Cry_Wolf

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Starring Lindy Booth, Julian Morris, and Jon Bon Jovi. Rated 14A. For showtimes, please see page 179

Cellphones bug the hell out of me. It's bad enough that your life is continually threatened by distracted drivers jabbering away on them. Now you've got teen-oriented slasher flicks with plots revolving around today's wireless technology. "Can you kill me now?"

Cry_Wolf kicks off in traditional horror fashion, with a frantic young woman being chased through the woods at night. When it appears she's eluded her pursuer by concealing herself in the dense brush, her adversary just whips out a phone and stabs a finger at a preprogrammed number for "Becky". Two seconds later, a shrill ringtone reveals the girl's hiding place. It just goes to show that whether you're in a crowded movie theatre, on an airplane that's about to land, or being hunted by a psychopath, it's polite to turn your phone off.

Jump to Westlake Preparatory Academy, where new kid Owen (British actor Julian Morris) shows up and becomes immediately smitten with rebellious class skipper Dodger (Lindy Booth). She introduces him to her circle of typically obnoxious teenage friends, and the bored group decides to use a recent murder as a springboard for an Internet rumour about a serial killer. They come up with his look (orange ski mask and camouflage jacket), weapon of choice (hunting knife), and name (Wolf). They even come up with a motive, which is more than Cry_Wolf director Jeff Wadlow seemed to have had when he started out.

Before long, we're treated to a string of Friday the 13th-style stalk-and-slash scenes that, although generating little suspense, provide respite from interminable shots of the two leads making googly eyes at one another. Pretty-boy rocker Jon Bon Jovi gets cast against type as a chess-playing journalism instructor, but more surprising is the fact that he actually brings some substance to the role. You know you're in trouble when JBJ is the most impressive actor in the bunch. He even outshines the usually strong Gary Cole, whose role as Owen's uncaring father saddles him with a corny upper-class Brit accent.

Cry_Wolf isn't the worst teen-oriented body-count flick to come along-that dubious honour would probably go to the Vancouver-shot Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan. But it does contain all the standard slasher-flick clichés and red herrings, as well as a foreseeable twist ending. It's basically just a technology-driven, 90-minute riff on Wes Craven's Scream.