Cherry Falls (2000)

Apologies for the long break from posting in the past few months, kids,  due to ill health, it has not been possible; but fortunately, my health bar is being gradually restored and normal service can be resumed

Now the term ‘’incel’’ is a delightful addition to the modern lexicon, and we hear it bandied about quite a bit in the current media, but what does it mean? You ask.

Incel is an abbreviation of the term ‘’involuntary celibate’’ and is defined by a group of men denied sex and relationships by women who have the audacity to choose not to consider them as sexual partners. Men who identify as such  often use extremely misogynistic language, encouraging rape and sexual violence as a way of taking from women what they feel they are owed. Racism is another characteristic of the incel, and they have sometimes been described as a branch of the white supremacist community. They consider feminism and the women’s rights movement in general to be the main enemy of their sexual frustration, and often rage about how their governments should be providing them with prostitutes as a right.

Now, you could write off the incel community as creepy, pathetic wannabe rapists who just need to be ignored or ridiculed, but they should not be underestimated.  Mass shootings, and a rise of violence against women have both been attributed to the movement over recent years, notably, Elliot Rodger’s gun rampage on University of California, Santa Barbara, campus, where he left a 137 page manifesto, and numerous YouTube videos, blaming women and their rejection of him for his violent actions; also Alek Minassian, a van driver who mowed down 24 people, killing 10, in Ontario, Canada, announcing on Facebook beforehand that the ‘’Incel rebellion had begun’’.

Murderers like this are lauded by their online communities, where they refer to  pretty girls who reject them and the handsome men these women choose to have relationships as ‘’Chads and Stacys’’, ‘’Beckys’’ are the women they consider less attractive but yet still (mysteriously) do not consider them for sexual partners, and wax lyrical about a ‘’Beta Uprising’’ which will be the violent response to their perceived treatment by society.

Make no mistake, Incels are not to dismissed as men with poor social skills whining about the fact they can’t get laid. They are extremists, and dangerous extremists at that. The white, male, misogynist is a bigger terrorist threat in the West than any other extremist group, and internet communities and subreddits, allow them to embolden or incite each other and celebrate their violent fantasies, which paves the way to implement them in the real world, and pose a very real threat to any women in their lives.

The slasher film is a perfect allegory for the incel, the relentless, often violent pursuit of women, usually using a large phallic object like a knife or machete and based on a deep seated hatred for everything they represent.

Cherry Falls is about a serial killer that stalks the virgins of a small town, forcing the teenagers at the local high school to organise a mass orgy in order to take themselves off the killer’s hit list.

A teen slasher that followed in the footsteps of the overwhelming success of Scream, Urban Legend, and I Know What You Did Last Summer;  it has that glossy, tongue in cheek, chewing gum horror feel that is both terrible and fun.

From the puntastic title, to the silly, salacious humour of the whole NO SEX=DEATH story line, it feels a bit Benny Hill at times, and without the always wonderful Brittany Murphy, I don’t think it would have been half as watchable. There has always been the horror cliché that ‘’sluts get cut’’, and the more promiscuous a character is, then the more horrific their death will be; but I enjoyed the idea of the subversion of the trope, despite not being perfectly executed.

While not being the greatest example of the late nineties/early noughties horror revival, it has a certain camp charm, that makes an entertaining watch if you don’t take it too seriously, but coming from Geoffrey Wright, who directed the excellent Romper Stomper, I would have expected a certain intensity and a more brutal payoff. The twist ending however, is a great one, and something that is reminiscent of those eighties greats like Prom Night or Sleepaway Camp, which in my mind is definitely a tick in the ‘watch it’ box.

However, Cherry Falls is one that fails in a lot of ways, from the stagnant acting to the killings mostly taking place off screen, but if you’re willing to forgive a plot that flogs a dead horse for way too long and doesn’t quite hit the gore spot; it is worth a one-time watch, if only for Murphy’s captivating screen presence.

My verdict is that it is a great idea for a teen horror that just doesn’t quite work on delivery. Rather than being slick, it ends up being cheesy and a little stale.

This entry was posted in 00's horror, critique, fiction, film and media, horror, mental illness, murder, Noughties horror, opinion, pop culture, psychotic killer, rape, rape and revenge, Slasher, thriller, Twist ending. Bookmark the permalink.

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