Hippo Manchester
September 22, 2005

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Cry Wolf (PG-13)
by Amy Diaz

Bored rich kids attempt to amuse themselves the way bored rich kids always amuse themselves (by finding the weakest among their number and eating him alive) in the silly, non-scary horror movie Cry Wolf.

Here is one thing Sarah Michelle Gellar will always have going for her: even if she never gets steady work again, even if her next movie is Scooby Doo 3, she can always point to her role in Cruel Intentions, the teenage version of Dangerous Liaisons, as a high-water mark of camp. There is nothing so ridiculous as the 16-year-old who acts like sheís the Alexis Carrington of her high school. Gellar perfectly translated the let-them-eat-cake-ness of courtly France to the let-them-wear-Versace attitude of a Manhattan prep-schooler. All others feel like mere pretenders at her throne.

All others to include the pale imitation of that performance turned in by Lindy Booth. Booth plays Dodger Allen, the queen bee of a VIP clique of prep school kids in an already-exclusive environment. Into her hive comes Owen Matthews (Julian Morris), a trouble maker with a distant father and a surprisingly unconvincing English accent (ďsurprisinglyĒ because Morris actually is from England). Dodger fancies Owen and invites him to the chapel to play a late-night game of bluff with her group of pampered friends. The game shows Owen to be their equal but also leaves Dodger wanting to turn the action up a level. Letís involve the whole school, she says. Luckily a townie has recently been murdered in the nearby woods. Using that titillating fact as the backbone, the group spins a legend about a killer who starts with the locals and quickly moves to thin out the preppy herd.

Naturally, itís all fun and games until someone is found with a big knife in class and students begin to mysteriously disappear. Is the created killer coming to life? Or are the students making up for parental neglect by further toying with each other?

Or is this all a part of an elaborate Halloween-themed reality show in which contestants arenít voted out of the game but reduced via the bloody-death method? Because Iíll bet that show would do really well on MTV.

Cry Wolf dazzles you with how scary it isnít and how unmysterious the central mystery is. No, Iím sure these teens would never try to gaslight each other. What, lie? No, never, not the well-bred students of a fancy private boarding school. And Iím sure itís an adult, like the janitor or the journalism teacher (a smirking Jon Bon Jovi) whoís behind all the madness.

Lacking in originality, amusement or sense, Cry Wolf feels deader than a panty-wearing-teenager who goes to investigate that odd noise at the end of a dark hallway.