Cherry Falls : Release Year - 2000
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Overall Rating : 7/10

Directed By :Geoffrey Wright

Brittany Murphy (Clueless)
Jay Mohr (Street Kings)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Jesse Bradford (Swimfan)

Supplied By : Shout! Factory/Scream! Factory

Film Reviewed By : Rick L. Blalock

Date Reviewed : March. 21, 2016

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PLOT
A serial killer is stalking the peaceful town of Cherry Falls. At first, it seems that he is just targeting teenagers, but after the third killing it becomes clear that all the victims have been virgins. When the town's students hear about this, they realize that there is only one way to protect themselves and begin planning a "Pop Your Cherry" party where they will all lose their virginities together. Meanwhile, Jodi (Brittany Murphy, Clueless, Sin City), the virtuous daughter of the town's sheriff (Michael Biehn, Aliens, Grindhouse), decides to take matters into her own hands and trap the killer herself.
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THE REVIEW
The film film, CHERRY FALLS, the small, sleepy town of Cherry Falls, Virginia is shaken up when a serial killer emerges to carry out a particular motive. The localsof Cherry Falls, are shocked to learn. that 2 Cherry Falls High School students have been found brutally murdered. Initially for Sheriff Brent Marken, and the Police, it seems like a random act of violence, however, when the body of another young female student turns up, a rather strange motive rears its head. It would appear that the killer is targeting the town's virgins. News of this spreads fast, and sends the teen population into an uproar, as they organize the "Pop Your Cherry Ball". Yes, a teenage orgy. Meanwhile, Brent Markem, and his deputy, try to identify the killer, whom has a woman-like appearance. What they find, is that all signs point to a well kept secret, of an event that occurred in Cherry Falls, 27 years earlier. As Markem tries to track down the elusive killer, no teen virgin is safe, including Brent Markem's own daughter, Jody.

CHERRY FALLS, released in the year 2000, is a film which dares to break Slasher film tradition. Whereas in most Slashers, we see the sexually promiscuous get the axe first,CHERRY FALLS is a film that turns it all around. Here, instead of being punished for having sex, you are punished for not doing so. The whole idea here, is that the killer is essentially killing the town's "innocence", that is represented by Cherry Falls' virginal teens. This, and the fact that the killings are somehow connected to a rape incident, occurring 27 years prior. On the surface, CHERRY FALLS presents a great idea, that is admittedly somewhat clever. But as good as its overall idea is, it still has a weird vibe to it. This film is one that I have known about for years, and even saw it once before. The first time that I saw it, I thought there was a lot weird about it. But I liked it. This time, it was really no different, I even enjoyed it a little more than last time, but again, it's kind of strange. How so? It seems as though, CHERRY FALLS isn't quite decided on what kind of film that it wants to be. Is it a straightforward Slasher? Is it a comedy? It attempts to be both, as it possesses a little of each. Since the film is centered around the idea of virgins, and sex in general, there are little innuendos regarding both subjects thrown at us. The "Pop Your Cherry Ball", and things like that. Even the film taking place in Virginia is a comedy jab - because you know, it has the word "virgin" in it(This detail reminds me of the fictitious town of Valentine Bluffs in the film, MY BLOODY VALENTINE!). These little details are meant to be funny, yet most of it comes off as only slightly humorous. So as a comedy, it barely hits the mark, although it hopes to. But with all things considered, and as a Slasher film - it's still a fun film. There is a big reveal as to who the killer is near the end. It's fun to watch the whole thing play out, as we slowly learn little by little, how the killer relates to a nearly 30 year old event. In the film, Sheriff Brent Markem's daughter, Jody overhears the talk of rape victim "Loralee Sherman", between her school's Principal, Mr. ?, and her father, and so, she decides to investigate. And what she finds is disturbing to her. Especially since it involves her father. This of course, eventually leads to a conclusion. It's a reveal that I felt comes about too abruptly. The film doesn't build up to this reveal much. It just happens. However, once there, it's enjoyable. Personally, I love the way in which the killer, near the end, slashes his way through the teen orgy as they attempt to get to Jody Markem and her boyfriend Kenny.

And speaking of slashing, the film itself took a slashing when the MPAA refused to give the film an R rating, initially. When the film was made, it had, from what I understand, much more descriptive gore, and nudity. Most of which was unfortunately trimmed, or removed completely to achieve the rating. As is, the film is still good, in terms of the gore. You just wonder how much better it could be, should all of the effects be restored. Unfortunately it seems as if that will never happen, though. Talk about this film being cut has been around for years, however, any extra footage seems to have been lost. I'm sure that, could they have, SHOUT! FACTORY would have released the film uncut, but at this point, it's not possible. The cuts werent the only thing that went wrong. After filming, and after the multiple edits, the production banner was sold off, putting it's release in limbo. Although, I never saw it there, it appears that the film debuted on the USA Network(seeing as the new owner of the production label owned the network). As for a DVD release, it was released in several countries. But as far as a Region 1 release, the film was only available as part of a double feature, along with the film, TERROR TRACT. So with this release, it marks its only standalone release, stateside.

This leads me to talk about the acting a little. I felt that although CHERRY FALLS doesn't have characters that particularly stand out, the performances were, at least enjoyable. As for these characters, Brittany Murphy, essentially leads the way, as the character, "Jody Markem, is at the center of it all. Here, Murphy is sometimes sympathetic, but always adorable, showcasing to us, how good she truly was. Carrying most of the remainder of the film's load is the always likable, Michael Biehn. Here, Biehn, is Jody's father, and he is also the town's Sheriff. He is in the middle of the controversy, as he struggles with being the law, and the father. Biehn does well at showing both sides of the character. Also worth mentioning is the performance, of otherwise, comedic Jay Mohr, who here, takes on a more serious role. In the film, Mohr is teacher, "Leonard Marliston". Marliston takes a keen interest in Jody, and appears to be normal, but Jody's boyfriend Kenny is a little suspicious of him. Despite being a comic, I felt that Mohr was actually ok as the generally well liked teacher.

Over the years, CHERRY FALLS has become a bit of a modern cult film. It definitely has its fans. I myself are one of them. Overall, I pretty much enjoyed it. It has its flaws, and is far from being solid, and in ways it's cheesy. But, with that said, it is still a lot of fun to watch.

With this release, SHOUT! FACTORY/SCREAM! FACTORY, releases CHERRY FALLS on Blu-Ray with a sparkling new HD transfer. And reason I say "sparkling", is that the film looks great here. The colors of the film are both crisp and clear, with the sound being equally so. I didn't expect it to look as good as it does, but it is indeed a pleasant surprise. As for special features that are included. There is a commentary, a "Making of" featurette, featuring Writer Ken Selden, and Producer Marshall Persinger, as well as an interview with Actress Amanda Anka("Deputy Mina"), and a round of vintage interviews with Director Geoffrey Wright, and cast members, Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, and Jay Mohr. Also included is Behind the scene footage, the film's script(accessible via BD ROM), and the film's Theatrical Trailer.

Some details about the special features are as follows :

"Lose it or Die : The Untold Story of CHERRY FALLS" (24m 30s)
In this featurrette, the film's writer, Ken Selden and Producer, Marshall Persinger, talk about ht many aspects of production of the film; from the writing, casting, directing, its many cuts as well as its post production woes.

"CHERRY FALLS Deputy : Amanda Anka" (7m 40s)
Actress, Amanda Anka talks about being cast in the film, as well as working with Geoffrey Wright, Michael Biehn, and the late Brittany Murphy.

Vintage Interviews (6m 26s)
Interview clips featuring Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, Jay Mohr, and Director, Geoffrey Wright.

Behind the Scenes Footage (4m 32s)

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GORE METER
3.5/10 There are various bloody wounds throughout, as well as other instances of blood. There is also an impalement.
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MUSICAL SCORE
5/10 The score features a lot of ominous ambiance and suspense tones.
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OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Personally, I am glad to see this film finally receive a proper release in the US - on Blu-Ray no less. While it may not be the greatest Slasher film, it is an odd one, that has just enough uniqueness about it to make it memorable. I like it for what it is, and maybe you will too. This particular release would be the perfect way to be introduced to it, if you haven't already seen it - as I said, it looks and sounds great in both respects. And if you have seen it - see it again!

Special Features include
- NEW Audio Commentary With Director Geoffrey Wright
- NEW Lose It Or Die: The Untold Story Of Cherry Falls Interviews With Writer And Co-Executive Producer Ken Selden And Producer Marshall Persinger
- NEW Cherry Falls Deputy Mina An Interview With Amanda Anka
- Vintage Interviews With Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, Jay Mohr And Director Geoffrey Wright
- Behind-The-Scenes Footage
- Original Script (BD-ROM)
- Theatrical Trailer

This film will be released on Blu-Ray on March 29, 2016

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