Cry Wolf

Starring: Owen Matthews, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki and Jon Bon Jovi
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 27 March 2006

Owen arrives from England to start at a new college in America. Here he meets the beautiful but mischievous Dodger, who introduces him to a close-knit group of friends. At night they play a game of Wolf and Sheep in the chapel. The others are disappointed when Owen watches for body language and wins the game. Dodger proposes a bigger game where the group are wolves and the rest of the school sheep. When a female student goes missing in the woods, Owen proposes that they create a serial killer, give him an easily obtainable mask and clothing, and make him responsible. They even go so far as to create a previous string of fictitious killings. An e-mail reporting the news in detail is mass-circulated to the students. Owen and Dodger stand back to see how things pan out, only to discover there is a real killer on campus, garbed in the same outfit. He knows who sent the e-mail and sets out to kill the members of the group in the prescribed manner...

This sounds like a Ten Little Indians scenario, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The first third of the film works best, with the bemused Owen being integrated into Dodger's game, and the setting-up of the massive ruse by e-mail. The replies from the killer dubbed The Wolf by Owen, and subsequent correspondence between the two, is also edgy. However, the moment the killer is seen (resplendent in orange ski-mask) the created suspense is lost.

Cry Wolf quickly reduces itself to the status of average teen slasher movie. It reminded me of a cross between Urban Legend and Scream. Certainly it's not giving too much away to reveal that the Scream premise of making the killer's identity difficult to ascertain by making it more than one person is used again here.

Cry Wolf has its good and bad points, which if nothing else makes for interesting discussion after viewing. The generally good performances make a flawed film a joy to watch. The main students all have a particular charisma which makes you forget they are promising actors. Both Owen and Dodger have that aforementioned mischievousness, but it must be said she does a much better sexy / scheming than she does screaming / crying. Also very good is Owen's roommate Tom, played by Jared Padalecki (star of the excellent ITV 1 & 2 series from America, Supernatural). I'm not sure if I should mention that aside from Gary Cole, singer Jon Bon Jovi is also in the cast.

Extras include: Deleted & Extended Scenes; an Alternate Scene; Behind the Scenes; Before They Cried Wolf - The Filmmakers' Short Films; Theatrical Trailer; and a Commentary by Jeff Wadlow, Beau Bauman and Seth Gordon (who between them wrote, produced, edited and directed the film).

Ty Power

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