Publicity Stills of "Cry Wolf"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki, Jon Bon Jovi, Ethan Cohn
RunTime: 1 hr 28 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG

Official Website: http://crywolfmovie.com/splash.html

Opening Day: 16 March 2006

Synopsis :

After one too many incidents of bad behavior at his last school, Owen Matthews arrives at Westlake Prep--where a young woman has recently been found murdered in the dark woods near the boarding school's campus. Owen quickly falls in with the school's unofficial "liars' club," including the beautiful and saavy Dodger and quick-talking, short-tempered Tom. At Owen's suggestion, his new friends decide to expand their game's reach beyond campus, by spreading an online rumor that a serial killer called "The Wolf" committed the recent murder and is planning to strike again. The mischievous group's description of "The Wolf's" intended victims are based on the people they know best--each other. Only when the school's journalism teacher, Rich Walker, warns the group about the kinds of predators that lurk on the internet does Owen begin to regret sending their falsified story into cyberspace. When the described "victims" suddenly start to disappear, Owen, Dodger, and Tom are no longer able to determine where the
lies end and the truth begins. As someone--or something--starts hunting the players themselves, the game turns terrifyingly real.

Movie Review:

Everyone knows of the fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." After repeated false alarms the villagers stopped listening to the boy because he was routinely deceiving them. They were tired of being pulled by a string and led to nothing despite great anticipation. That's exactly how "Cry_Wolf" plays out, a 90-minute false alarm. It would be easy to pass off “Cry_Wolf,” a film about a murderer stalking kids at a posh boarding school, as just another tired slasher film based on what we’ve seen in trailers and television ads. The ads feature screaming teenagers running from a knife-wielding killer in an orange ski mask and a camouflage jacket. Been there done that, right? Sort of. Although “Cry_Wolf” does have said teenagers running and screaming from said ski-masked killer, the film manages to bring something a little different to the audience. And what the film brings is actually what it doesn’t bring, namely gratuitous gore.

Where your typical slasher film seems poised to see how effectively it can gross out its audience, “Cry_Wolf” can be described as almost a thinking man’s slasher film, if there can be such a thing. Keeping the blood and guts to a minimum, director Jeff Wadlow, to his credit, prefers to scare his audience the old-fashioned way, by keeping his audience on its toes. “Cry_Wolf” is filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing for the most part, although to a somewhat ridiculous degree. There is such a thing as too many twists if just so at the end of the film the director can wink at you and pitifully boast, “Betcha didn’t see that coming,” to his audience; as if anyone actually cared. Now, having seen "Cry_Wolf," these jump-to-conclusion musings turns out, is not a slasher film at all, but a high school-set thriller about a "boy who cried wolf" gag that slowly gets out of hand. Although is still affectionately thought of, "Cry_Wolf" tries to stuff the concept down the viewer's throat.

When a local town girl is found brutally shot and murdered, recent British transfer student Owen Matthews (Julian Morris) and his new set of rich, bored friends at private school Westlake Preparatory Academy conspire to spread around a rumor via the Internet that the suspect is actually a longtime serial killer loose on the campus. What begins as a game all in good fun for Owen, scheming potential girlfriend Dodger (Lindy Booth), roommate Tom (Jared Padalecki), multi-pierced Randall (Jesse Janzen), and the rest of their school chums soon takes a genuinely threatening turn. Owen is harassed by a mystery Instant Messager known as "Wolf," and begins seeing the killer in an orange ski mask that he and Dodger concocted lurking around campus. Their harmless lie, it would seem, is about to become a deadly reality.

"Cry_Wolf" begins as an unanticipated perceptive comment on the pitfalls of youthful abandon, the dangers of wealth, and the level to which gossip can spread and possibly destroy lives. Director Jeff Wadlow, taking an invigoratingly deliberate pace that draws you into the characters and their plot, makes this point loud and clear by the sixty-minute mark. From there, he had the chance to run with the scary opportunities open to a story as inventive as this one, but instead prefers to drive the aforementioned three points into the ground. "Cry_Wolf" falls apart as instantaneously as it draws you in, becoming insultingly predictable and frustrating as it repeats the same old twist from a number of other like-minded features. For a long time, the film is edgy, moody and sinister, but like a light switch being flicked off, there is an exact moment (immediately after a bravura sequence set on Halloween Eve) where what Wadlow has up his sleeve becomes obvious. From there, all amounts of suspense and fright dissipate in favor of a cowardly garden variety surprise that is neither surprising nor clever.

This isn't to say that Cry Wolf is abysmally bad. It's not. It’s a mostly successful genre movie. It's just pretty average, with the emphasis on 'pretty'. Westlake is the same photogenic high school we've seen in a thousand films by now, with gorgeous autumnal leaves, impressive New England architecture and students who all look like models killing time between Tommy Hilfiger shoots. Even the English teacher looks like Jon Bon Jovi.

“Cry_Wolf,” unlike any other film of this genre it seems, interestingly makes use of technology used by its intended audience. You’ll notice the underscore in the title of the film, which subtly hints at the e-mail and instant messaging communications that are central to the movie’s plot. Grasping on the somewhat irrational fears of lurking murderers and pedophiles patrolling the Internet for naïve victims, “Cry_Wolf” captures on the fear and the rush of anonymous online chat, and uses them to create an overall air of suspense throughout the film. The result is a film that, despite suffering from some traditional clichés, manages to frighten and entertain its audience to a satisfying degree.

Movie Rating:

(Hitching a ride on the genre of slasher to the next step, Cry_Wolf logs on to the human psyche and delivers)

Review by Lokman B S

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