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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
None. The main characters are mostly entitled and arrogant. They decide to play an elaborate game to gaslight and deceive their peers, and think nothing about breaking minor rules at their selective private school.
Positive Role Models
Owen integrates himself into a disingenuous group of teens at an elite private school to gain popularity and acceptance. His peers are self-regarding and do not care about others. Owen's father is equally selfish, preferring to concentrate on his work than spend time with his son. Owen does have some positive traits though. He works hard and tries to better himself through academic study, but remains largely cynical.
The main cast is gender balanced. Supporting cast has ethnic diversity. More than one nationality among the main cast. Some LGBTQ+ representation. The characters are, on the whole, from privileged backgrounds who attend an elite boarding school.
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Violence & Scariness
Trauma as murder victim is stalked and shot off-camera. Gun shot heard but not shown. Reference to graphic violence, including disembowelment and dismemberment. Fake blood used in prank, as part of Halloween costumes. Large hunting knife brandished in school. Altercations, character threatened with a knife. Gun violence. Character shot and killed. Bloody injury but no gore.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting, kissing, petting. Reference to sex, oral sex, sexual misconduct, sexually transmitted infections. A male character exposes his chest and stomach. Character swims in a bikini. Another strips to their underwear before a shower.
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Language used includes "bitch," "retarded," "dyke," "piss," and "bastard."
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Products & Purchases
The movie takes place at an exclusive boarding school. The characters are mostly from affluent backgrounds, although Owen does take a job to support himself. Privileged "rich kids" gamble and dare each other for money. Teachers and school staff are similarly wealthy, drive expensive cars.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage drinking, not to excess. Reference to arrest for drugs possession.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cry Wolf is a horror movie with moderate violence, language, and sex references. The arrival of British student Owen (Julian Morris) to an elite U.S. boarding school coincides with Dodger (Lindy Booth) and the other students concocting a story about a campus serial killer. The movie's characters are too cynical and deceptive for the movie to carry any positive messages, although there are some moments of honesty and vulnerability between Owen and Dodger. Although central to the plot, violence is infrequent and not super graphic. There are deaths by stabbing and shooting with some blood, but it is not prolonged or gory. Sex isn't graphic, either, although it is referenced and joked about. Kissing is shown, including between a teacher and student. Language includes female characters being referred to as "bitch," and a lesbian couple being called "dykes." There is some underage drinking of beer at parties, but not to excess, while drug possession is also referenced but not shown. Set in an exclusive school, the characters are mostly affluent and enjoy the benefits of a privileged education. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
One of the glut of forgettable post-Scream slasher movies, this teen horror movie isn't so much a "whodunit?" as a "who's doing it?" Cry Wolf's interchangeable cast of students at an elite boarding school should, in theory, be bonded together as their lie about a campus serial killer turns into a reality. But the characters are all so cliched and self-regarding that it's hard to care or remember who's getting bumped off by a masked fictional murderer who's mysteriously come to life.
The central pairing of Owen (Julian Morris) and Dodger (Lindy Booth) are effectively a couple of fish out of water. But the script keeps their emotional connection in the shallow end throughout. Exposition and backstory also get hacked through along the way, leaving us none the wiser about what this cast might've done with a plot that had some originality. The closest we get to a real surprise is seeing Jon Bon Jovi giving love a bad name by playing a predatory journalism teacher, swapping his rock star denim and leather for spectacles and a sweater vest. So, despite occasionally mustering some intrigue, Cry Wolf remains a howling disappointment.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.