The slasher film in both its original variants and its modern antecedents has never seemed to have ever been much more than a parade of novelty stalkings and killings, even when it comes to classics among the genre like Halloween (1978). What Jeff Wadlow and Beau Bauman contrive to do is add a clever and sharply observed plot to the mix as well. One might describe Cry Wolf as being a mix of The In Crowd (2000) with its preppie kids being slaughtered and of Gossip (2000) where students come up with the idea of fabricating a story to see how it spreads but with unexpected results, and more than a few nods to the slasher film as elaborate practical joke gag (or maybe not) that we saw in April Fools Day (1986).
Cry Wolf is arranged around a number of twists and surprises that operate on a double level where one cannot entirely be sure whether the killings we see are real or part of a prank. The film arrives at a double twist ending that holds a more than worthwhile surprise. Jeff Wardlow also does a fine job of generating suspense especially in the scenes where Julian Morris and Libby Booth hide in the dark in the library as someone comes towards them triggering the lights; or where Sandra McCoy comes out of the shower and takes a photo on her cellphone camera, only to unwittingly transmit an image of the killer coming up behind her.
Jeff Wadlow and Beau Baumans strength is also in some good casting. British newcomer Julian Morris makes a fine lead, coming across as intelligent and with a good deal of natural warm charisma. Even better is Libby Booth who has a classy and alluring presence that hovers between sympathetic and potential femme fatale dangerousness. Cast as the English teacher, Jon Bon Jovi, plays down, rather than as the handsome leads is usually cast as, and does a modestly convincing job. The film is also very prettily photographed.
Jeff Wadlow has subsequently made the martial arts film Never Back Down (2008) and then returned to genre material as the director/writer of Kick-Ass 2 (2013), followed by the non-genre True Memoirs of an International Assassin (2016) and Truth or Dare (2018), which has a similar premise to Cry Wolf of a game that turns deadly. He has also acted as a producer on the tv series Bates Motel (2013-7) and The Strain (2014-7).
(Nominee for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress (Lindy Booth) at this sites Best of 2005 Awards).