Saturday, November 5, 2016

In short: Cherry Falls (2000)

One of those unavoidable slashers of teenagers has come to the little town of Cherry Falls. I imagine the scriptwriter going “tee-hee!”, when coming up with that name and the film’s unique selling point, for the killer doesn’t hold to the established rules of killing off the deflowered and the mildly stoned. Instead, this guy’s after virgins. Not that it’s clear how the police will come to this conclusion after exactly two kills…

But let’s just ignore investigative procedure for now. One of said virgins is our heroine of the night, Jody (Brittany Murphy), the daughter of the local Sheriff (Michael Biehn). She’s still something of a final girl, though, because the film blithely avoids taking its one actual idea anywhere interesting - like for example making a character its heroine who is the opposite of what she’d be in other films of the sub-genre. Consequently, Jody escapes from the killer’s first murder attempt on her because of her heroine status. Afterwards, she describes him as a woman despite his quite obviously being a man in drag. The description his daughter gives gets the tiny wheels in the Sheriff’s mind rolling, though, for a woman of that description is connected to a dark secret in the town’s past he is all too acquainted with. Will anyone involved find out what’s going on before the deflowering orgy the town’s teenagers are planning once the killer’s favourite prey is made public will have run its course?

Ah, 2000, when the foul influence of Scream on the teen slasher was so strong, every single one had to present some oh-so-clever inversion of one trope or five, yet shuffled their feet when it came to actually going somewhere with it. So, even though the basic idea of Cherry Falls is kinda cute in a silly way, Geoffrey Wright’s film does only the bare minimum with it. The film basically goes, “virgins!” and then proceeds to slowly wander through a bit of terribly unexciting slasher by numbers business - minus much blood or suspense - while unsuccessfully trying to use the most obvious whodunit angle you could possibly imagine as a distraction from its vapidness.

And that’s it: Wright’s direction is somewhat competent, the acting sloppy, the script very dumb and pretty damn lazy while pretending to be clever, and there’s little going on here deserving a second look. Or, really, little I won’t have forgotten in a day or two.

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