Cherry Falls

Rating 2½

Directed by Geoffrey Wright

Written by Ken Selden

Starring Brittany Murphy, Jay Mohr, Michael Biehn, Candy Clark, Gabriel Mann, Jesse Watrouse (Rod Harper), Joe Inscoe and Amanda Anka

A serial killer is targeting students at a high school in Cherry Falls. When the local sheriff, Brent Marken (Michael Biehn), begins to suspect the common denominator is that the victims are all virgins, the students determine to lose their virginity to become immune to the activities of the killer. In the meantime, the sheriff’s daughter, Jody (Brittany Murphy), discovers a terrible secret that has been hidden for the past 27 years.

‘Cherry Falls’ is a slasher movie that inverts one of the traditions of the genre; that the promiscuous teenagers will always fall prey to the killer. Having introduced this twist, it needed to do much more with it than happens here. Half-hearted lip service is paid to attitudes towards sex, but nowhere near enough to make much of an impact. Some degree of commentary about sex education in the American school system might have been introduced into the storyline, but remains resolutely absent, despite reference to the general level of ignorance, especially amongst the boys. In the end, it’s a missed opportunity that boils down to nothing more than teenagers with rampaging hormones obsessing about sex.

The film is reasonably well done, although it doesn’t count amongst the very best examples of the genre. It has a decent cast – and certainly benefits from the presence of the excellent Jay Mohr. The director, Geoffrey Wright, had previously made the cult Australian film ‘Romper Stomper’, an early breakthrough role for Russell Crowe.

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