Cry Wolf Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Sometimes—but not often—a script is almost too smart for its own good. Cry Wolf is one of those rare wonders. If it had dealt with university graduates it might have been more believable. But instead the story takes place in an exclusive high school and focuses on a group of unbelievably intelligent seniors who develop a lying game they play among themselves. When they get bored with the present pastime, they decide to up the ante by spreading their lies among the entire student body.
Owen Matthews (Julian Morris) is a transfer student who arrives just in time to be part of the new escapade.
A recent, unsolved murder of a teenaged girl in the woods near the campus provides the perfect basis for their plan. Working with the group’s leader, Dodger (Lindy Booth), Owen constructs a chilling email, warning the other pupils that a serial killer called The Wolf is stalking their school. Describing the executioner in vivid detail, the message outlines the assassin’s next move and lists his intended victims. When the fabricated memo arrives in the students’ inboxes, panic begins to grip Westlake Preparatory Academy.
Suspecting the ruse, Rich Walker (Jon Bon Jovi), the journalism teacher, calls Owen into his office to question him. Feigning innocence, the cornered scholar claims he only forwarded the text. But an unspoken understanding between the two lets the young man know he has been caught in a trap of his own making.
However, Owen is spooked when he begins to receive ominous instant messages on his laptop. And when the fictitious slayings begin to unfold for real in the poorly lit halls of the prestigious private school, the practical joke loses all its fun.
Along with gruesome depictions of blood-splattered bodies, oozing gunshot wounds and gnawed fingers, the movie’s content concerns include a masked executioner who employs handguns and knives to carry out his deadly deeds. Much of the script’s early dialogue deals with the discussion of illicit sexual encounters between teens, the loss of virginity and body mutilation. A lesbian couple is portrayed during a school function and another girl bares herself to a group of kids (only shadowed back nudity is seen). In addition, the teenagers are shown drinking and gambling among the pews of a church.
What the script does well is portray the ease with which the conspirators spread their lies by using email, text messaging and other technology. With only a click of a mouse, the disturbing message is forwarded to hundreds of people outside of class, including the family of the first victim who was tracked down by the killer using the sound of her ringing cell phone.
After lying to the principal and staff, the students do discover the adults in their school are hesitant to believe them when their cries for help turn sincere. Yet, even after the hoax results in death, the culprits still avoid any serious consequences for the outcome. Walking away with little more than a slap on the wrist, these jokesters (and young teen viewers) may well believe there is no real harm in practical jokes or crying wolf.
Starring Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jon Bon Jovi. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release September 15, 2005. Updated April 15, 2009
Rating & Content Info
Why is Cry Wolf rated PG-13? Cry Wolf is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence, terror, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a brief drug reference
Page last updated April 15, 2009
More parents' guide for Cry Wolf after the break...
Cry Wolf Parents' Guide
What are the results of the students’ practical joke? Can a hoax be taken too far? Is it difficult to trust someone who is a known prankster?
How do these teens use technology to spread their rumors? How do you determine the validity of email messages you receive? Why is it easy for someone to deceive others over the Internet?
The most recent home video release of Cry Wolf movie is December 19, 2005. Here are some details…
DVD Release Date: 20 December 2005
Universal Studios presents this chilling tale in either the rated theatrical release, or an unrated version—all the better to see you with, my dear! Both offer the following bonus features: Manual Labor (a short film that helped the filmmakers win the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival), Wolves, Sheep and Shepherds (how the roles were cast) and commentary by the filmmakers. The unrated disc provides additional content, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes action like The Tower of Babble (the award-winning short film that led the filmmakers to Cry Wolf), deleted and alternate scenes and a tour with actor Julian Morris. Audio tracks are available in English and French (both in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), with subtitles in French and Spanish—all the better to hear you with, my dear!