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Cherry Falls  

What makes 'Cherry Falls' different from others of its kind are three things: The actors, the premise and the climax. Unlike 'Scream' and 'I Know...' the characters in Cherry Falls look like they could live next door to you and you wouldn't drop on your knees and salivate while ogling their good looks. Instead of Neve, Jennifer or Drew we get a natural looking Brittany Murphy who doesn't look like she has had mascara slapped onto her face with a trowel. The rest of her school pals are either gay, obese, goth, or skinny and as for prom queens, cheerleaders and jocks, they don't get a mention at all. What is also refreshing is that the victims all had their 'cherry' intact and hence the result is that the entire youth of small town 'Cherry Falls' arrange a shag party where they all intend to jump into bed with anyone they can get hold of so that they can be cancelled from the killer's 'Virgins to kill' list. This concept is handled fairly well and we get the obligatory innuendo and hilarious 'come on's yet before we even reach the climax the idea is bled dry and director Geoffrey Wright loses control of the reins. It is at this moment, about 3/4 of the way through the movie, that 'Cherry Falls' descends into stalk n' slash with a hokey plot 'twist' (the killer's identity which to the viewer was either already blatantly obvious or is utterly preposterous) to boot. Post-ironic quips and jump-out-of-your-seat scares (there were few to begin with) are scrapped in favour of running through woods and a ridiculous climax.

Wright obviously intended to make a movie that was neither tongue-in-cheek nor gory but rather a thriller that was intelligent and at times shocking. Although he succeeds in doing this for about forty minutes in, the movie as a whole lacks punch due to a poor ending and severe editing (a 5 minute death sequence and the movie's climax - an orgy of writhing teenagers - were butchered by the ratings people to get a 15 certificate) making 'Cherry Falls' more of a 'could have been a 'Scream'' rather than wholly revolutionary. What with my hopes being set on 'Cherry Falls' as being a new spin on the tired modern day horror genre I guess now I'll have to anticipate watching Urban Legend 2. Groan.

Simon Savory

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