Cry_Wolf (2005) - Unrated
|Genre(s): Horror / Thriller|
|Universal || Unrated - 91 minutes - $29.98 || December 20th, 2005|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-12-17|
Writer(s): Beau Bauman (written by) & Jeff Wadlow (written by)
Cast: Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padelecki, Jon Bon Jovi, Sandra McCoy, Kristy Wu, Gary Cole, Jesse Janzen, Paul James, Ethan Cohn
Theatrical Release Date: September 16th, 2005
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Synopsis: When the students at a prestigious prep school spread a hoax email about a serial killer, they start a game of terror and deception that has three rules: avoid suspicion, lie to your friends, and eliminate your enemies. But what starts as a joke soon turns deadly and now they find themselves victims of their own game! -- From the DVD cover
You lie. You die.
That tagline for Cry_Wolf, to me, sounds pretty dumb and/or cheesy and probably kept me from seeing it in the theater. And although this suspense thriller guised as a horror flick isn't some fantastic achievment in filmmaking, it's still fun and entertaining.
On the surface, a movie whose only recognizable name is Jon Bon Jovi (although Gary Cole makes a cameo appearance), one would think the movie is already on a rocky start. It's not to say a film with unknowns can't be good, but fact is, a studio horror flick usually isn't. However, Cry_Wolf has an interesting premise with a good looking cast with Julian Morris as the newcomer Owen and Lindy Booth as the manipulative girl next door, Dodger, the two stars have nice chemistry which works to further the plot.
As with many recent suspense-thrillers, there must be a twist (or two). Many try to emulate The Usual Suspects, but fall horrifically short and although Cry_Wolf's was, at least for me, fairly predictable, I still liked watching until the end because everything else seems to work. Now, while listening to the commentary, I studied some of the characters and found the performances to be quite interesting given the plot elements and such, so Cry_Wolf certainly has some repeat value.
Filmmakers' Commentary - Both the rated and unrated versions offer commentary from director/co-writer Jeff Wadlow, co-writer/producer Beau Bauman and editor/associate producer Seth Gordon. Wadlow and Bauman seem to take up most of the track and Gordon stays quiet unless prompted (or it could be he was recorded separately), admittedly, however, their voices sound alike so maybe they each took equal time... but I doubt it. That aside, although the track isn't anything of note, the commentators keep is cordule and basically stick on topic giving insights to the filming and casting the parts. They also, during the end credits, discuss the "Crystler Million Dollar Film Festival", for which the finances the movie was made from.
Deleted/Extended Scenes - There are 4 scenes including "Owen in the Woods" taking place after the first chape meeting, offers a false scare; "The Hook Up" which is the typical teen make-out scene; "Extended Game" which, as it says, is an extended take during the first chapel meet. The entire set has an optional commentary with Wadlow, Bauman and Gordon, offering why they were not in the theatrical release. I think they probably could've gotten away with inserting "Owen in the Woods" and "The Hook Up" back in, since it they add some more to the characters. It also would be another 4-minutes, which I wouldn't have minded.
Alternate Scene - This is an alternate to the chapel where the kids play their game for the first time. It's somewhat different and has Owen and Tom sneaking to the chapel and, according to the optional commentary, was reshot on a "script level". The way the game was played is different with three wolves chosen instead of one, and they choose their victim. I do like the way it was finally done, but still interesting to watch.
Wolves, Sheep and Shepherds: Casting the Roles - This offers the audition tapes for each of the young cast members with the exception of one, Paul James, whose tape went missing, so his was just narrated over by the director. However, the tapes for the six others are still fun to watch and see what the casting people saw in these actors. The tapes for Lindy Booth and Sandra McCoy were especially nice... dunno if they were actually great, but they're sure cute.
Behind the Scenes: Enter the Sinister Set - Here we follow actor Julian Morris on the set as he films a couple scenes, including his ledge jump into the pool to save Booth, which he was, rightfully, scared to do. To make him more confortable, Wadlow did the jump first. There's also a tour of his trailer and the bigger trailer of Jon Bon Jovi. The entire featurette runs a little over 12-minutes and isn't exactly in-depth, but isn't a complete waste either.
Before They Cried Wolf: The Filmmakers' Short Films - Features two of Wadlow's original short films called The Tower of Babble, an intertwined flick in which the same words are used in each scenario but with different context, and Manual Labor, the short which won Wadlow the contest. Personally I found Tower to be much more interesting and entertaining but Manual is well made too (had to be shot in 5 days). As a side note, Tower was narrated by Kevin Spacey.
You can also find an easter egg of a deleted scene with director Jeff Wadlow's family that was to be used in a montage that made up The Wolf.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35 aspect ratio) and looks very good. As a suspense-thriller, there are darker scenes which makes it hard on the eyes to see what's going on, but on the whole, the film gives off a beautiful orangish hue. The DVD offers the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, which sounds good and has a crisp deliverence of lines and the slashes of the knife. The music score from Michael Wandmacher is creepy and strangely soulful...
As far as DVDs go, Cry_Wolf is lighly packed but considering it only took in $10 million at the box office and it's basically an indie flick, one shouldn't expect a whole lot. That said, for what is there, it's pretty entertaining and, if you enjoyed the movie like I did, you might find use for the features. The movie itself, although predictable, is still a fun and entertaining ride that is definitely worth a rental if you're still not sure.