September 19, 2005

Cry Wolf2 Stars

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I can just imagine the casting for the new slasher flick Cry Wolf. The director anxiously wants to cast the role of Mr. Walker, a teacher central to the plot. After throwing around a few ideas, the casting directors begin making calls. Unfortunately, after everyone from Ian Ziering to Louis Anderson to Marc Summers spurns them, the casting director gets to the last number on her cell phone. With a sigh and deep regret, she finally gets an actor to play the part. And that is my theory about how Jon Bon Jovi was cast in Cry Wolf.

If you did a double take while reading the last sentence, you are not alone. Somehow, Jon Bon Jovi has a critical role in the movie. Cry Wolf’s plot revolves around a murder in a prep school town. The protagonist Owen Matthews (Julian Morris), a new student, joins a group of the school’s elite in order to impress vixen Dodger Allen, played by Lindy Booth, whose previous credits include The Skulls II, Rub and Tug, and The Famous Jet Jackson (you can’t make this stuff up). The rest of the group includes every single high school cliche imaginable. There is the supportive roommate, the mouthy clown, the sensitive elitist, and the girl who happens to be an expert in concocting fake blood (only in a horror movie). Together, out of sheer boredom, the group decides to send out a mass email to the school creating “The Wolf,” a serial killer who plans to strike again. As hysteria hits the school, someone emulating the fake serial killer begins to toy with Owen, telling him through the screen name of “Wolf” that he will begin a killing spree (how the killer managed to get that generic screen name without numbers is a mystery to me).

One of the biggest failures of the movie is the skill of director Jeff Wadlow, making his full-length film debut. Every potentially scary moment is ruined by a lack of suspenseful music or a laugh-inducing appearance by Jon Bon Jovi. Also, Wadlow botches a potentially great scene in which the killer stalks Owen and Dodger in the library. In the scene, the lights in the library are on motion sensors, so the protagonists only know the killer’s location by which lights are on (although apparently this school invests in lights that turn off after about 1.5 seconds of no motion). This is a great setup, but Wadlow decides to cut the scene short with a mind-numbingly cliched payoff. The one redeeming visual aspect is Seth Gordon’s editing, which frequently utilizes creative jump cuts.

As far as the acting, I think my kindergarten class’s guinea pig could have been cast and the acting talent would have been no different. Morris frequently has a wooden expression and speaks in a monotone. Booth does a decent job as Dodger, but after reading her previous credits, I weep for her future. In a surprising cast note, Gary Cole makes a random and inconsequential three scene appearance as Owen’s father (sporting a comically fake British accent that gets my vote for worst accent of the year, narrowly beating Tom Wilkinson’s horrifying attempt to channel his inner James Cagney in Batman Begins).

Finally, it all comes back to Bon Jovi, who was overacting so hard that he looked like he was dying to break into song. I kept expecting the killer to be revealed to be Richie Sambora so he and Bon Jovi could launch into “Bad Medicine.”

Oh wait, that’s actually a better idea than the actual ending. Anyone have Jeff Wadlow’s number?

Archived article by Michael Mix
Sun Contributor