The murderous fisherman with a hook is back to once again stalk the two surviving teens, Julie and Ray, who left him for dead, as well as cause even more murder and mayhem, this time at a posh island resort.
Jennifer Love Hewitt,
Freddie Prinze Jr.,
Urban Legend tells the story of a group of pretty college students at a remote New England university. The focus of the story is Natalie, a beautiful, academically-gifted student at the fictional Pendleton University. Natalie and her friends are all involved in the Folklore class being taught by Professor Wexler. Wexler regales his class with urban legends, which include Pendleton's own urban legend about a Psych professor who murdered six students at Stanley Hall 25 years ago. Natalie is the first one to suspect there's a killer on campus, especially after she has ties to all of the victims. No one, including her friends, Wexler, Dean Adams and security guard, of course, believes her until it's too late. Now she finds that she and her friends are part of the killer's ultimate urban legend. Written by
K. Wilson [edited for spoilers]
The days of low-budget slasher films appear to be back with Urban Legend, a mildly entertaining but mostly lame variation on Scream with an attractive cast of young TV stars.
The plot centers on a series of campus murders in the mold of urban legends, most of which will be familiar even to the younger audience this is pandering to. What little suspense there is comes from the anticipation of these scenes, since the surrounding story is almost as ridiculous as the film itself.
If the screenwriters had concentrated less on incorporating the whodunit aspect into the plot and more on the legends themselves, they might have had something here. Experienced viewers will spot the killer's identity (and motive) early on, and those that don't will be fooled only because the conclusion is so completely ludicrous, not to mention mostly impossible.
Of course, most of this would be easily overlooked if Urban Legend was scary, but time and again, director Jamie Banks telegraphs the surprises far ahead, and doesn't know how to time the shocks. Over and over we get the sudden burst of loud music followed by a character running into another character, but it doesn't work. And that gets annoying after the third or fourth try. Occasionally Banks does get something eerie going, but the style is more suited to an action flick.
Of the cast, most of the actors more or less get by despite a less-than-clever script, though it's disheartening to see a talented young actor like Jared Leto wasting his time with a nothing role as the reporter. Horror favorites Robert Englund and Brad Douriff pop up in cameos, adding a nice touch to their brief scenes.
What we're left with is an intriguing idea undone by cliche after cliche. The legends are potent enough to hold your attention to the end, and horror fans will find a few gruesome goodies to amuse themselves. And even though the script needs to be about three times again as clever as it is, there is a great in-joke at the end about one of the actresses and a commercial.
That clever scene might have been the first scene of a clever movie. It's the last scene of this one.
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