A serial killer is stalking virgins in a small town. As panicked teens hold orgies in order to lose their virginity and cease to be targets, the virginal daughter of the town sheriff (Murphy) launches her own investigation into the killer's identity.
At one point during Cherry Falls, a nubile teen screams, "It's a hymen holocaust!", shortly before bolting off to sacrifice her own. Genius. As a concept, that is. As a film, this is so-so, a watchable hark back to the slew of early '80s slasher fare that flowed after John Carpenter laid down the template with Halloween (1978).
Dark woods, heavy petting in the back of station wagons, and misty revelations of past atrocities are all doled out, as our, 'I'm not ready yet' heroine and her, 'but I do love you' boyfriend battle her over-protective father (Biehn), and a killer who just may be someone close to home. But if the whodunnit answer is glaringly obvious, the whydoit machinations do hold quirky appeal -culminating in at least one formula-defying dispatch to the great unknown and an array of hilarious flashback haircuts.
Murphy, likewise, is a plus, blossoming from the dumpy suicidal patient in last year's Girl, Interrupted into a ticking sex-bomb with some style. Mohr -still best known for firing Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire (1996) - is as fun as ever, and Biehn hogs the standout scene (a town meeting disintegrates into a fracas as the parents argue over their kids' virginal integrity) with fantastically bad, tongue-in-cheek gravitas.
However, the killer's modus operandi (admittedly a masterstroke in combining the genre necessities of bloodshed and nudity) simply doesn't hold together, with plot twists rendering it inevitable - indeed, essential - that certain victims just ain't virgins. Mainly, though, the disappointment is in an ultimately anaemic feel, that comes as a shock considering Wright's Romper Stomper track record and, sadly, never really delivers the flesh (in both senses) that it promises.
An intriguing premise is squandered through uneven tone and a lazy last reel