Film: Cry_Wolf

Cry_Wolf is a PG-13–rated horror film from 2005.

It involves a bunch of teenagers at a secluded boarding school who, after hearing rumors about a local murder, decide to play a mass prank of sorts, using common Slasher Film tropes to invent a serial killer and spread fear throughout the campus. It turns out the joke's on them, as they begin to receive threatening messages from someone claiming to be the serial killer they invented.

The film contains a top-drawer performance from Lindy Booth as a sexpot schoolgirl. The movie also features Julian Morris, Jon Bon Jovi, Gary Cole and Jared Padalecki.

For the trope, see Crying Wolf.

Contains examples of:

  • Animal Motifs: Wolves and sheep of course. The serial killer is named 'The Wolf', the lying game separates people into 'sheep' and 'wolves', the weapon of choice is a hunting knife, Dodger dresses up as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween and her screen name has 'Bo Peep' in it.
  • Arc Words: "They're the sheep. And we're the wolves."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Dodger gets everything she wants, exactly as she planned it.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Owen pulls this on Mr. Walker, and the patsies are the administration.
    • Dodger's whole plan is a giant Batman Gambit. So giant that it's actually a Gambit Roulette.
  • Boarding School
  • Brick Joke: The scene where the group discusses previous "victims" includes a comment about the murderer hiding in the back seat of a car, which is instantly dismissed as cliché. When Owen starts up Tom's car, Mercedes is in the back seat. Bonus points for Owen's attempt to subvert another trope in character while doing so.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: OK, technically it's not a Roman Catholic school, but Dodger walks squarely into this trope.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A couple of times we see the school janitor glaring at Owen. It turns out he's Dodger's father. Though he has no role in the plot.
  • Chekhov's Hobby:
    • It's mentioned that Regina has a flair for making fake blood.
    • Lewis is described as an aspiring actor.
  • The Chessmaster: Owen makes a hobby of it. He's an amateur compared to Dodger.
  • Crying Wolf: The film carries the tagline "You lie, you die."
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: Suggested by Mercedes when creating the killer. She's shot down for it being too cliche. She exploits this later when pranking Owen.
  • Death By Genre Savvy: In a way. One of the characters uses the other characters' knowledge of Horror Tropes to cause another character to kill a man she wants revenge on, making this murder by genre savvy by proxy.
  • Evil Redhead: Dodger
  • False Rape Accusation: Lampshaded by Owen - if Mr. Walker gets accused of it, he will be fired, no matter if there's any evidence at all or not.
  • Faking the Dead: Dodger pretends to drown in the pool to mess with Owen and Tom.
  • Fille Fatale: Dodger who is in a relationship with her teacher. What's more is that it's implied that she seduced him.
  • Five-Token Band: We have a Brit (Owen), a white girl (Dodger), a black guy (Lewis), an Asian girl (Regina), a Latina girl (Mercedes) and two more white dudes in Tom and Randall.
  • Foreshadowing: During the "Wolf creation" scene Randhall basically tells almost everything we need to know about Owen's fate in the film.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: This is the case with Owen and Dodger.
  • Homage: The scene where Dodger pretends to drown in the pool is a clear homage to Friday the 13th (1980).
  • Horror Doesnt Settle For A Simple Tuesday: Knowingly invoked, as the fictional 'Wolf' is supposed to strike on Halloween night.
  • Hot for Student: Dodger and Mr. Walker.
  • Gambit Roulette: Dodger's plan would have fallen apart instantly had any number of perfectly likely things happened.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog
  • Karma Houdini: Dodger arranges this all so that she can be this for her part in Becky's murder.
  • Meaningful Name: Dodger. As in she dodges karma.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Contrary to what the marketing would have us believe, Cry_Wolf is not a slasher movie (though it does intentionally employ many tropes of the genre), and its lack of graphic violence is justified. Most of the footage in the trailer is not in the movie at all and is in fact contradictory to the movie.
  • Product Placement: AOL, Chrysler and Apple. Justified, in the case of Chrysler, as the film was financed as part of contest. The story can be found on the DVD extras.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Dodger has a sexy Red Riding Hood costume for Halloween.
  • Shout-Out: Dodger's ICQ nick is revealed to be Bo Peep 05 - an obvious reference to nursery rhyme Little Bo Peep who "has lost her sheep". Which alludes to the "Wolf and Sheep" game they played. Or to her being A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: The movie opens with a blonde getting murdered.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Since their idea of fun is to spread a rumour that a serial killer could be on the loose, only a couple of weeks after a local girl is murdered. The story gets emailed to the girl's mother. Additionally at the Halloween dance, a few people are dressed up as the Wolf in question.
  • They Really Do Love Each Other: Owen's father spends most of the movie putting his son on voicemail and dodging his calls. After Owen kills Mr Walker the father flies all the way to the police station, hugs his son sincerely and comforts him.
  • Token Minority Couple: The Beta Couple to the white Owen and Dodger are black Lewis and Latina Mercedes.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Seriously, Mr.Walker. Trying to attack an extremely unsettled gun-armed kid certainly wasn't the wisest decision. Even more so given that Owen was seemingly very reluctant to shoot, and a calm conversation could have helped.
  • Twist Ending: Combined with a repeated Genre Shift. Half an hour before the ending, the film is a somewhat melodramatic thriller. Twenty minutes before the movie ends, it's your typical teen slasher movie. Ten minutes, it's April Fools' Day Gone Horribly Right. At the very end, it turns out to be a film noir.
  • Unreliable Voiceover
  • Unwitting Pawn: Owen.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Happens quite often to Owen, who is both genuinely likable and highly amoral. He could be a Magnificent Bastard, but, as Dodger tells him, he's "too nice."
  • With Friends Like These...: All over the place. Despite being a group of friends, they seem to play tricks on each other often. This is lampshaded by Dodger after they plan their story, saying this is only possible after being together four years.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: It's only at the very end that it becomes clear this isn't a slasher film. It's a film noir.
  • Yandere: Dodger is this for Mr Walker.