By Michael Ferraro | September 18, 2005

The current state of the American horror genre is, sadly, in a current state of horror. If we aren’t remaking Asian films (mostly Japanese, a genre dubbed “J-Horror” by pseudo intellectual film fans), we instead opt to make these ridiculous soap opera-styled teen flicks devoid of any real shock, originality, and above all, violence. “Cry_Wolf” is another fine example of just how dry the Hollywood machine has become.

Set in a prep-school attended by mostly rich white kids (is there any other kind represented on screen?), “Cry_Wolf” tells a story about a new student with a troubled past (think Sean Astin’s character from “Toy Soldiers”) making friends with the wrong crowd. For some reason, in the world of cinema anyway, new students never fall in with the good crowd, but I digress. This tight little politically correct-looking clique creates a campus wide lie about a serial killer on the loose. The lie is spread via e-mail, and for some idiotic reason, some people take it seriously.

Imagine a world where e-mails and instant messages from random strangers were taken seriously. Has anyone (not in a senile state of course) ever taken one of those e-mails from a Nigerian lawyer claiming you had a long lost relative that just died and you are now a millionaire – all you have to do is supply your bank information and the money will appear in days – seriously?

Not only do they describe what the killer looks like; they also describe his killing methods. Even the most simplistic cinema viewer can guess where this is going next, yet sadly, it took the filmmakers over an hour of screen time to finally get the killing going. There is nothing wrong with slowly building up a film to the climax – especially if you have emotionally involving characters mixed with a somewhat unique storyline. With this film though, you get none of that. The plot is taken straight from one of those so-called ‘thriller’ books you find in the young adult section at your local library. For some of us, these kinds of juvenile stories were uninteresting even then.

Even from a production standpoint, “Cry_Wolf” has nothing going for it. The direction uses every technique ever established with this genre that even fans of “Smallville” would be able to distinguish its lack of excitement. The screenplay doesn’t even have the proper elements to even satisfy the at-home television crowd. It’s one giant cliché after another, scene after pointless scene. The dialogue is so atrocious that Marlee Matlin would cover her ears in protest.

And what new-age thriller/horror flick wouldn’t be complete without that oh-so-unnecessary twist ending? If you can’t figure out what direction this movie is heading in less than thirty minutes of screen time, you should probably just do us all a favor and kill yourself. You probably also found yourself a little surprised at the end of The Village too, right? Maybe killing one’s self is a little harsh; just don’t be worried about going to the movies anymore. Find a ride (because you’re probably too idiotic to handle driving) to a library and scoop up some books.

There has to be someone out there, like the Wes Craven (“Last House on the Left”) or Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead”) or Tobe Hooper (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) of old, that is brewing up something for us. There just has to be. If there isn’t, why even bother with this genre anymore?

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