17 May 2006 | jluis1984
Severely edited, but still not bad
At first sight, "Cherry Falls" is one of the many harmless teen slashers that came out in the late 90s and early 00s in what was called "the horror revival" started by "Scream" back in 1996. While the movie can't hide the trademarks of its generation and it is definitely not very original, it offers some new twists to traditional clichés of the genre and a higher quality than the rest of the slashers of its time. Also, it is fair to point out that the movie we know as "Cherry Falls" is not what its director, Geoffrey Wright, conceived originally. It suffered several cuts to attain an R-Rating losing most of its planned edginess.
The story is set in the small town of Cherry Falls, where suddenly, a mysterious figure begins to kill the virgins in town. Sheriff Brent Marken (Michael Biehn) is specially concerned about the case not only because he knows that his beloved daughter Jody (Brittany Murphy) is virgin, but also because the case brings back memories of a dark event in Cherry Falls past. Meanwhile, the local teenagers organize a huge party to have sex and stop being potential victims.
Written by Ken Selden, the story mixes dark comedy with the horror genre pretty much in the vein of Scream, using a clever twist to the genre cliché of the virginal survivors. The mystery of the killer's identity is very well handled and the story unfolds as Jody's investigation takes her to discover the town's past. Surprisingly, the movie never gets boring or tedious, and it serve sits purpose as a thrilling mystery/horror film.
However, the film promises too much and there is never a proper payoff. Director Wright conceived his film as a comedy/horror about sex and violence in the genre, but the severe cuts the movie received took away all the sex and violence the director intended to portray, leaving an incomplete product that is really unsatisfying. This severely hurts the film, particularly at the finale, which is sad because it is really a very well crafted set-piece of nudity and violence that is badly edited to please the prudish MPAA.
Geoffrey Wright follows a subtle style for the most part of the film, and according to the script, it was done that way because the killings were supposed to be gory. Again, with the edition of this it left the film incomplete with scenes that build up very good suspense without a payoff. The suspense is broken with badly edited cuts that lead to the belief that a lot was missing.
The main cast is very good, particularly Jay Mohr as a concerned teacher who is truly worried about his students. Brittany Murphy is very good in the lead role is quite believable as a common teen girl (something not all slashers can say). The rest of the cast do a very good job but nothing really outstanding outside the leads.
"Cherry Falls" is a sad testimony of what further edition to a completed job can do. It certainly turned a promising great movie into an slightly above average horror film. Hopefully, a Director's Cut will be available someday but by now, "Cherry Falls" remains as a movie that could had been a lot better if it had remained true to its director's vision. 6/10