The only smart thing about Urban Legend, a highly derivative slasher is its opening scene. After all, it has Brad Dourif and it showcases that sleek nineties cinematography. However, what’s about to follow is a series of contrived and at times even ridiculous plot twists and characters. You can see what they were going with this one. Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer were highly successful movies that came out just a couple of years prior to this one. The formula seemed simple enough. Just get a couple of hot young actors and a story full of mystery that’s going to force you to keep guessing who the killer is.
On top of this, Urban Legend decides to spice things up with, well, urban legends. This is one of the few things that work in this movie along with cool visuals. It also has a certain nostalgic note to it, especially for those who lived through the nineties. The same goes for the characters, some of which are downright obnoxious. Still, the dialogue isn’t too bad as it is very entertaining and over-the-top. Especially all the sexual advice that Tara Reid is giving out. And the whole gang is hanging out in their version of Central Perk.
Our young cast is led by Jared Leto giving a pretty bland performance. It says something when Joshua Jackson and Tara Reid were more convincing. At least he’s nice to look at. We also shouldn’t forget Mr. Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund giving another one of his trademark performances. However, all of this is crushed under the weight of preposterous twists and decisions in the final third of the movie. You will constantly be saying, how could he know that or why did she go there. It all becomes pretty tedious but if you’re looking for a nice and shiny movie to trash, this is a perfect choice.
Pendleton University used to be a quiet and very safe place. Or at least someone wants you to think that. You see, there’s a rumor going around that there was this huge massacre that was covered up decades ago. However, students are going to start disappearing for real now. And while the dean of the university dismisses these disappearances as young people being dumb, Natalie Simon thinks that there’s a serial killer on the loose. And soon, she will find out she was right.
It’s surprising to think that Urban Legend spawned two sequels that were in some respects better than the original. Additionally, there’s a reboot in the works, as it always is with these movies. Scream reboot wasn’t half-bad so they figure they can milk some more money from this cash cow. I say that because the movie was made on a $14 million budget and it managed to pull a whopping $72.5 million at the box offices around the world. It goes without saying that there’s almost no graphic violence or nudity.
Out of all the craziness that this movie put forth, I think that the most absurd one is the one about the campus cop. So, nobody calls the police, nobody calls the FBI, they just leave it all up to one hell of campus cop. Played by Loretta Devine, she’s probably the best character in the movie and I also loved all the Coffy references. However, on a personal note, I did love the “gothic chick”. Finally, I just want to add that people seem to be divided right down the middle with this one.
Some found it really entertaining, mostly because of the who-done-it aspect. And some found it to be the worst movie they’ve ever seen. You really don’t have to make up your mind in order to either enjoy it or skip it. As with almost every movie ever made, there’s always something that makes it special. And I have to admit I did have fun trashing this one and pointing all the silly dialogue and plot holes. So, the decision is all yours and remember not to flash anyone with their headlights off.
Director: Jamie Blanks
Writer: Silvio Horta
Cast: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, Robert Englund
Fun Facts: Sarah Michelle Gellar, who was in a very similar movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer was set to star in this one as well. She ultimately backed out because she was shooting Buffy at the same time.