Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cherry Falls

One of the worst parts of slasher movies is the unbearable sameness of them all. It’s as though there were a firm blueprint they all must share in or else nobody will take them seriously, which severely weakens any attempts at originality they might try. While this film does not completely break free from the bonds of slasherdom, it makes a surprising enough try that I feel I must commend its efforts.

The film, set in the small town of Cherry Falls, concerns a mad killer that is slicing up all the teenage virgins in the town. Right from that we’re getting an inversion of the normal premise, where now a person is only safe if they have had sex before. The main heroine, Jody (played surprisingly by Brittany Murphy, as part of her ongoing efforts to prove to me that no matter how many times I see her, I still have no idea what she looks like), who has just broken up with her boyfriend, is now being pressured not only to start dating him again, but to immediately sleep with him so that she isn’t murdered. It’s a nice change of pace from the necessary virginal beauty we usually get in movies. This is further compounded by the general student body, getting wind of the killer’s modus operandi, deciding to engage in a big group orgy after school to keep themselves safe. Nice!

This is not to say the movie is perfect, mind you. I managed to successfully identify the killer from the first time they appeared, which does not really help when so much is made of who it could possibly be. There’s also the maddening cleverness of how a movie that’s all about arguing for young people to screw contains exactly zero nudity (sort of like the complete lack of anyone smoking in Thank You For Smoking, only not as fun because we are deprived of tits). The characters also tend to verge on the annoying side, which I guess is to be expected in a slasher film, but speaking just for myself I do always prefer getting a chance to actually give a shit about the characters before they start dying off. Still, despite its faults, it is definitely one of the better slasher movies to have come out since the 80s, and you should at least give it a try.

One more thing: if you watch the trailer below, you’ll notice Murphy spouting off about how your first time is supposed to be perfect and wonderful and magical and all that nonsense. For those younger readers that have as of yet not had sex yet, here’s how your first time is going to be, no matter how well you plan it: awkward, uncomfortable, and probably outright painful for the girl. The magical aspect of things doesn’t show up until you’ve had enough practice to actually be good at it. This is why you should in no way wait until marriage, as all that means is that your wedding night won’t stop being awkward, uncomfortable, and painful until well after the ceremony and reception.

Rating: ***

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