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Movie review: 'Cry Wolf'

MoviesLos Angeles TimesJon Bon JoviUSCLindy BoothAnna Deavere Smith

"Cry Wolf" is a clever teen thriller with intricate plotting, deft characterizations, sharp ensemble performances and a darkly ironic twist at the end. It marks the feature debut of its co-writer and director Jeff Wadlow, winner of the first Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival competition, which enabled him to make this movie, written with his producer Beau Bauman, a fellow graduate of University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. This edgy, fast-moving film was unaccountably unavailable for preview.

Owen (Julian Morris), a new student from England, arrives at posh Westlake Prep and is immediately ensnared in a group of bored, often nasty and reckless rich kids who have formed a "liar's club." Its manipulative leader, the aptly nicknamed Dodger (Lindy Booth), is secretly a poor townie with a sleek veneer. A local girl has just been found murdered in the woods near the school. Owen foolishly proposes that the group spread online a rumor that a serial killer dubbed "The Wolf" is the girl's murderer and that he plans to strike again -- never mind that this might stir up the real culprit.

Booth handles Dodger's complexities and contradictions with cool aplomb while Morris' initially foolhardy but likable Owen increasingly suspects that nothing may be as it seems. Jon Bon Jovi is smooth as a journalism professor with an eye for younger women, and actress-playwright Anna Deavere Smith is the school's no-nonsense headmaster. Various Richmond, Va., schools stand in handsomely for the period red brick Westlake Prep campus.

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A Rogue Pictures release. Director Jeff Wadlow. Producer Beau Bauman. Executive producers David Bartis, Doug Liman. Screenplay by Wadlow & Bauman. Cinematographer Romeo Tirone. Editor Seth Lewis Gordon. Music Michael Wandmacher. Costumes Alysia Raycraft. Production designer Martina Buckley. Art director Julie Smith. Set decorator Angie Ratliff. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence, terror, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a brief drug reference.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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MoviesLos Angeles TimesJon Bon JoviUSCLindy BoothAnna Deavere Smith
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