Cherry Falls (2000) Movie Review
Written By: TJ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Geoffrey Wright
Producers: Marshall Persinger, Eli Selden
Writers: Ken Selden
Date Released: August 25, 2000
Michael Biehn as Brent Marken
Brittany Murphy as Jodi Marken
Jay Mohr as Leonard Maliston
Gabriel Mann as Kenny Ascott
Candy Clark as Marge Marken
Amanda Anka as Deputy Mina
Joe Inscoe as Principal Tom Sisler
Rating = 1.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Cherry Falls is a quiet town in Virginia disturbed by three consecutive deaths of teenagers who attend the local high school. The town sheriff, Brent Marken (Michael Biehn), works tirelessly to find out who the real murderer is. After learning that the three victims are all teenage virgins, he becomes so worried about his daughter, Jodi Marken (Brittany Murphy), who has yet to sleep with his boyfriend. Jodi gets terrorized by the murderer on school grounds but she manages to escape and identify the face of the serial killer. Due to the news about the victims, the high school students organize a wild party in which they are set to lose their virginity. Sheriff Brent, on the other hand, is forced to open up a sinister past which could either lead him to an answer, or to his own death.
Cherry Falls is a no-doubt slasher movie which definitely lived up to the genre’s criteria. With lots of murders and torture scenes, it will surely fulfill your inner gorehound’s bloodlust. I’ll give the film the credit for having a compelling use of makeup and prosthetics. From start to finish, it holds consistency on providing the viewers an effective execution of savage killings and disturbing deaths. Expect to see an abundance of stabbings, mutilated bodies staked to a cross or hung-up on the ceiling, multiple gunshots, and an axe ripping through the head. Needless to say that all the blood included in this film can make a water dam red, which is also depicted in the ending. The scene that creeps me out is when the principal is killed and the words “virgin not” are carved straight out from his face. Again, the prosthetics and makeup are commendable, but this might be the key element why this film is getting a higher score.
The Grave Review
Cherry Falls (2000) gave me more laughter than fear, not because it is a satire horror, but because it aims to focus more on the latter but still ends up being funny. Originally released in August 2000, this kind of films featuring horny teenagers apparently reigns during that time, the only difference is that it targets the virgins. While it’s not a classic, it still tries for an unorthodox and ambitious slasher movie, but falls short in so many different aspects. The film is not slick enough to get the audience on the edge of their seats and the viscous plot quickly dooms it into a quicksand of clichés that earned a lot of snickers from the audience.
Talking about the technicalities of the film, Cherry Falls is visually dark and the camera angles or shots are so messy that the film as a whole does not convey any emotion that viewers can root for. On the bright side however, the director took his liberty to use silence to build up tension, giving the audience the idea that danger could be anywhere, and surprisingly, it works.
Now, moving on to the cast. Truth be told, the acting is awful. It seems that the actors will laugh at any given moment despite a serious scene. The characters sometimes are over in acting or lacking any of it. The main casts, on the other hand, are forgivable as they are the ones who carry the film’s balance between comedic and terrifying.
The settings will give you a fall season vibe, something that reminds you of the good old days in your province. The pleasant-looking houses and the school that truly shows what a real school is like are what make the film more grounded to reality than any other films.
In spite of adult themes, Cherry Falls represents a simpler era of horror filmmaking before its evolution over time which greatly changed the way we perceived fear and danger, thus the film gives a nostalgic feel. Cherry Falls might not reach my standards when it comes to horror/slasher films, but it does explore the complex issues of gender roles and sexual expectations of society in general. It has an underlying message that virginity is not only applicable to females, but rather to all genders known to our generation.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Cherry Falls (2000) one and a half graves out of five graves.
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