Genre: Thriller / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 5.9 / 10
Perhaps no genre was quite as overdone as the teen slasher was during the 2000s. Back in the day you couldn’t so much as turn around without being confronted by a DVD cover with a bunch of kids staring out at you (my personal favourite being when they stood in a triangular formation) and some indication of their impending doom floating around in the background. These were my formative years.
But for all the slashers I’ve seen I somehow managed to skip past Cry_Wolf entirely. I knew about it, I’ve seen it in video stores a thousand times, but I just never got round to actually taking it out. 9 years late to the party I decided to rectify this mistake by making the mistake of watching it.
Owen Matthews and his very odd accent have just arrived at Westlake Preparatory Academy, a very prestigious and orange-tinted private school. Owen’s father sent him there to keep him out of trouble, but he unfortunately falls in with the wrong crowd almost right away. You know what 20-something teenagers are like.
This group, headed up by Regina of the pumpkin-spice hair, decide that the recent brutal murder of a fellow student is the perfect opportunity to play a prank on the entire school. Using a seemingly endless supply of bulky laptops and Nokia N-Gages the group come up with their own urban legend centred around a murderous villain known as The Wolf. Armed with a hunting knife and bedecked in a cantaloupe-inspired balaclava The Wolf will supposedly begin his rampage on Halloween when the moon is full, picking off your usual assortment of teenage stereotypes as he goes along. Thanks to the malevolent power of e-mail Owen manages to get the story going around school, where it quickly becomes all anyone can focus on.
It all starts to go a bit awry, of course, when someone decides to take The Wolf concept and actually run with it. As members of the group start disappearing Owen must desperately try to convince Bon Jovi, the campus’ leading academic authority, that everyone is in very real danger of being hacked to pieces because of the group’s attempt at being funny. But even Regina’s too-thin legs and Sam Winchester (presumably in witness protection here and going under the name ‘Tom’) may not be enough to stop The Wolf’s perfunctory killing spree.
No seriously, this whole film was orange. The school was orange, the lighting was orange, Regina’s hair was orange, most of the outfits were orange, the blood was orange, the Wolf’s cap was orange – it was quite off-putting. The teen slashers of the 2000s were known for some odd choices here and there, but never before have I seen a movie that tried to out-orange an orange.
The odd colour palette aside everything else here is serviceable, if a tad bit uninspired. There’s some decent camera work and the obligatory dark and sometimes-deserted campus for these fools to run around while trying to not get killed, but it’s nothing special and certainly nothing new. This predictable approach means that, combined with the rather lacklustre script execution, there isn’t really any tension or mystery in what you’re watching, which is really what you need if you want to pull off this kind of movie effectively.
The issue with Cry_Wolf, as with so many others, is that it has a very interesting premise, particularly for its time. I remember the older generations being absolutely terrified of the internet when it started to take off properly, especially considering the rather imaginative ways they thought we could get ourselves killed using it. This movie was made to capitalise on those fears, but for one major mistake – it forgot to make anything happen!
The movie takes so long to establish itself and to try and get you into the minds of the characters that it only leaves itself with about 20 minutes for the actual teen slashing to happen. Even in 2005’s economy that’s not enough slashing for the money you would’ve spent to rent a copy of the movie. It then tries to squeeze in not one, not two, but three twists at the end, but because I wasn’t really all that invested in the characters to begin with and because none of these surprises were particularly surprising I really couldn’t give a toss about the killer’s motive.
The 2000s had many a good slasher movie beyond your usual Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer knockoffs – Cry_Wolf just isn’t one of them.
My Final Rating: 4 / 10
Buy Cry_Wolf at Amazon.com