#198 -- Cherry Falls (2000)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: Geoffrey Wright

It has been such a long time since I last saw this movie, and I have always enjoyed it. It's a very simple movie. It's not the greatest horror movie in the world by far, but it's entertaining, and it's pretty different. It plays out just like any other teen slasher flick, but there's a twist that makes it unlike any other, which is why I like it.

Brittany Murphy stars as Jody, a high school senior in Cherry Falls, Virginia whose life is turned upside down by a brutal serial killer and some terrible family secrets. It starts off in the woods: a young couple making out in a car, about to get busy, when a mysterious figure appears and slashes them to death. They were that close to losing their virginity; but it just wasn't close enough. Several more murders follow, until the nature of the murders is revealed. See, the killer has a signature: the word "virgin" carved into the skin of her victims. That's right; we've got a virgin killer. All the adults try to keep the  news away from virgin ears, but of course, news travels fast. Once the high school kids realize that the killer only attacks virgins, they're all just dying to get it on.

They arrange a party they call the "Pop Your Cherry Ball," in which everyone gets busy in an old abandoned house. There are tons of people there, and I was actually pretty surprised that so many teenagers were still virgins. Is that not the age of raging hormones? But anyways, at the party, everyone is hooking up left and right; but that doesn't stop the killer from barging in with her trusty knife and slashing away. Fortunately, Jody and her boyfriend are way ahead of her, and are able to get people out before too many more people are killed.

So, why is this person targeting virgins? It's a story involving Jody's father. When he was in high school, he and some of his friends raped a girl named Loralee Sherman. It's a story of revenge, like a lot of these kind of movies are, but I can't say anything more without revealing the surprise ending. It had something to do with stealing their youth and innocence  before they were able to grow up to be assholes, like the ones who raped Loralee.

It did have a surprise ending. They make the viewer suspect a few people throughout the movie, but the it ends up being the one person you never suspected. It's sneaky, and more than a little bit gross and disturbing, but it worked surprisingly well. I only have one problem with the movie, and that is--how in the hell did the killer know who was a virgin and who wasn't? Maybe she had some kind of spidey sense? Oh, my virgin sense is tingling! type of thing, maybe? I'm not sure, but I don't really care all that much. I mean, it's a movie, right? I'm sure she just heard it through the grapevine or something.

Anyways...All the technical stuff was good in this one, the acting was good, blah blah--so I won't even go into that. What I really liked was that it was different. It's like a big fuck you to typical slasher movies. In most slasher movies, as everyone knows...you have sex, you die. It's one of the many rules of horror movies, and it must not--under any circumstances--be broken. Well, under almost any circumstances. It's almost always the virgin (or at least the innocent one) that survives the horror movie. But Cherry Falls is a rebel of a movie; it breaks the rules. If you want to survive in this movie, you've got to get it on.

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