Cry Wolf (2005)
US (dir. Jeff Wadlow)
Cast: Anna Deavere Smith, Ethan Cohn, Gary Cole, Jared Padalecki, Jon Bon Jovi, Julian Morris, Kristy Wu, Krystal Browning, Lindy Booth, Sandra McCoy
Synopsis: After one too many incidents of bad behavior at his last school, Owen Matthews is sent to prestigious Westlake Prep – where a young woman has recently been found murdered in the dark woods near the boarding school’s campus. Owen quickly falls in with the school’s unofficial “liar’s club,” and he and his new friends decide to expand their game’s reach beyond campus, by spreading an online rumor that a serial killer called “The Wolf” committed the recent murder and is planning to strike again. The mischievous group’s descriptions of “The Wolf’s” intended victims are based on the people they know best – each other. Only when the school’s journalism teacher, Rich Walker, warns the group about internet predators does Owen begin to regret sending their falsified story into cyberspace. When the described “victims” suddenly start to disappear, Owen and his friends are no longer able to determine where the lies end and the truth begins.
Review: “Cry Wolf” is a terrible film that really should never have ever, ever, ever been made in the first place. The only reason I even made any effort to watch this film was because the steamy Jared Padalecki happened to be in it. Unfortunately, his appearance had no influence over my enjoyment of the film at all. The film has a really stupid premise and an even stupider conclusion. The big “twist” at the end of the film could be seen from about a mile away, and in all honesty, it’s a terrible twist anyways. In advance, I will advise you not to see this movie. It has nothing exceptional to offer and it is both bland and boring.
“Cry Wolf” is the story of a bunch of misfit teenagers with apparently nothing to do but start a stupid and insensitive internet rumour/hoax about a serial killer stalking and killing students on campuses across the northwest. Their genius idea stemmed from the recent murder of a young student on their snobby, Ivy-league-esque prep school campus. They are also the founders and members of the school’s unofficial liar’s club (seriously, they have their own after school club where they lie to one another and attempt to distinguish who is lying and who is telling the truth… seriously… they do this for fun after school in a chapel). When a new student with a troubled past joins their school (Owen), the leader of the liar club and somewhat of a popular, hot, bitch named Dodger (dead giveaway to her being kinda squirrely) adopts him into the liar’s club and somewhat becomes a love interest for Owen. Their developing “relationship” and the supposed chemistry between them is painfully not evident. The actors attempt to seem infatuated with one another, but it just comes off as awkward and transparent. In other words, the acting is bad.
Later on the liar’s club begins to develop, detail, and maintain their internet hoax until eventually, the entire campus believes the rumour and everyone is either overtly on their guard, or participating in various pranks prior to Halloween which involve dressing up as the supposed serial killer. When members of the liar’s club begin to mysteriously disappear one by one in vague scenes where you are led to believe that the serial killer “created” by the internet hoax is actually real, Owen and Dodger begin to worry about their own safety. It would appear as though the killer is dispatching the liar’s club in the order in which they jokingly envisioned they would die if it turned out the internet hoax serial killer that they created was in fact, real. This leads to the film’s first dead giveaway: the actual killer, if there even is one, must be a member of the liar’s club or else how would he/she know such specific details about the made-up serial killer.
As the title of this crap-fest would suggest, crying wolf can only lead to no one believing you when there actually is a wolf on the prowl. In a way, that is what happens, as Owen attempts to alert authorities of the presence of an actual killer but is not listened to because it had been previously discovered that he was responsible for sending out the initial email regarding the fictitious serial killer. This is a pretty obvious set-up, one you can easily predict. I was just shocked at how dumb the Owen character is, if he really wanted the internet hoax he created originally to be believable, he shouldn’t have included his easily traceable school email address as the sender, and furthermore if he really didn’t want to get caught and re-establish himself as a good student now that he had a second chance at life, he really shouldn’t have let himself be so easily traceable. Again, a predictable set-up that is painfully obvious.
One of the weirdest things about this movie is that Jon Bon Jovi is in it and he plays a pedophile teacher who was romantically linked with one of his former students (the girl who was murdered originally and contributed to the creation of the internet hoax) and one of his current students (Dodger). First off, ew, he is in his mid-40s. Secondly, how the hell did he not get caught already? He teaches at a very prestigious (aka rich people send their kids there) school, and I’m sure during the, what would have been highly thorough investigation of the first girl’s murder, his relationship with her must have been somewhat uncovered, particularly in lieu of the fact that he had numerous pictures of her in his desk. The whole pedophile teacher thing turns out to sort of be a red herring, as the real murder (Dodger) ends up setting him up to frame her as part of a vengeful crime of passion. Unfortunately, none of this is ever brought to the attention of the police, even when the Bon Jovi teacher ends up shot in a self-defense set-up orchestrated perfectly by Dodger. Even when Owen discovers everything was a hoax, he still doesn’t sequel to the police. You are also left to pity Dodger because it turns out she is actually dirt poor and her Dad is the school janitor (wah wah situation).
The thing that most pissed me off about this movie is the completely vague “kill scenes” which, even though were all faked (except the first and last kill) as part of perpetuating the stupid serial killer hoax, were blatantly fake and never shown in full thus degrading this movie from a PG-13 to quite possibly a G rating had their been less heavy content involving guns and pedophilia. This movie was directed by some asshole who received funding to shit this massive turd out because he won some stupid fucking film competition in which the top prize was apparently the amount of money needed to make this film (all of which was clearly spent on hiring Jon Bon Jovi) and the right to waste my time.