VIVARIUM (2020)

Directed By: Lorcan Finnegan
Written By: Garrett Shanley
Story By: Lorcan Finnegan & Garett Shanley 
Cinematography: MacGregor
Editor: Tony Cranston

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Jonathan Aris, Eanna Hardwicke

A young couple is thinking about buying their starter home. And to this end, they visit a real estate agency where they are received by a strange sales agent, who accompanies them to a new, mysterious, peculiar housing development to show them a single-family home. There they get trapped in a surreal, maze-like nightmare.


The film Plays as a mystery with no answers though gives you everything you need to know in the opening scene 

While the film Certainly has many ideas and great visuals in what feels like a kind of fantasy tale. It becomes just as frustrating as the characters feel throughout watching it.

As the films give us a mystery to keep us intrigued but that is about it. As Jesse Eisenberg’s character, it keeps digging itself deeper though it offers no explanation. Which ends up feeling like why should we care and with offering no kind of answers but trying to make it more mysterious it gets annoying and we can’t even feel much for these characters who are trapped.

After a while, it feels like this film is mostly a showcase for the director and screenwriter rather than making them engaging or logical. 

It seems rather more interested in impressing rather than being a story or even a film. So that it can leave the audience cold And unfulfilled. 

The film gives clues that this is rather weird by the make-up and loom of the real estate agent. So it alerts us that there is something afoot.

The scenes with them Raising a child who is supposed to be a mimic but you can tell His voice even when normal is a voice overtakes you out of the film.

The film has an intriguing central idea. Then just seems hesitant to move on and instead just chooses not to explain its point and Leaves it to be freaky or weird and visual. So never making its points.

Which can be intriguing but here it seems Lazy. As for all that they show and tell they can’t back it up and would have to explain why. That it might not all fit together.

So instead the movie comes off as a study that we are watching personally for what? Who knows but that is not what you expect and makes it all the more challenging. So that it plays almost like a fictional documentary only more observant as we never get any explanations or testimonials.

It’s A shame as both actors I truly like but the way it plays anyone could have played these roles. As they are front and center they don’t have much to play with and could be anybody. They are barely likable and don’t have any personality. 

Grade: C+

FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)


DIRECTED BY: Marcus Nispel
Written By: Damian Shannon & Mark Swift;
Story By: Damian Shannon & Mark Swift & Mark Wheaton
Based On Characters By: Victor Miller
Cinematography By: Daniel C. Pearl
Editor: Ken Blackwell

CAST: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda
Righetti, Aaron Yoo, Derek Mears, Travin Van Winkle, Willa Ford, America Olivio

A group of young adults visits a boarded-up campsite named Crystal Lake where they soon encounter the mysterious Jason Voorhees and his deadly intentions.


The film tries to add some infamous scenes from the previous movies. The ending of part one with the death of Mrs. Voorhies is remade and is the opening minutes of the film. It has all the hallmarks weed, Sex, Nudity. Used to a degree but not as much as the original films. Though used more than most recent horror films. Which feels like a nod of nostalgia but under more modern terms.

It also shows the film Trying to use a less predictable nature that doesn’t work as this film is still predictable.

The Film is so bombastic with the score with every action there is no real surprise you always know what’s going to happen. It gets so predictable. Everything in the film happens matter of factly. There is no suspense leading to the killing. No foreplay just gory violence. The more violent the better no real thought seems to go into it. 

The film also comes up with interesting ideas but quickly drops them like the fact Jason knows where his victims are due to a bell system set up underground that is tied to various objects on the surface to let him know the location of people. Plus elaborate traps and various weapons. For a guy livening in the woods off the land he sure did get big and talented sort of like Michael Myers in the remake of HALLOWEEN how? 

The victims are characters who have no character. I Didn’t like them or feel sorry for them as they were dispatched. That, unfortunately, seems to be a new trend that makes the characters like cattle so the audience doesn’t care, we just wait and root for their demise like a bull at a matador show. Half the time you want to see the victims die. 

They are so unlikeable like the 2 minority characters only seem to be here to play out stereotypes. They get no female attention yet are horny and seemingly the only drug craving characters. In fact, the black guy only seems to be around to add to the body count and say “oh it’s because I’m black” a bunch of times. It made me feel like this Is one of the times I would be happy for the black guy to die first. Get him out of this embarrassing role and movie, but I wouldn’t expect any less from a Michael Bay product. 

Which always seems to be more about visuals and less about the concept, And of course one of the last victims has to be the biggest idiot and asshole to have the anticipation be worth it and while their death is brutal it is not as glorious as one would hope.

 
 It would have been an interesting twist if Jason kept some of the bodies for food and recreation or trophies. It would help explain the part of the film where he kidnaps a girl and keeps her how does she stay alive over time food and water-wise?  The director Marcus Nispel Seems determined to direct every Re-boot of horror series (He Previously directed the remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) being that he is a former video director, it seems he is used to telling a story strictly through visuals and less with dialogue which may explain the style on display in this film as the script has many problems but luscious visuals when you can see them. 

This brings up another problem. It also doesn’t help that the film is so saturated with darkness it makes many scenes hard to see. The best and most entertaining scene In the whole movie was the sex scene at the house. 

This makes me think Marcus Nispel may have a career in making horror porn or should switch to erotic thrillers instead of horror 

GRADE: D+

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989)

Written & Directed By: Rob Hedden 
Based on characters created by: Victor Miller 
Cinematography By: Bryan England 
Editor: Steve Mirkovich & Ted Pryor 

Cast: Kane Hodder, Jensen Dagett, Todd Caldecott, Tiffany Paulson, Peter Mark Richman, Kelly Hu, Gordon Currie, V.C. Dupree 

The graduating class of the local high school is going on a luxury cruise with Jason Voorhees as a stowaway. The heroine Rennie Wickham believes she was almost drowned by Jason as a child. Jason eventually sinks the boat and kills many of the students on it, but many of them escape to Manhattan. A long battle with Jason ensues until Jason is washed away in the New York sewers by a midnight flooding of toxic waste.



In continuing reviewing the series I can appreciate the films individually as some are real standouts in the series while some are only watchable as they add to the overall tale as disjointed at this point as it is. Makes you wonder at some points why is it acceptable that the twist in part 5 is seen as remarkable.

Yet in another series Halloween 3 is seen as a disgrace. When both tried to breathe new life and present its series in a new direction. Though with Friday the 13th they pretty much stayed within the core slasher.  The prologue of the film foreshadows all the places that Jason will chase the teenagers: downtown with the gang members, the diner, and the alley with the drug addicts, and the subway.

There is Inept filmmaking all around in this film. I know this is just another mindless sequel that just adds a new element into the mix to make you think it’s going to be different than the last ones you saw, but it just ends up pretty much being him killing teenagers and the odd adult in painful brutal ways. Such as impaling them on a harpoon and suspending them from it. Just now in a new different location. 
 

Usually, the lure for these films is the promise of nudity and sexual situations. The characters usually having a party that involves drugs and alcohol but this film doesn’t even have these simple visuals. This is almost an all-around cluster fuck. None of the scenes are scary. The kills are simplistic, not artistic as in the past. The cast is far from conveniently attractive. 

Once the five survivors make it to New York they are dispatched in one ridiculous way after and then one guy literally boxes Jason to the edge of a roof then runs out of energy then tells Jason to give him his best shot which he does decapitates him. Then his head falls perfectly into a trash can but then makes an appearance in a cop car. 
 

This was the last film in the “Friday the 13th” series to be produced and distributed by Paramount, due to declining box office returns. Subsequent entries were handled by New Line Cinema.  This film truly made me notice some of the problems with Friday the 13th as wholesome problems are minor some are major. We know he has eyes but yet any close-up of him wearing the mask makes it look like he has two empty holes. I guess to make it look like he is a phantom. I know he is supernatural but since he doesn’t fly or teleport or run. How does he catch up and get ahead of his victims? He can’t always know a shortcut to his surroundings. Like in this film it’s his first time in the area yet he knows the geography like a pro. Who knows what he busies himself within between kills? Especially since he doesn’t seem to eat or sleep. Is he a monster? , Zombie?, Mutant? We never get a full explanation. Or definition. 

Writer/Director Rob Hedden originally wrote more of the movie to be set in New York. He had written scenes at Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building. But Paramount told him that the budget would not allow him to spend that much time in New York, so he was forced to rewrite the film and spend more time on the cruise ship. Hedden says he agrees with fans who complain that not enough time is spent in New York, given the title Jason Takes Manhattan.  It would be nice if the series added some pure creativity. Though it does try yet it feels like fads since it has had a copycat killer who was a regular human being. 

Then in JASON GOES TO HELL he possesses different people by them eating his heart. Then we get Jason in space in JASON X. We have had Jason in 3D on FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3, Jason resurrected for the first time on FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6. Jason Vs. The girl with Psychic powers in PART 7, Then JASON VS. FREDDY. Here they just seemed to change his surroundings to a popular metropolis. 

I have to say This film is very insulting to new York as I know it was bad particularly times square around the time this film was made, but this film makes the city look nothing but dirty, corrupt, and dangerous with almost every citizen a criminal or drug addict. It seems like they make New York out to be just as dangerous if not more so than Jason. This might be the one part of the film that gets its one dose of reality. This seems to be Grindhouse-era New York. Tons of homeless, crooked cops, Muggers, Junkies, pimps, Prostitutes, and dealers. All kinds of sleaze. So mixing that with this fantasy element is a pop art mash-up. That is an interesting contrast, but unfortunately, this was the wrong filmmaker to do it. 

 SPOILER  

There is also some weird connection between the hero and Jason that causes her to have visions of him as a child asking for help. Which makes no sense in the first place. Only to be the saving factor in the end. With child Jason killing and taking monster Jason away. It’s like the filmmakers couldn’t think of a new plausible way to kill him. So they come up with a stand-by of mumbo jumbo. Where are the visions coming from and when did they become physical? 
 

SPOILER ENDING 

Sorry for spoiling the ending but either way they made another sequel. So no matter what he’s down but not out (Which is one of the more entertaining scenes)

Grade: D+

SEANCE (2021)

Written & Directed By: Simon Barrett
Cinematography: Karim Hussein
Editor: James Vandewater

Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Ella-Rae Smith, Madisen Beaty, Stephanie Sy, Inanna Sarkis, Djouloet Amara, Jade Michael, Seamus Patterson, Marina Stephenson

At the prestigious Fairfield Academy, an elite boarding school for girls, six friends jokingly engage in a late-night ritual, calling forth the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts their halls. Before morning, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they may have awakened.


This is an old-school type of horror film that builds towards the payoff rather than offering cheap thrills all upfront. 

It offers a little of every type even though at heart it is one really.

While the film is predictable it does try to offer a few surprises and keep you on your toes. As it stays entertaining even while it takes its time. 

The film is perfect for its target audience of teenage girls. As it is not over the top violent. Seems more focused on moods and scares than violence. Letting the audience know and see the dangers. Dwelling on it but not going overboard. 

The cast mostly looks like regulars on the CW teen shows. More attractive than normal. So that it feels like a very special episode of one of Their original shows and the characters are way more snarky than also. 

This film feels more like a genre exercise that feels refreshing if not also familiar. While feeling also indebted to the 1980s with only a few modern touches. 

One can admire it for what it tries to be for the audience and can be for those or familiar with it’s type. An excellent starter horror film. 

It’s better than one might expect it would be. 

GRADE: C+

SUPERHOST (2021)

Written & Directed By: Brandon Christensen
Cinematography: Clayton Moore 

Cast: Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Gracie Gilliam, Barbara Crampton 

With their follower count dwindling, travel vloggers Teddy and Claire pivot to creating viral content around their most recent “superhost,” Rebecca, who wants more from the duo than a great review.


This would have been better handled as an episode of a horror anthology series. Think  AMERICAN HORROR STORY. At least as an episode it would show to get to an obvious point, that most of the audience sees coming except the protagonists and would be more heightened and direct not to mention gone for thrills more than subtle.

 As there is an interesting twist that almost makes the film surprising until it goes back on itself or even into the dark Hulu’s horror series as they are practically mini movies that barely make it to 90 minutes 

While luckily this film seems to keep it simple and straightforward exposing itself and having something to say about Online Culture.  Not to mention reality and manipulation and the results of it. 

What does keep the film afloat is the off-kilter over the top villain of the film who is energetic and polite to a t but also uncanny and once she fully lets loose. She is released and full. The film Leaves open the future for a sequel. Which would be good and hopefully give more of a chance to realize and fulfill Its ideas. 

As here while simple it sometimes feels like it is either holding back or doesn’t have much to say and is prolonging the inevitable and trying to fill out its time. Though at least in some of these scenes that seem to build up the suspense at least one is spooky. When he first leaves the house and sees someone with glowing eyes.

The film could have easily ended with a twist ending early but chooses to go on to make a point that has its victory but also comes off as basic. Then again the earlier ending might have been a cop-out to some. Though judging by the production this was meant to be an out and out horror.

The leads are meant to be both sides of the coin one innocent one guilty but we are least understand the reasoning of the guilty one and there is really only one other member of the cast shot is not a main character who comes off more so there can be more violence rather than necessary 

Grade: C+

BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019)

Directed By: Sophia Takal 
Written By: Sophia Takal, April Wolfe & Roy Lee
Cinematography: Mark Schwartzbard 
Editor: Ben Baudhuin & Jeff Betancourt 

Cast: Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, Cary Elwes, Caleb Eberhardt, Simon Mead, Madeline Adams, Zoe Robins, Ben Black

Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays. One by one, sorority girls on campus are being killed by an unknown stalker. But the killer is about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t willing to become hapless victims as they mount a fight to the finish.


Not exactly a remake but it does involve a serial killer around Christmas when the college is empty stalking Mostly women.

The plot is Changed a bit here as it is almost an original film that might have kissed off fans of the movie. Where it seems like an ideology or a kind of feminist ideology took over more than the plot. 

That is ok if it still makes a thrilling movie but it comes off as weak. As it seems more interested in making a statement which is fine but the way it tries seems empty especially when Trying to fit it into a more blockbuster film. I applaud the message though it comes off as off-centered eventually.

As well. As the reveal of who the killers are and why with a kind of supernatural goo that I am guessing reading up On the film is toxic masculinity dripping through their veins as a kind of reaction to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

The metaphors feel too spot-on as they are not very subtle. The film has nerve but it also needs a bit more polish. 

One can see that the film was made for a certain audience to feel represented and to show empowerment for the female audience by watching it and can applaud the film for that point but as far as watching it and being entertaining. It had many problems and weaknesses that seems random and more ambiguous and random 

Which might be me and certain audience members might not be the right audience for this film as we were expecting something different and what is here doesn’t speak as strongly to us 

The film certainly comes off with no frills to feel more homegrown and a little more natural. The film’s style seems to have very little of it. This almost comes off as an episode of a horror television series where. 

There is a message in its heart but it seems to take over the narrative. Which would work better if not necessarily trying to be subversive. Instead burying it turns the audience off from what they were expecting and mad at what they have been served. Maybe if it was better overall I wouldn’t mind. 

Though in the end.  just as Off point as the message of the film. So is the filmmaking which seems less interested in horror and more uninterested and going through the motions when it comes to that aspect of the film.

Which feels like it has gone far off from what it was aimed at. That it feels silly and far fetched. In essence, it didn’t mix well and got too preachy.

Grade: D

PLEDGE NIGHT (1990)

Directed & Edited By: Paul Ziller
Written By: Joyce Snyder 
Cinematography: Big Paul Smith 

Cast: Todd Eastland, Dennis Sullivan, Craig Derrick, Shannon McMahon, David Neal Evans, James Davies, Joey Belladonna, Will Kempke, Michael T. Henderson, Robert Lantini 

A college fraternity in the middle of hazing their new pledges during “hell week” incur the wrath of a long-deceased pledge who died during a hazing gone wrong 20 years ago.


This is what secondary markets were made for, as this is definitely a movie you would more capture on the straight-to-home video market or see on cable late at night. 

As it is lower budgeted and calls itself a horror film which it is, but actually is more like a comedy most of its run time about the hardships of pledging and then in the final act becomes a horror film.

Which at first seems like it will be about one of the frat brothers finally losing it and snapping into the role that he has been given to be the disturbed frat brother, but then it ends up being a supernatural tale.

Acid Sid the evil spirit seemingly bent on revenge is obviously the filmmakers trying to create an iconic horror character ala, Freddy Kruger. Who is not only a killer but the conductor of violence, a horror mascot, and vigilante as well as comic relief with his own liners.

The film has stilted and awkward acting and while it’s not the best-made film. It is entertaining in a simple, bad, and cheesy, it’s kind of way. As you can see the filmmakers are trying to have their heart and imagination in the right place.

The film is exploitive with plenty of nudity and sex with a misogynistic attitude throughout. Which also challenges the film’s villain’s mentality. Where this spirit is seeking revenge so it makes sense to kill the frat brothers and even the pledges who swear allegiance to the frat, but the sorority sisters might seem like collateral damage or maybe as collaborators so they are just as guilty but for some kills, they seem like more innocent victims there to up the body count and for nudity’s sake. Their kills seem more mean spirited

Even though as you get to know the characters you know who will end up being victims, but never in which order or how. This should be the new challenge to horror film fans who always can predict what will happen or how it will end. Challenge themselves with trying to come up with the kill order of the main characters. Not random one-scene characters who are collateral damage or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Again this film is unintentionally campy and seems to be the type of film USA’s UP ALL NIGHT would have shown and appreciated giving the film the audience it craves. 

Unfortunately, this is left as a relic of another time. Hopefully to be discovered and either appreciated or ridiculed by an audience. 

Though it definitely plays more for a horror crowd who don’t mind their entertainment a little cheesy and somewhat predictable. It’s a good bad movie. 

Grade: C

DR. GIGGLES (1992)

Directed By: Manny Coto 
Written By: Manny Coto & Graeme Whifler 
Cinematography By: Robert Draper 
Editor: Debra Neil 

Cast: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Glenn Quinn, Cliff De Young, Sara Melson, Zoe Trilling, Michelle Johnson, Keith Diamond, Richard Bradford, John Vickery, Doug E. Doug

The psychopathic son of a mass-murdering doctor escapes from his mental institution to seek revenge on the town where his father was caught. The giggling doctor kills his victims with a surgical theme. His goal is to give one of the townfolk a heart transplant.


This film always seemed like a series that could continue into a franchise. Even if it was just straight to DVD sequels. One could even accept one sequel strangely enough. As here you have an iconic rather ridiculous horror character and a rather goofy yet entertaining horror film.

Though lead actor Larry Drake has unfortunately passed. I am sure it is ripe for a reimagining. I mean if Corbin Bernsen had THE DENTIST series of films. Which were a rather guilty pleasure of mine. Why not DR. GIGGLES?

While this film is not the best it fulfills a certain uncentered feel during the film. Where you laugh one minute, groan the next, then finally are appalled the following.

This film has an old-school vibe that while not classic like the universal monsters. Feels like some kind of attempt to create a more studio-friendly one.

The problem is that the film isn’t really that scary. Nor as violent as one would expect. The only time it even really gets grimy is a gory birth or rebirth scene in flashback. As the film is campier than anything. That keeps trying to make you laugh at the macabre.

It’s an example of the rather soft horror films studios were putting out At the time. This film feels more suited for 13-year-olds rather than adults with its goofiness at times as it gets over the top with puns and one-liners and the doctor having overgrown murder tools and accessories that couldn’t have been bought. So they must have been created. Making him quite the artist as well. Though also makes him come off as a crazed clown with an identity crisis. Which makes an odd screen psychopathic killer.

Director, Manny Coto, revealed that the MPAA told him he had a lot of work to do on the film before they could give it an R rating. They had to cut out a lot of the gore because the MPAA was particularly harsh on them since horror films faced heavy censorship in the early 1990s. Which would explain why the film feels so clean when it comes to deaths and violence. Nothing really terror-inducing

Larry Drake is an all-star here. He does an impressive job and is memorable. As he usually did in other films. He is a favorite in the DARKMAN series of films. He never quite got his break as a more popular character actor. Hard to believe he was actually considered only after Ted Danson and Matt Frewer turned the part down

The problem here is that his film is meant to be an introduction, but feels more like a sequel of sorts. Where we are supposed to know about him already. We see the doctor in action more as a phantom in the background. So we never get to see exactly how dangerous he was originally. So the murders he commits here seem more secondhand. Not as shocking or powerful As they should feel.

The rest of the cast unfortunately is forgettable as they just seem your average type cliche one-note characters. There didn’t seem to be an effort to humanize them. So as they are slaughtered you feel nothing or rather cheer for their demise. Making for a macabre crowd pleaser. The film is as fun as the title suggests. One just wishes there was more to it. As it easily runs out of room with its initial premise. So it keeps adding to pad out the film. Though really the film feels like an attempt to make a big-screen slasher. Though ends up coming across more as the type you would see in a film that needs a horror film for the characters to watch that could be very generic but needs a hook.

I find myself being more kind to this film than maybe I should as it is a childhood favorite. When I stuck to mainly studio horror films out of fear of the more extreme ones.

Grade: C+

FENDER BENDER (2016)

Written & Directed By: Mark Pavia 
Cinematography By: Tyler Lee Cushing 
Editor: Lana Wolverton 

Cast: Cassidy Freeman, Mackenzie Vega, Lora-Martinez-Cunningham, Bill Sage, Dre Davis, Steven Michael Quezada 

In a small New Mexico town, a 17-year-old high school girl who just got her driver’s license gets into her first fender bender, innocently exchanging her personal information with an apologetic stranger. Later that stormy night, she is joined in her desolate suburban home by a couple of her school friends who try their best to make a night out of it, only to be visited by the stranger she so willingly handed all of her information to — a terrifying and bizarre serial killer who stalks the country’s endless miles of roads and streets with his old rusty car, hungrily searching for his next unsuspecting victim.


To tell you the truth this plays is purely typical of a slasher film.

The advertising feels like a mislead to get the title as it seems like this will be some Troy of HIGHWAYMAN type thriller where the slasher’s car will be his primary weapon. When actually it is how he chooses and at first strokes his victims. Using a small crash as an excuse to trade insurance information to use to stalk them and then murder them.

During this film way, too many questions came up. I am sure he is planned for a series so maybe that is why we never really get a motive. As a killing machine he also always seemed ready to take on as many people as needed.

The film seems to need victims as it uses a flimsy excuse for the final GIRL to have a few friends over. Whose purpose only seems to be to add more gore and violence to the movie.

I kind of felt like the killer cheated to a degree. As it is understandable why in life a killer would want to make his job easier by drugging his prey, but in horror movie terms it feels dishonest and likes cheating. It is literally like shooting ducks in a barrel. They have no way to fight back or escape. So of course you are going to win.

The film also just seems mercilessly cruel to the cast. Most of whom are still teenagers. Maybe the film brought that out more than other horror movies where usually the victims are teens but you feel nothing. Maybe the cast here actually looks and acts the part more believably. Though their deaths are typical, you still feel something when they die a certain sadness.

It might be that his cast shows a certain innocence so that they are believable and feel more like victims as there is barely anything they can do against this unexpected attack. Barely any defense.

The film also luckily doesn’t specialize in everything. Nor add sex and nudity where it isn’t needed. The film is lean and to the point. It does seem to have a reliance on female victims washing beforehand, but that might be a tease to fans expecting more than what is actually being offered.

The look of the killer is certainly iconic using thick leather as armor and a mask that while basic looks like a Deranged alien or escaped demon from hell. The film reminds me of THE COLLECTOR series only not as intricate and believable as the work of one person.

At times the film sets the mood and is properly claustrophobic but also in some scenes the score and tone feel. It is only monotonous but over the top. So that while it feels airless it also feels laughable to a degree.

Director Mario Pavia also directed the horror movie and Stephen king of film adaptation of THE NIGHT FLIER (In fact this is the first film he has directed in 19 years) and just as that film was dark and had an upsetting ending. He continues the tradition here. Don’t know if that was to set up sequels or make his mark and have the film be different. It does help the film. As the ending is the one remarkable thing that doesn’t necessarily feel routine.

Grade: C-

CHERRY FALLS (2000)

Directed By: Geoffrey Wright 
Written By: Ken Selden 
Cinematography By: Anthony B. Richmond 
Editor: John F. Link 

Cast: Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, Jesse Bradford, Jay Mohr, Candy Clark, Bre Blair, Gabriel Mann, Douglas Spain, Natalie Ramsey, Kristen Miller, Michael Weston, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Clementine Ford 

A psychotic serial slasher starts a bloodthirsty murder rampage at Cherry Falls high school that only kills the local high school virgins. This leads to the local teenage population organizing a sex party in order to lose their virginity and thus no longer be targets


I am shocked I never reviewed this sooner. This is a film that usually is bright up every once in a while. it has a great premise that never seems to get a chance to rise up to its full potential. As even the parts that are crazy under another set of changes could have made the film a bit more respectable rather than ridiculed. This is a film that should have been bigger than it ever got a chance to rise to.

This film was part of the SCREAM clones. Teen horror films that were self-aware. That obviously flooded the market after that film’s success. This film tries to be more satirical and ridiculous at times then becomes more suspenseful.

Unlike SCREAM isn’t as smart though it does seem self-aware. This film also tends to go over the top a bit too much. That it’s not shocking anymore but common. Despite all the problems the film had behind the scenes something feels lost as envelope-pushing as the film could have been. It’s a film that deserves a do-over

The film’s hook is that it reverses the usual trope of sex equaling death. Here we have a serial killer who hunts down virgins. once the teenagers find out they decide to have a teenage orgy at a house party. Where the end of the film takes place.

Though the film can be sexual. Not much is really show. In fact, much of the orgy scenes were cut out to be able to get an R rating rather than an X. Though the distributors weren’t convinced and pulled a theatrical release. So instead the film premiered on the USA network. Where it was cut up, even more, to play on television. Though released in its R-rated cut in Europe. Where it had mild success.

The film isn’t great but does have a good premise. Luckily it obviously has a sense of humor about itself.

The film is scary when it needs To be. Though shockingly predictable, doesn’t spare us from trying to make everyone it can into a suspect. If anything its tone and just general weirdness set it apart. It does help explain its cult status.

This film stars Brittany Murphy. One of the few films where her star quality is used to good effect. Where she has the natural goofiness, quirkiness, and sweetness she usually brings to her parts. As well as one of the few she played a lead in that is rewatchable to a degree. She in fact is the only reason I bought this film out when it was released on DVD in 2000 and on a disc that included 2 other HORROR films that seemed to also air on the USA network. Her performance seems to be day and night as at times she seems lost and goes from silly comedic to deadly serious and in one scene experienced seductress out of nowhere. Even as her character is a virgin.

Due to ongoing censorship issues with the MPAA, the film was never given a theatrical release in the United States and was released as a TV movie on the USA Network. As a result, Cherry Falls is the most expensive television movie ever produced, with a budget of around $14 million. Though it has a pedigree behind it. A rather solid cast with some strange elements.

The film actually shows comedian Jay Mohr more as a character actor rather than just a comedic presence.

The film is funny sometimes I intentionally. As it is ridiculous a lot of times and could easily become camp if the director was more on that wavelength.

Though the film has more of a 1990’s feel. It is almost the 1980’s inspired by it’s simple easy attitude.

Grade: C-