred to the school after being kicked out from several others; Dodger (Lindy Booth, the self-appointed queen of the school who gets a kick out of getting the best of her so called friends; Tom (Jared Padalecki), the almost dim Texan with the incredible looks and the thankless role of serving as a sidekick to the lead; and, Randall (Jesse Janzen) the pierced up rebel who dislikes newbies and always talks as if he has zero desire in making friends or keeping the ones he has. These are not all of the gamers but they are the only ones we care about. The film revolves around this circle of friends using a local murder in town to start an e-mail rumor about an actual serial killer who picks off students at various schools according to a certain formula. The goal is to see how many students they can fool into believing this. Their plan goes haywire, however, when Owen begins receiving threatening e-mails from someone who is claiming to be 'the wolf', the fictional serial killer they invented. Has The Wolf become a reality, thanks to their scheming? Is he merely an elaborate joke that is being perpetrated by his new association of acquaintances? That is what we are given in order to figure that answer out. We feel hurried because we know the characters in this film are highly intelligent -- we have to figure it out before they do. Gary Cole co-stars as Owen's father, and Jon Bon Jovi as a journalism professor.

This film was the winner of the Virginia One Million Dollar Film Festival, in which a script is selected and the winner given one million dollars to turn that script into a motion picture. Director Jeff Wadlow does a fantastic job of making this film look like it had a much larger budget. He cast the film with virtual unknowns, with the exception of Padalecki, Bon Jovi, and Cole -- but he did fill it with familiar faces. We recognize Lindy Booth from "Dawn of the Dead", and the rest of the young cast are regulars all over the WB. He also managed to shoot, on location, at a college that has all the right elements that the film needs -- the well kept campus, the bizarre and winding architecture, the incredible amount of greenery. The film probably ended up looking so great because Wadlow probably utilized something all directors have at their disposal, but seldom use -- the ability to ask people for assistance.

As mentioned earlier, this film has Jared Padalecki, and that is enough of a treat for me to give it a positive recommendation, regardless of the quality of the film. It is merely a coincidence that the film turned out to be enjoyable as well. Julian Morris turned in an entertaining performance as the little British spy, and I suspect we will be seeing more from him soon, possibly somewhere on television. Lindy Booth also managed to really shine as the strongest character in the film, with Padalecki also playing the eccentric jock to perfection. The biggest delight for me was seeing Jon Bon Jovi actually show he has acting talent. As Mr. Walker, he does exactly what he needs to do to arouse suspicion of his character, with his looks and his dialogue and his behavior. Gary Cole was pretty much wasted as Owen's father, but he does get to try his hand at a British accent, and he gets one scene at the end to possibly justify the amount of money they spent on acquiring his services.

This was just one hell of an enjoyable motion picture. I did not go in expect much, for I know how redundant these teen horror films can get. I walked out of the place feeling kind of nostalgic, for all of those films like "Scream" released in the 90's that had little artistic merit, but still managed to entertain. It got me thinking -- why do films have to be so amazing all of the time. If you pay eight bucks for a ticket and are entertained for ninety straight minutes, why does it matter if the film is more like "Million Dollar Baby" than "Valentine"? All that matters is that you were entertained. Most people who give films negative reviews, myself included, were still entertained by the film, and that includes critics like Roger Ebert and Janet Maslin. "Cry Wolf" took an intriguing premise, and an incredibly minuscule budget and produced a highly effective thriller, and one of the best entries to the teen horror genre I have seen in years. You might not be able to guess how the film is going to turn out, but neither would George W. Bush.

7.5/10.
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