Cherry Falls

Cherry Falls


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Farce is no substitute for fear, as parody is no excuse for plagiarism. Now that teen slasher flicks are treated as comedy, it is difficult to remember what terror tastes like.

Geoffrey Wright, the director from Oz, who made hardcore neo-Nazi shockers, such as Romper Stomper, has chosen as his Californian debut a genre stereotype. Take two of the most popular youth pictures of recent years, Scream and American Pie, and toss 'em into the blender. The result is a serial killer who offs virgins.

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The first half is genuinely nasty, the second degenerates into bloody lunacy. Combining black humour with mutilation requires a clever script. Ken Selden's is a B minus.

Smalltown, USA - otherwise known as Cherry Falls - has the disadvantage of having a block of wood (Michael Biehn) as sheriff. When he figures that the murderer is targeting virgins - can you spot one by the way she crosses her legs? - he worries about his daughter, Jody (Brittany Murphy). She has been going steady with Kenny (Gabriel Mann) for almost a year now. "How far have you gone, base-wise?" he demands. On being told maybe third, he doesn't enquire what on earth they have been doing all this time, but wonders whether he should encourage all-the-way to be on the safe side. The irony is not lost.

The psycho is a woman, or possibly a man dressed as a woman, and her/his signature is the V-word carved into the upper thigh of the slaughtered victims.

Someone should write a thesis on the slasher phenomenon. Why do knives, high school and sex go together? Considering the state of these cadavers and the amount of blood sloshing about and the Pop Your Cherry ball, how can this movie be rewarded with a 15 certificate? Does humour dilute horror, like water weakens whisky?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Serial slasher targets high school virgins in American small town.
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Director: Geoffrey Wright

Writer: Ken Selden

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Jay Mohr, Michael Biehn, Candy Clark, Amanda Anka, Joe Inscoe, Gabriel Mann

Year: 2000

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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