Before I start this DVD review for the unrated film Cry Wolf, lets just take a second to check out that sinister looking box art. Isn't it cool? I mean, it's got this evil looking guy in an orange ski mask with slits cut out for eyes, and he's holding this giant fierce looking knife while what appears to some freighted girl runs through a forest. Oh, and then the tag line "You lie. You die.", sweet but simple. If I saw this in the store, it would definitely grab my attention. Man, I was excited when I received this DVD! So I made sure to slap it in the player that very same night, anxious to see a bunch of gory deaths, and they can really go overboard here too since it's unrated and all. Okay, so can you all see where I'm going with this? Anyone who's read many of my previous reviews is sure to know what's coming up next....
This movie is not a slasher flick! It's not even a horror film! And "unrated" my butt! Sure, technically it's unrated, but the only reason they didn't get it rated is so that they could promote it as "unrated". This thing is so pathetic it could have been rated PG-13. There is no slashing, no bashing, no mashing, no slicing, no dicing, and not even very much blood for that matter! Okay, but then there's also no sex, no nudity, and I don't even think there was any cussing. So while the movie itself may not be that terrible, the fact that it's completely different from what it's promoted as being just brings its entertainment value way down. People are going to get this expecting to see death, and unfortunately they won't be getting that. What they'll be getting is a uninspired thriller about a group of high-school students (who look like they're old enough to have graduated college already) playing a childish prank on the rest of the school. Or I guess you'd call it a prank, though I would just call it SPAM, since their whole prank is just the delivery of one e-mail.
Okay, so it starts off with a new kid named Owen Matthews who is transferring to the school, Westlake Preparatory Academy. Instead of showing up before school starts like a normal person would, he just wanders in at some other time of the school period. During his exploration of the campus, he meets a pretty redhead girl named Dodger Allen. Later that night, his new roommate, Tom, sneak out to the old chapel to meet up with Dodger and a bunch of other students. It seems that life on campus must be extremely boring, because they all get together not to make-out or cause mischief, but to play some stupid game called Wolf. Now, I definitely wasn't known for being a party guy during my high school days, but even I had more interesting things to do than play this Wolf game.
Alright, so how it works is first everyone puts in their money and then closes their eyes. Dodger then goes around and chooses one of them to be the wolf. She marks the wolf with some lipstick or something on their chest, under their shirt so it can't be seen, and then everyone opens their eyes. Now they must accuse each other of being the wolf. So one person accuses another person, then everyone votes on which one of the two they think is the wolf and whoever gets the most votes is removed from the game. This continues until the wolf is voted out or the wolf is one of only two people remaining, in which case the wolf wins. And of course the winner gets the money. I don't know, it just seems like blackjack or poker would be more fun than that.
The next day Dodger tells the group that she wants to take the game up a notch, and play with the whole school. So they plan out a hoax whereby they send out an e-mail warning of a serial killer called "The Wolf" on campus. You see, a dead girl's body was recently found in a forest on or near the school campus, so they take that and say that the exact same thing happened at another campus, where a girl was killed in a forest in the exact same way. They then say that several murders occurred after the girls, and start using themselves as the victims. For example, they would say something like the next murder was of the pretty athletic captain or something who was killed with a knife cut across the throat. Anyway, so they compose this e-mail and send it out. And for some strange reason, people actually read it.
It's not long before the weird stuff starts happening. Owen is contacted on his AOL Instant Messenger by someone who's screenname was "Wolf". Now, "Wolf3x6" or "Wolf2005" I can understand, but just "Wolf"? That means whoever it was must have registered that screenname like 16 years ago. Is that a clue? Well, I'll go ahead and tell you... nope, it's not a clue. Okay, so back to the mystery. This Wolf guy claims to be the real psycho killer, and then it seems that our little group of students start to disappear, and in the same order they listed themselves in the e-mail. And so the mystery is on! Now, normally you try to pick up on the subtle clues as you watch the movie to try and figure out who the killer is, and normally the filmmakers will throw in some things in an attempt to throw you off the trail. The problem with this film is that the filmmakers really don't give you any real clues throughout the movie, just phony clues, so there's pretty much no way you would be able to figure it out.
And so here we are, with a movie that not only doesn't give us the gore that we are led to expect, but they also don't give us enough to figure out who the real killer is. Thus, by the end, we're left just shaking our heads trying to figure out how someone thought this was a good idea. If it was promoted differently, then I'm sure it wouldn't have been such a disappointment, but even then it's still nothing that you'd want to watch for a second viewing, unless of course you're just a sucker for commentaries. This DVD release does have a commentary by the filmmakers, so that would be one (and probably the only) reason to watch it again. Other extra features include the award-winning short film "The Tower of Babble" (which to me felt like some kind of Project Greenlight contest), a short film called "Manual Labor", a making-of featurette, some deleted and alternate scenes, and a few other trivial things.
Cry Wolf is being released by MCA Home Video on DVD starting December 20, 2005. It was directed by Jeff Wadlow and stars Julian Morris as Owen, Lindy Booth as Dodger, Jared Padalecki as Tom, Jon Bon Jovi as Professor Rich Walker.