Directed by Geoffrey Wright [Other horror films: N/A]
For a long time, this movie would always come to mind when I thought of my favorite post-Scream slashers, and while others that also made the list have dropped down in my appreciation (such as Urban Legend and Valentine), Cherry Falls is still a movie I have a decent amount of fun with.
Certainly the idea alone is worth it – a mysterious killer going around and killing only virgins. I think a decent amount more could have been down with this outline, and I don’t disagree with the idea that, more often than not, Cherry Falls fails to really follow through on the more potentially sleazy moments (though, to be fair, what post-Scream slashers didn’t?), but even so, the basic plot is fun.
What really adds to this is the mystery behind the killer. Past a certain point, it may be somewhat obvious who the killer is, but I definitely find the backstory quite compelling and pretty sympathetic, and brings to mind Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II with a secret being held by some of the adults of the film. Somewhat related, I did feel somewhat sour about the conclusion, as the lie is continued as opposed to revealed, so not all is perfect.
Brittany Murphy (Deadline, Across the Hall, The Prophecy II, Something Wicked) isn’t a name I really know, but I do quite love her as the central character. She has a great look to her, and I find her spunky attitude admirable. Alas, she died young in 2009, which I find a shame. Playing her father is Michael Biehn (Aliens, The Seventh Sign, Bereavement, The Insatiable, Psych:9, She Rises), who may come across a bit generic at times, but he seems suitable enough, and I have no complaints.
Though he didn’t have a lot to do, I did find Keram Malicki-Sánchez’s (Texas Chainsaw 3D) performance pretty fun, and he seemed pretty chill with Brittany Murphy. Perhaps most enjoyable is mild-mannered teacher Jay Mohr (The Orchard), who I don’t know outside of this movie, but ends up being a lot of fun, and he comes across as one of those teachers and mentors that won’t soon be forgotten.
The violence throughout the film does feel a bit muted (in much the same way the nudity does – mean, seriously, during that giant “orgy,” there’s not one topless woman?), but because the mystery and characters are all pretty solid, that doesn’t bother me as much as it did in films like Urban Legend or Valentine. Plus, Biehn’s awkward conversation with his daughter, Murphy, about whether or not she’s a virgin is so horrendous it makes up for any other faults the movie might have.
Cherry Falls seems to have largely fallen under the radar as far as post-Scream slashers go, and I really think it’s a shame, as I certainly find aspects of it better than more well-known films such as the aforementioned Urban Legend and Valentine. Does Cherry Falls feel a little, for lack of a better word, cheap, at times? Maybe, but at least it’s fun, and save some complaints about the ending and that final befuddling scene of the waterfall, I’ve always enjoyed this, and likely will into the foreseeable future.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Cherry Falls.