Is there anything scarier than a threatening text message? Sure: Werewolves, vampires, killer diseases, and comedies written by and starring Jenny McCarthy come immediately to mind. Strangely, that hasn't stopped horror-movie makers from trying to squeeze new scares out of new technology. Cry_Wolf is the latest to put an IM and e-mail skin on a slasher-movie body. The results aren't awful, just awfully unnecessary.
The action unfolds in an exclusive prep school where the co-eds all look well above the drinking age and wear uniforms that look like they're left over from a Playboy shoot. It's the kind of place where rumors spread quickly, and when a townie gets killed in the middle of the woods, new arrival Julian Morris, his twiggy, sharp-witted new acquaintance Lindy Booth, and their gaggle of easily dispatched friends decide to send an e-mail that casts the killing as the latest effort in the career of a serial killer known as The Wolf. It's all fun until some start disappearing, while others receive messages from someone claiming to be The Wolf himself.
Director Jeff Wadlow and his co-writer/producer Beau Bauman throw in a couple of gripping sequences, especially one set in a library sub-basement with an energy-saving lighting system, but for a film that's essentially one big logic problem, there's an unfortunate absence of logic to the way its characters behave. In one scene, Morris' roommate Jared Padalecki thinks Morris has destroyed everything in his room. In the next, instead of filing for a new roommate, he just seems mildly miffed. But is there more going on here than meets the eye? Kind of, particularly for viewers who don't care to look too hard. A little thinking, on the other hand, will straighten out most of the twists and turns. Cry_Wolf passes the time, but ultimately it's nothing to send a threatening text message home about.