Home » OldThings » C&McomFilmReviews » Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)For most undergraduates the final thesis is something to fear and approach with some apprehension, and in film school this is no different. One lecturer digs genre flicks, one documentaries and another enjoys the down and dirty road of the Super 8mm film. Adding to the tension is not only the prospect of a “will-I-pass-will-I-fail” concern but also the vexed question of a career post-college. That’s where the Hitchcock Award comes in – it may be a relatively frills-free sum of $15,000 to the winner but the prestige alone is worth a one way ticket to Hollywood, fame and fortune. Students would die for it. Unfortunately that is exactly what appears to be happening as the faculty members, be they B-movie porno-scream-queens or rotund prosthetic make-up geeks are all exiting, stage left, to that big green room in the sky where the only applause is the clapping of wings. Amy is one filmmaker of the bunch; a twitchy girl who decides to ditch the family tradition of cinema verité and head for the big buck world of the teen slasher courtesy of an Urban Legend idea helpfully supplied by the new campus security guard Rees, a protective officer with a Pam Grier fixation. But when her wunderkind friend director Travis bites the bullet following a disappointing C-minus for his (frankly lame looking) Twilight Zone: The Movie rip-off, her new Eastern European DP becomes as snuffed as Communism and everyone she knows disappears in a slash of blood she begins to suspect she’s next on the list…

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)Comment

Of all the successful “homage’s” to Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s Scream films (themselves increasingly self-self-post-someone-modern referential) Urban Legend was the most by-the-numbers in its execution, passable hokum but little more. Following its lukewarm scares, the diminishing returns of the Scream trilogy (1,2 & 3 )and the atrocious spoof Scary Movie it comes as some surprise to see that someone bothered to green-light a sequel. But wait a tick, rather like I Know What You, Your Brother and Pet Dog Did Last Summer , the return to Urban Legend s territory proves far more satisfying this time around. Before you get too excited this is still deeply flawed and hardly likely to give anyone a troubled night in the run up to the Oscars, but it is at least engaging and, for every scare that falls a bit damp, there’s at least one that hits the mark. Anyone with even a basic grasp of the filmmaking industry will wince at the filming practises – we are in Roger Rabbit territory here where the final shot of an entire scene, if not perfect, necessitates the re-shoot of everything preceding it, presumably they have some magic virtual camera that edits and cuts as it rolls. Whatever, you’re here for the scares and the murders, the red herrings and the “I’d have got away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids” stuff and for that the film is fine. We are in American gaillo land here, where everyone has a grudge and even the corpses could have done it. This is part of the game, who’s next and when will their body come back in a surprise larder of death? The murders themselves are competently handled, normally preceded by Carpenter style shadows behind the characters or big shapes appearing blurred in the foreground for a little pre-splatter jolt. The deaths are fairly standard for the genre with the exception of the first that is particularly gross in its execution and exceptionally nasty for a 15-rated film. This one in particular seems to have derived from Argento’s Suspiria and Deep Red in execution, intent and denouement with the character in question suffering an extended and bloody fate. After this, Maniac-style the viscera tones down a touch, you don’t need to see more as this opening murder makes you anticipate worse things to come. Director Ottman keeps things lively and on their toes and does a good job to disguise what is apparently a very low budget – the credits are among the shortest for a Hollywood film this year and a real endorsement of one of the character’s assertion that “CGI sucks, prosthetics rule”. Ottman even manages time to edit, write the music and conduct the Munich Philharmonic! If you are not interested in the slasher genre this is never going to win you over, it is formulaic and occasionally dives into cringeworthy dialogue but there are far, far worse ways to spend your time.