I don’t care that Cry_Wolf expects me to buy 22-year-old Julian Morris (Whirlygirl) and 26-year-old Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead) as high school students. I don’t mind that it expects me to accept Jon Bon Jovi as a tweedy teacher (a concept giving new meaning to “Living on a Prayer”). I’m not even particularly put out that the film’s plotting is more transparent than a roomful of Saran Wrap.
No, what I object to is that this movie is terminally, sleep-inducingly boring. OK, so lots of films take 20 minutes or so to set up a premise that we already know from having seen the trailer. Cry_Wolf takes damn near an hour of the most stupefyingly uninteresting development imaginable to get to its lame thrills — and we’re talking lame even by PG-13 standards.
The premise has it that there’s been a murder near a prep school — a particularly grisly one where the body was left to be consumed by squirrels or some other woodland creatures. So a group of spoiled rich kids decide to create an Internet rumor about a serial killer who always starts off in this manner. They then describe his modus operandi and detail what the subsequent murders will be like. And, gosh darn it, before you can say “red herring,” such murders start taking place (or seem to), and the co-creator of the fake rumor, Owen Matthews (Morris), starts getting instant messages from the mysterious “Wolf,” who specializes in saying things like, “I ate your friends.”
Who in the name of Dame Agatha Christie could be doing this? The oversexed rock-star teacher? The creepy caretaker who loiters on the edge of all the crowd shots? The overweight (and seemingly 30-year-old) student who’s been shut out of the playful clique? Or could it be (gasp!) one of the trendy group themselves?
Part of the problem here is that you won’t care. It doesn’t help that the film’s opening murder pretty much gives you the answer via the method in which the hiding victim is found by the killer. The dictates of mystery fiction fill in the rest.
Even at that, the story makes little sense. Owen claims to have just forwarded the bogus rumor, yet the e-mail we see clearly isn’t forwarded. And the whole plot would fall apart if he could only have mastered working the privacy settings on the instant messaging on his computer. But really the bottom line is that Cry_Wolf is the lamest horror offering yet, in a year with no shortage of such.
Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a brief drug reference.
— reviewed by Ken Hanke