Urban Legends: Final Cut

Directed by John Ottman
Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Joey Lawrence, Anson Mount, Eva Mendes, Loretta Devine, Hart Bochner.
MPAA Rating: R for violence/gore, language and some sexuality.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
September 25, 2000

I did not see Urban Legend when it came out in 1998. That was before I started FilmHead.com, and I avoided films that I didn't want to see. From what I heard, I didn't miss much. Now, however, I have given up all discretion. I will see a pointless sequel to a film that I haven't seen. I will even watch it just a few hours after seeing the new cut of The Exorcist -- a slight corruption of one of my favorite horror films. This is what I go through for you, the internet community.

Urban Legends: Final Cut apparently has nothing to do with Urban Legend except for a similar gimmick. This time, the academic setting is film school, and the time has come to submit entries for the Hitchcock Award, which gets the director $15,000 and instant recognition in Hollywood. Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Ottman) gets an idea for her film from a security guard (Loretta Devine): a serial killer who bases his murders on urban legends. She proposes it to Professor Solomon (Hart Bochner), and he dubs it a bold, Hitchcockian choice.

Amy's biggest competition, Travis Stark (Matthew Davis), inexplicably gets a C- on his film, and he apparently kills himself. Amy starts working on her film, but her crewmembers keep getting killed off in a matter that is -- wouldn't you know? -- similar to urban legends. Eventually she meets Travis' secret twin brother Trevor (Davis again), who believes that his brother is killed, but doesn't want to involve the police. Instead, they pointless fret out the rest of the film trying to figure out who is killing these people while wearing a fencing mask, and why.

Hey, wait a minute. Didn't Wes Craven make this film before... twice? Yes, there are uncanny similarities to both New Nightmare and Scream 3. This film tries to go for the tone of the latter, like so many recent horror films, but can't even manage self-parody. Worse yet, it isn't even scary. Not even a little bit. The only worthwhile parts are a few funny scenes between Anthony Anderson and Michael Bacall, whose roles are insignificant to the story until they are both killed. Then it just starts to get really stupid.

This film uses the handy horror convention that corpses don't stink after decomposing for several days. That's always a good sign of desperation. The twin is a nice, cheesy touch, especially when he says he is not really the twin, but ha! -- he really is the twin! Ooh, you really had me going there.

So, what is this film trying to do? Does it want to be a comedy? Is it trying to transcend its genre with its limited wit? Oh, that's right. They're just trying to make money by rehashing a successful film, while stealing from others. It didn't exactly kill at the box office, but it did manage to edge out The Exorcist. If this is the sort of entertainment that the public would rather see today, then something is horribly wrong. Just how wrong? This film has Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette", the theme to "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", over the end credits. That's how wrong.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

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Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) -- VHS
Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) -- DVD
Urban Legends: Final Cut: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc


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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan