Reviewed by: Lori Souder
|Featuring:||Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki, Jon Bon Jovi, Ethan Cohn|
Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?
Nobody believes a liar… even when he’s telling the truth.
A young, wide-eyed British man with an emotionally and physically absent family arrives at a traditional private academy. As an outsider, he tries to make new friends and hold his own in this new environment. Sound familiar? This very sick and contorted Harry Potter-esque tale is complete with a “magical” e-mail that somehow creates a real serial killer that has each and every characteristic of the fictional “Wolf” from the e-mail.
Owen, the main character, is played by Julian Morris, a native Londoner, relatively unknown in the US. Owen’s arrival at Westlake Prep Academy seems to get off on the wrong foot, yet he makes first contact with a lithe and lively redhead, Dodger. She seems to take a liking to him, and that night he is invited to a secret meeting of the school’s social club for liars and manipulators, or otherwise known as the rich and bored kids. This clandestine meeting takes place in, of course, the deserted chapel, supposedly the spiritual heart of the school.
This circle of longtime school friends seems willing to take Owen into its heart, and he happily enters. A game where the only rules are, “avoid suspicion, lie to your friends, and eliminate your enemies” begins as a gambling diversion with money in the kitty for the last unmasked liar after all the players have deceived each other and been exposed—until the last one is left standing. This is a very nasty game where insults, accusations, and verbal cruelties are encouraged and rewarded. Turning on your friends is necessary to remain in the game for any length of time and especially to win.
It is all “good fun,” but just not exciting enough for this group. The next morning it is discovered that there has been a horrific murder of a young woman from the area and all this evil bunch can think of is how to manipulate the news of this tragedy into a bigger and more entertaining lying game for their pleasure.
In a flash of brilliance, Owen and Dodger write an e-mail making the local girl’s unknown killer into “The Wolf”—a serial murderer that has certain specific ways of killing and who moves from area to area. They “design” the killer right down to his weapons, clothing, and actions of the past. The e-mail goes out to everyone at the academy and soon, the campus is buzzing about this criminal that terrifies them all.
Predictably, someone soon starts passing himself or herself off as the killer. Instant messages (IMs) arrive regularly from “Wolf” to Owen. Owen is very, very afraid that somehow he is to blame. His room is trashed, but for some reason, only his roommate’s things are damaged, while his possessions are left alone. One of the liars of the group disappears. The plot thickens. Owen feels he is being watched. Dodger thinks she is being followed. Everyone in the group is edgy and afraid that they have somehow unleashed a monster with their “innocent” little lying game.
But all is not what it seems. This movie twists and turns and keeps you thinking backwards to what you are sure just happened, but really didn’t. As the Web site for the movie states, “nothing is real.” The plot is well planned and very suspenseful, and the ending is unexpected, yet unsatisfying. One of the worst things about the movie is that no one ever really pays for their crimes or their hurtful lies.
This movie ventures way past a PG-13 rating; it should have been an R in my opinion. There was, especially at the beginning, endless crude language and references to both heterosexual and homosexual sex, disgusting insults, and obscene words and gestures. There were some repeated shots of gruesome murders shown in an “artistic” way throughout the movie. Many of the movie’s most deplorable scenes went on at the school’s chapel. It seemed to be a major theme of the movie to desecrate that place.
There was one shot with nudity near the beginning, where one girl took off her top to prove something, but her back is to the camera. In another scene, she walks around in very skimpy pajamas that are really underwear.
On of the saddest things about the movie was that the “friends” in the liars group did not seem to have any real feelings for each other or anyone at all. In one scene, each one described joyfully in detail about another one in the group’s vicious and graphic death as they would play out “The Wolf” killer fantasy. With friends like these, who, indeed, needs enemies?
I cannot recommend this movie. Morally, it was deplorable, and the elegant twisted plot was not worth all the filthy language and graphic violence. I could not like any of the characters, they seemed to have no human feelings or compassion. If you have young teens or older teens be aware that this movie is marketed heavily toward them, but it is in no way suitable for them, nor are there any good lessons in the movie to be learned. The movie is also very short (it seemed by my watch much less than the 1 hr. 30 minutes that it is advertised to be) and is not worth the admission price.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.