When new student Owen Matthews (Julian Morris) arrives on campus at Westlake Prep after being expelled at his previous school, he knows he has been accepted because his well-connected father (Kevin Bacon) has pulled some strings. Owen quickly makes friends with provocative redhead Dodger (Lindy Booth) and roommate Tom (Jared Padalecki), who introduce him to the 'liar's club', where a small group of students meet and practice their skills at lying. When the body of a girl is found nearby murdered, Owen suggests they take their game to new heights by spreading online rumours about the murder. But he regrets sending the manufactured email to the entire school when journalism teacher Rich Walker (Jon Bon Jovi) warns about the predators lurking on the internet. Suddenly the game becomes real, and the terror spreads as the players become hunted themselves.
Review by Louise Keller:
The campus at Westlake Prep is filled with bored rich kids with nothing better to do than play liar games in the stealth of the night. They don't seem to have any difficulty sneaking away in the wee small hours to meet in the local chapel, where they hone their skills at manipulating each other. Nor is there a policy of uniforms: the girls wear spunky little kilts, long black socks and look as though they are about to step on the set of a teen fashion shoot.
Teen slasher movie Cry_Wolf relies on its red herrings to keep us involved, but the overly long set up and predictable attempts to scare us detract from the overall. Despite percussive bangs, shaky camera, heavy breathing and shadowy lighting, there are not many scares and some plot points are plain silly. Instant Messenger, email and digital phones are used as the tools of terror, albeit often not very convincingly.
Not only are the kids rich, but even their teacher (Jon Bon Jovi) has Rich as his first name. All the cast does what is expected of them and English television actor Julian Morris is likeable as Owen, the new student whose dysfunctional relationship with his father has made him an expert at lying. Lindy Booth has a compelling push-me/ pull-me quality, although writer director Jeff Wadlow directs her sexy Dodger as artificial, limiting how engrossed we are. The white-toothed smile never abates and her blue bikini, scarf and t-shirt match her contact lenses a little too precisely.
There are a few surprises, but all in all, Cry_Wolf is rather tame. It will not scare you to death, but may momentarily keep you interested in the characters.
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CAST: Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki, Jon Bon Jovi, Sandra McCoy, Kristy Wu, Jane Beard, Gary Cole,
PRODUCER: Beau Bowman
DIRECTOR: Jeff Wadlow
SCRIPT: Beau Bowman, Jeff Wadlow
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Romeo Tirone
EDITOR: Seth Gordon
MUSIC: Michael Wandmacher
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Martina Buckley
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 23, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video
VIDEO RELEASE: July 5, 2006