My History With the Film:
I barely remember the VHS cover box for Cherry Falls. The cover was not all that memorable and didn’t scream out to me that this was a slasher film. It wasn’t until the mid 2010’s than I realized it was a slasher and it became one of my most anticipated slasher movies to watch.
A town is plagued by a series of killings that involve virgins.
Things I Liked About It:
-The cast is the who’s who of under the radar in the late 90’s/early 2000’s: Jay Mohr, Brittany Murphy, Jesse Bradford, Gabriel Mann, and Michael Weston.
-This movie was clearly filmed to be rated R and it’s story shows. There is one very reaching moment but for the most part the story is grounded and shocking. I loved the two twists and I didn’t anticipate either. I actually had the killer pegged wrong the whole time and I loved the guessing game.
-The gore is good and the kills are fantastic. There is nothing over the top memorable, but every kills feels real and like a lot of thought and effort was put into it.
-The final scene is a epic spectacle that was a lot of fun to watch.
Things I Didn’t Like About It:
-The music was quite low budget at times and I feel like it dragged the movie down because of it.
-I am a huge fan of Brittny Murphy and I had super high hopes that should knock it out of the park in this film. She does a decent job and there are some great moments (the bedroom scene with Kenny for example) where she starts to shine, but she wasn’t a very memorable final girl.
-The cuts to get the rating down the TV-MA are jarring at times, especially towards the end. The film was originally rated NC-17 and had to be cut to R to be released. I presume it was cut again for television release.
-Cherry Falls was slated to be a theatrically released film, but following the backlash of violent films following Columbine, new movie studio USA Films decided to edit the film and release it as a TV film. It was the most expensive TV movie with a $14 million dollar budget.
-Writer Ken Shelden wrote the film as a satire with plenty of comedic moments. However, the director Geoffrey Wright viewed the film as a more serious horror movie and made many changes to the script which caused some major backlash between the writer and the director.
-Director Geoffrey Wright also clashed with the director of photography Anthony Richmond who walked off the set for two days after a dispute over the amount of blood used in a scene. He also irritated Jay Mohr by requesting a flexible schedule from the actors.
-One of the few horror films where the credits run backwards.
Cherry Falls is one of the late 90’s slashers I’ve most looked forward to watching. With that being said, I’ve had it built up in my head for several years now and it still managed to exceed all expectations. The movie is clever, fun, and arguably a bit ahead of its time. There are great twists, excellent kills, and a fantastic killer. The movie does feel low budget in several areas including music, acting performances, and some of the gore. The gore is just very hit and miss because of the editing process.
Still, I enjoyed the heck out of Cherry Falls and its the first movie in quite sometime that made me feel like it was worthy of any hype. It’s not going to be for everyone, but fans of slashers, especially late 90’s slashers will definitely enjoy this flick. I rate Cherry Falls a four out of five and say buy it!