The Film (4/5)
In the small town of Cherry Falls, Virginia, a killer is stalking and killing teenagers. Instead of punishing the naughty kids who have sex, this knife-wielding and very maniacal woman is out for the blood of virgins. The local sheriff (Michael Biehn) is anxious to solve the case but the hymen status of his daughter Jody (Brittany Murphy) is a little distracting. She and her boyfriend Kenny (Gabriel Mann) haven’t made sweet, sweet whoopee yet. When word gets out that only the sexually experienced can avoid getting murdered, the moronic and extremely horny teens of Cherry Falls plan an orgy at an abandoned mansion to save their hot, under 18 skins.
Australian director Geoffrey Wright brings us Cherry Falls, a tongue-in-cheek slasher that landed in the sights of the MPAA and was heavily cut to get its R rating. This is such an odd flick with characters acting weirdly and a tone that channels a little “Twin Peaks” to keep things interesting. Flipping the switch on the killer’s M.O. is a clever idea but this film’s manic energy makes it more than a one trick pony. I kind of love this one.
Man oh man, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray looks excellent with its practically virginal 1080p scan in 1.85:1 widescreen. The audio is very good in its chaste 2.0 Stereo. No complaints here. This is such a vast improvement over the (probably Canadian) DVD I saw many years ago that this is a must-own for fans of this film.
Sadly, my dreams of those deleted gore scenes turning up, especially in an unrated cut will likely never surface. The interviews with both Ken Sheldon (writer and co-executive producer) and Marshall Persinger (producer) are really awkward. I think these people are just extremely camera shy and their segments during “Lose It or Die: The Untold Story of Cherry Falls” are just hard to watch. Actress Amanda Anka has a short interview about working on the film as well. She is much better at speaking on camera.
The audio commentary by director Geoffrey Wright is pretty decent. He’s insightful about the production and talks at length about working with Brittany Murphy. There’s some quiet spots in this and I wish he’d been in the studio with another member of the crew but if you dig this movie, you’ll enjoy what Wright has to say. There’s a theatrical trailer for the film, on-set interviews with the cast, and some behind-the-scenes footage.
Cherry Falls is ripe (hee hee) for rediscovery or just discovery if you haven’t caught this one before. This is a great post-Scream slasher that got cockblocked by the MPAA. It’s very 1990s but the stalking sequences are great, the characters are interesting, and the tone is quirky as heck. The gore scenes are so obviously trimmed that you’d have to be blind not to notice but there’s so much good here that I have to give Cherry Falls a strong recommendation.