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Cherry Falls – 7

Director – Geoffrey Wright

Cast – Brittany Murphy, Jay Mohr, Michael Biehn, Jesse Bradford, Candy Clark, Amanda Anka, Joe Inscoe, Gabriel Mann

Release Year – 2000

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Cherry Falls is a film I had forgotten to watch after it being given to me many months ago. The flick seemed a lot like the usual modern teen slasher films like Scream, but I went in expecting to enjoy this piece and I did just that. Those that grew up with these films will find this effort to be more personally appealing than those with little experience in this sub-genre, but that does not mean that slasher noobs won’t enjoy this. Cherry Falls finds success by giving us the usual slasher template, employing a unique element regarding the kills, and sticking to its guns until the end credits roll.

A knife-welding serial killer is slashing up the student body of Cherry Falls High School. As the town searches for answers behind the killings they are shocked to learn that the killer is specifically targeting virgins…and Sheriff Brent Marken(Michael Biehn)’s daughter Jody(Brittany Murphy) is on the killer’s list.

As mentioned earlier, is one of those slasher films that is probably only going to appeal to those who enjoy these flicks. I have seen reviews stating that this piece “does not offer anything new to the genre” and “is the same old story we’ve seen before”, and those remarks are true, but that does not mean they should be taken in a negative manner. Not every horror film has to offer something new to the genre, as something new to the genre is pretty hard to come by for a genre that has been around for about a century already. This effort comes with a simple story, and thanks to good direction and positive writing it left me pleased that I gave it a chance.

The story starts off as it should, with a brutal killing to set the stage and give us a taste of the many killings to come after that. We follow Jody and her cohorts as they are thrown into fear over a maniacal serial killer on the loose, not sure if they are next…until they find out he is purposely hacking up virgins. I really liked this story element because for once in the slasher sub-genre the “sluts” are safe and it is the innocent virgins that are being hacked up for their LACK of sex. Upon hearing this development in the case the town is turned into a societal mess when parents are forced to ask if their children (mainly daughters) are virgins or not, causing awkward moments in hopes of security and an awesome orgy thrown by those wanting to take matters into their own hands. The town’s panic was fun and quite funny to watch, and it played into the very fun “high school” feel provided by the story – something most of my viewers can relate to. We are not given any useless characters and Jody’s father, Sheriff Brent Marken, started off in a somewhat miniscule role but eventually manifested into a strong role that I did not see coming at first. As with most slasher templates there is a twist to who the killer is, and this one’s was not a great one but did manage to provide some good shock that I did not expect.

Director Geoffrey Wright did a fine job executing this story, giving us positive atmosphere and executing the necessary elements needed for a good experience. The element of “fun” provided by the storyline was brought forth to the viewer by positive acting performances (for this type of film) and engaging camerawork. The horror and kills provided were great and I loved Wright’s execution of the kill sequences, especially the acting performance and subsequent mannerisms of the killer, who I will not name in this review for obvious reasons. There is not an utmost amount of gore, but the kills were made brutal by good execution and tension leading up to them. This remains the only horror film of Wright’s career, and I am glad that he fared well with it.

Overall, Cherry Falls is a fun slasher sure to please slasher fans who know what to expect and can appreciate the storyline elements that separate this from other flicks of the same template. The direction is good and Geoffrey Wright provides lots to enjoy thanks to fun kills and overall execution.

Rating: 7/10

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