Urban Legend/Urban Legends - Final Cut 2-pack
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An attractive young woman is driving her car on a dark country road and singing along to the radio. She's running out of gas and so she pulls into a gas station (run by a jittery, stuttering Brad Dourif), but then flees what seems to be an attack, only to find the real threat in her backseat: a hooded killer with an ax who takes her head off with a well-aimed swing. You've heard the story before? Not surprising, given that it's one of the more famous urban legends borrowed for Urban Legend, a post-Scream exercise in self-referential horror. The students at an ivy-covered New England college are turning up dead, the victims of a serial killer who murders in the fashion of the "apocryphal" modern myths. It's all for the benefit of good girl with a dark secret Alicia Witt, the sole witness to most of the killings. Doe-eyed Rebecca Gayheart, as her gullible best friend, and Jared Leto, the ambitious campus journalist who tracks down the secret that hangs over the school, lead a cast of pretty young women, hunky guys, and campus characters, notably the suspicious professor Robert Englund, a genre legend in his own right as the star of seven Nightmare on Elm Street films. Take away the cheeky remarks and self-awareness and it's a throwback to the 1970s' rash of teen slasher movies, where sexually active teens are sliced, diced, and otherwise slaughtered in elaborate and ingenious ways. The increasingly preposterous film is no Scream, but the modestly stylish production has its moments. --Sean Axmaker
Urban Legends: Final Cut
While Urban Legends: Final Cut is not nearly as terrifying or inventive as some of its predecessors, the film does offer up a fairly suspenseful whodunit that fans of the teen horror genre will likely appreciate. Amy Mayfield, the film's heroine (played by fresh-faced Jennifer Morrison), is the daughter of an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker trying to make a name for herself at Alpine University, "the greatest film school that ever existed." Along with several other students she is competing for the coveted Hitchcock award, which virtually guarantees the winner a successful career in Hollywood. When the film school's resident genius and likely winner of the award is found dead, suspicions arise. As other film students are killed off one by one, everyone becomes a suspect. Would someone kill to win the prestigious award? While striving to be Hitchcockian in theme (as evidenced by its multiple references to the director himself), the film never quite moves beyond cliché. Many scenes are a little too reminiscent of other popular teen horror flicks like Scream (the anonymous masked killer, though not nearly as frightening), The Blair Witch Project (Amy is chased through desolate woods by her stalker), and Friday the 13th (Amy hides from the killer in a lake setting eerily similar to the one where Jason died so many years ago). These elements seem just a little worn out. Morrison gives a serviceable performance, and Loretta Devine, from the original Urban Legend, adds humor as a Foxy Brown-worshiping security guard. The film manages to keep you guessing until its conclusion, and a sequence set in an abandoned amusement park is truly creepy. But ultimately Urban Legends: Final Cut lacks the originality to make a name for itself among the many films of its genre. --Mindy Ruehmann
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What is has going for it though, is a great base story line and two young actresses (Alicia Witt and Rebecca (ok, she's 26) Gayheart), who have spent most of their careers hanging around as accessories in TV Movies or Commercials, and now have the chance to show their stuff. And do they ever.....Gayheart in particular tears down the screen during the last 15 minutes.
If you're a fan of the genre, rent it.....you won't be disapponted.