Blu-ray Review: Cherry Falls

In the teen slasher drama, the killer often goes after the characters who refuse to , they remain pure. Pretty much a minute after a young couple has their first exploration of carnality, the knife wielding maniac arrives to add them to his victim count. Remaining a virgin becomes a survival skill. This element somehow pleases conservatives looking for proof that abstinence matters. But what if the reverse was true? What would happen if a killer was running around a high school targeting the virgins? Would good girls no wait until marriage if they knew their life depended on it? Cherry Falls brought up that scenario in 2000.

Jody Marken (Brittany Murphy) is a nice girl in a small Virginia city. She’s somewhat popular in school although not too popular because she’s a bit geeky and her dad is the local sheriff (Terminator‘s Michael Biehn). She does her best to stay a virgin even though her boyfriend (Gabriel Mann) wants to go beyond second base. Her school in a bit of a shock as two classmates have been brutally murdered while making out in a car down by the river. Another classmate is killed shortly thereafter. The one thing the three suspects have in common is they were virgins. Who could have done this? The rumored suspect is Loralee Sherman. She had vanished from the town a long time ago after nobody believed she had been sexually assaulted. Was she really back to get a bit of revenge? All the high schoolers know is that the best way to avoid being sliced up is to get laid. They hold a giant orgy, but Jody doesn’t want to lose her virginity because a killer made her.

Cherry Falls originally debuted on USA network, but it wasn’t made for the channel that gives us around the clock Law and Order reruns. This is a movie that deserves more attention than most forgettable straight to cable flicks. Brittany Murphy is perfectly cast as high schooler stuck in perverse Nancy Drew world. Jay Mohr comes off well as the semi-hip teacher who doesn’t mind rapping with the kids. The film is able to bring a comic element to the teen slasher genre without compromising the extreme imagery. They do a fine job hiding the true face of the killer from us so the disclosure works. This is an R-rated that earns it. The Blu-ray with the bonus features allows Cherry Falls a chance to be rediscovered by casual fans of the genre.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the darkness in the high school after dark. The audio is 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio that brings out the creepy nature of hallways after the final bell has rung. The movie is subtitled.

Audio Commentary with Geoffrey Wright was made recently. Wright reflects on the positive and frustrating experiences. He wasn’t happy with it ending up going straight to video. He speaks of his time with Brittany Murphy. He points out a license plate references his unfortunate time as the original director on Supernova (also part of Scream Factory’s releases).

Lose It Or Die: The Untold Story of Cherry Falls (24:30) relates on how the film turned the teen slasher genre around by having the virgins get targeted instead of the bad kids. The film went really over budget and production time. A lot of elements from the script were left unshot. Writer Ken Selden sold it to October films for their Rogue Pictures releasing arm. The movie ended up running theatrically around the world, but aired originally on USA network.

Cherry Falls Deputy: Amanda Anka (7:40) lets us know that the cast wanted to work with Geoffrey Wright.

Vintage Interviews include Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, Jay Mohr and Director Geoffrey Wright (6:26) is them hoping it’ll be a teen slasher hit.

Behind the Scenes Footage (4:32) captures footage from hallway action and Jay Mohr goofing with the crew.

Original Script is a BD-ROM element.

Theatrical Trailer (1:47) takes us back to the time of USA Films. Loralee Sherman is back in town.

Scream Factory presents Cherry Falls. Directed by: Geoffrey Wright. Screenplay by: Ken Selden. Starring: Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, Jay Mohr and Candy Clark. Rated: R. Running Time: 91 minutes. Released: March 22, 2016.

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