Starring Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki, and Jon Bon Jovi
Directed by Jeff Wadlow
Released by Universal Home Video
Boredom. It can sometimes make people do really stupid things. Even contemplate how the other side lives. I’ve never been wealthy, I never had the luxury of going to a fancy school, and I have never known what it would be like to exist in the upper class social circle. I have however imagined what those things would be like as most of us do during said bouts of boredom. Cry_Wolf gives as a sneak peak into the dangerous world of teenage preppies who have entirely too much time on their hands.
The setting is simple enough: A bunch of pretty teens (played by actors who look way too old to be playing teenagers) gather together each night to play a lying game. Think Survivor laced with bullshit. Since these kids have been playing this together for so long, they’ve grown to know each other very well, hence making the game dull. All that changes when a newcomer to their school ups the ante by helping to take their late night activities to a new level. Fact gets mixed with fiction as the pubescent preppy party decides to send out an e-mail to their entire school claiming that a serial killer will be stalking their campus Halloween night, after the real life murder of a townie.
. . .
Huh? What’s that? Oh sorry, I dozed off a bit. Ahem. Anyway — The e-mail gets sent and we are then led to believe that the actual murderer of the townie read it and decided to take the brats up on their offer to stay and slay. Mayhem ensues, Bon Jovi grimaces for the camera, bad MTV style pop music blares, I wish someone would kill me. You get the idea.
Cry_Wolf tries its hardest to work in the same vein that other slasher classics such as April Fool’s Day does by raising several questions designed to keep the viewer guessing and on edge. Could everything we’re watching as an audience actually be taking place, or is it just more of the game? Is the killer one of the teens? Will the Asian chick pass AP Chem? How long did it take the token Black guy to grow his dreads? The real question is — would anyone even care if these snot-nosed rich kids got offed by a big bad? I was praying that they were, but alas, through the magic of Hollywood inspired twists and turns, things don’t turn out exactly as this viewer would have liked. (Spoilers are coming so if you don’t want to know some of what happens in this film, then DO NOT FINISH READING THIS PARAGRAPH. There. I’ve done my duty as a journalist to preserve the Cry_Wolf experience for you! You’ll either thank me or hate me later.) In the end all we get is stage blood and incessant whining. No serial killer. No murders except for the one in the film’s opening. No real violence. No nuthin’. Nada. Nil. Zilch. Zero. Feh.
When Cry_Wolf was released in theatres, it was rated PG-13. Here on DVD you’ll notice the word “UNRATED” written in caps of course for that extra bit of needless emphasis. I have to admit it had me a bit curious. What could they possibly have cut in this film to justify an unrated home video release? I’ll tell you what — about five seconds of flashy MTV style editing showing the killer murdering his victims. *insert blank stare here* Seriously, I could barely spot the differences between the two cuts of this flick. Talk about crying wolf. Sigh.
On the extras side of things you get a lot of bang for your buck. If you’re a fan of this film, you’re in luck as Universal has assembled a tight little DVD package for ya! You’ll find some extended and deleted scenes including the original version of the game scene, a behind the scenes short filmed in part by star Julian Morris, some audition tapes, and two of director Jeff Wadlow’s short films, both of which are more entertaining than this. Wadlow has a future in filmmaking. Despite its flaws, Cry_Wolf is competently crafted as are the aforementioned shorts. His enthusiasm for filmmaking comes off as borderline manic in the behind the scenes footage and in his commentary track. While I can appreciate that, I also feel that he may just not be suited for the horror genre.
Cry_Wolf mainly suffers from the pitfalls of thinking it’s smarter than its audience. It plays like a made for TV after-school special. If you’re in the thirteen to sixteen age bracket, you may want to give it a look. Other than that, I guess it’s back to the old drawing board in terms of waiting for the next great horror movie slasher as The Wolf doesn’t even remotely make the cut. If this is what rich kids do when they’re bored, man, I sure am grateful that I grew up in a modest household.
Deleted and extended scenes
Alternate The Game scene
Wolves, Sheep and Shepherds: Casting the Roles featurette
Winning the Game: Inside the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival featurette
Before They Cried Wolf: The filmmaker’s short films
Feature commentary with director/co-writer Jeff Wadlow, producer/co-writer Beau Bauman, and editor/associate producer Seth Gordon
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