Cherry Falls (2000)

July 3, 2009 - 6:42pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: blood, Bre Blair, Brittany Murphy, Candy Clark, D.J. Qualls, Douglas Spain, Gabriel Mann, Geoffrey Wright, Jay Mohr, Jesse Bradford, Joannah Portman, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Kristen Miller, Michael Biehn, Michael Weston, Natalie Ramsey, slasher

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Geoffrey Wright
Brittany Murphy, Jay Mohr, Michael Biehn, Jesse Bradford, Candy Clark, Gabriel Mann, Natalie Ramsey, Douglas Spain, Bre Blair, Kristen Miller, Michael Weston, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Joannah Portman, D.J. Qualls

I remember seeing this film back when it premiered on the USA network in October of 2000. At the time I didn't know much about the film, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was it creative, but also mildly original. The movie got a theatrical and DVD release in other countries, but ended up on TV here as part of USA's Halloween lineup, with Terror Tract premiering a couple days prior. I re-watched the film earlier and found it just as enjoyable as I did the day I first saw it. The movie would be considered tame and likely predictable by today's standards, but at the time it was slightly above the rest of the usual horror that was around, and the twist at the end was a delightful surprise for me.

The movie has the typical premise of a killer taking out teens in a small town, only instead of killing jocks and slutty girls, this villain is only after virgins. Yes, the clichéd mold of the virgin being the only survivor is pretty much thrown out the window here. In fact, although the premise is predictable, the movie (at the time) offered new ideas that we didn't normally see in slashers. Aside from virgins going out first, the killer was a female; not only that but she was talented with the knife. She had what seemed to be a customized handle that would detach its blade and replace it with another. This gave her the opportunity to use any blade she saw most useful for the kill. It sure beats the standard machete, that's for sure.

We revolve around Brittany Murphy's character as the daughter of the local sheriff, whom seems to be the target of the killer after she escaped her grasp at one point of the film. Naturally, it's revealed later on that she's somehow tied to why this individual is going around killing virgins. We see a lot of familiar young faces before they became so "known". Of course Brittany had her spotlight in 1995's Clueless, but it wasn't until a few years after Cherry Falls that she became more of a sought after actress. We'll also see small roles from D.J. Qualls (The New Guy) and Jesse Bradford (Swimfan). Of course you'll most likely notice Michael Biehn as the role of the Sheriff and comedian Jay Morh as a concerned teacher.

Although the movie does offer a fair amount of blood, you'll pretty much see zero gore in this flick, which will likely turn some horror fans off considering what's available now-a-days. The fact is, the MPAA was stricter at the time and the film had to go through a series of cuts in order to receive an R-rating. We'd essentially get all the graphic and on-screen death scenes removed, so we're only left with some slashes and blood splatter. If a movie like this were released now I'm sure we'd see gore all over the place, and probably a couple (tiring) torture scenes thrown in for good measure.

Towards the end of the movie the students from the high school stage a sex-fest in an old abandoned home, because it's the only way to survive of course! It's around this time the killer shows herself to everyone and starts slashing at all the students as they attempt to run for their lives out of the house, tripping, and crushing themselves and others while going down the stairs. This scene was pretty much ripped off in Freddy vs. Jason, when Jason hacks away at a bunch of young party-goers in the cornfield. The sequence was also supposed to be more graphic in terms of sexual activity and blood, but of course it was trimmed down for the R-rating. In fact, the movie offers no nudity, which is another rarity in a horror film, especially one that's supposed to involve a lot of sex.

Aside from the orgy-slashing sequence, another favorite of mine involved the killer chasing after Brittany Murphy's character in the school hallway at full speed -- very intense and freaky scene, in my opinion. This movie was pretty underrated when it was released and even more-so now. With all these mediocre slashers and torture flicks now-a-days it's no surprise that a gem like this would be ignored as just another slasher. The DVD was released in 2001 as a double-feature with Terror Tract, but it's pretty much out-of-print now in the US. If it's not available for rent, you can probably find the Canadian edition online, which is identical to the US release. Sadly, it's barebones, but the European versions offer some short behind-the-scenes features and interviews. Hopefully one day we'll see an uncut special edition re-release with old and new extras.

In my opinion this is an underrated slasher that's overlooked due to the fact that it never really made a huge impact when it premiered on the USA network back in 2000. It also might be considered "tame" by today's standards, but if you see it you'll notice that it actually offers some ideas that even to this day haven't really been touched much on in the genre. If you like slasher flicks, check this one out.

Author Information

FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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