It's not in my nature to "skip" theatrical horror releases, as you know. But this year has been hellaciously difficult for me (personal reasons that don't matter to anybody else); movies like VENOM and UNDEAD don't even open for me; etc., etc. So there's no way I can give you the "definitive" theatrical horror experience of 2005. And sometimes I have to make choices.
I was able to squeak THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE in, and I'm glad that I did. As a consequence, I figured I had to let CRY WOLF slide. What the hell--it's a high school slasher film full of twists, and it's probably trying to be the next SCREAM, but it's only PG-13, so what the hell? This one I can miss, right?
But a window opened for me today, and it was still playing (albeit in 10th place). Well, what the hell. I went and saw I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, right? So the completist goes out to take another one.
And he's glad that he did.
Okay. It's (private academy) high school. It's got a bunch of character "types." It keeps twisting and turning, and it's PG-13, so it's not a gore film. And I've disagreed with the majority opinion frequently in the past.
But have I ever LIED to you?
I thought CRY WOLF was pretty damn entertaining from beginning to end. We've got a really capable cast, entertaining shock moments, and a "gimmick" script worthy of William Castle (think about it--Castle was no Hitchcock, but can you imagine horror history WITHOUT him?).
Since CRY WOLF depends on its twists, you may or may not be able to stay ahead of this one, but that's irrelevant--it would simply be unfair of me to spoil it.
And of course it's reminiscent of SCREAM... in the PLOT, not the execution. Now, there's nothing in this film to rival what Wes Craven did with the FIRST entry in the series (primarily the undeniably excellent opening scene). But imagine it (PG-13 or not) without a single in-joke or movie reference. Picture it played by people who genuinely believed that they were the first ones to play it. Picture it with acting effective enough so that the lack of opening credits made me completely forget that Jon Bon Jovi was even in the cast (and he does a FINE job, no matter what you think of his musical career).
Let it play to its audience, and let them have fun--it may not be completely new, but it's a fun ride, and the final, FINAL twist is, for a change, played completely believably and without hysteria.
The makers of CRY WOLF respect the genre in the way that I do, and that's no small compliment. And I couldn't care less about the big, bad PG-13. If you can pull off a RED EYE, an EMILY ROSE, or a CRY WOLF with it, then I'll be happy.
And not even an NC-17 could have saved CURSED.
My honest take, make of it what you will.
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