Somewhere in Hollywood, someone filled out another Mad Lib.

Film Reviews
“Wow, so that is what a naked Bea Arthur looks like – “(Courtesy of Rogue)

Name of the new kid in school: _____

His accent: _____

Isolated setting: _____

Recent morbid tragedy: _____

Name of hot girl #1: _____

Name of hot girl #2: _____

Name of Asian girl w/ pigtails: _____

Name of black guy: _____

A Cute prank turned “deadly serious:” ____

Compute.

If this game continues, we’re in for as many “Scary Movie” sequels as there are scary movies. “Cry_Wolf” is simply all those other teen horror movies chewed up and regurgitated into a different reel with some changed names and a little twist at the end.

Protagonist Owen (Julian Morris) has just transferred into yet another private school where he meets the sly redhead, Dodger, a girl fond of talking out the side of her mouth and sneaking out with her friends to play a really “intense” fibbing game.

But their game evolves into a campus-wide prank when the group convinces the rest of the student body that the recent murder was actually the doing of a serial killer. Their so-called invention, dubbed “The Wolf,” is a hunting-gear-clad monster in an orange mask who goes from campus to campus doing what serial killers do. But then Owen starts receiving mysterious instant messages from someone named “The Wolf” and realizes that maybe the actual murderer has seen the mass e-mail he sent out. Among the suspects is journalism instructor Rich Walker (Jon Bon Jovi).

The fact that instant messaging takes such a salient role in this movie makes it very difficult to take seriously. The little bleep-chirp sound just doesn’t have the same punch as a shrill telephone ring or a mural in cat blood. A pale-faced, whispery divulgence of “I got another IM today” simply does not work as chilling dialogue. Besides, there’s just something inherently and intangibly wrong with using AIM for dramatic tension.

The dialogue also feels a little too scripted – the most memorable and the deepest line is Dodger’s: “It’s like you guys are playing checkers – and I’m playing chess.”

That said, “Cry_Wolf” will keep genre fans alert and entertained. The twist ending is difficult to call (This might be because it takes a third of the movie to unfold.), and the camera work isn’t horrible. Basically, lovers of this genre can get their fix, but others might search for an off-the-box recipe.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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