Urban Legend

1998

Action / Horror / Mystery / Thriller

Synopsis


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June 01, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Director

Cast

Jared Leto as Paul Gardener
Alicia Witt as Natalie Simon
Tara Reid as Sasha Thomas
Joshua Jackson as Damon Brooks
720p
757.83 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 39 min
P/S 8 / 23

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by SherryandGiggles 10 / 10

i loooovvve this movie!!

omg, this movie is one of my faves... a lot of people think it is just another slasher flick, but i think the plot is really intriguing and keeps you guessing until the end. i had no idea who the killer was, and once i found out, i was totally surprised! although it is a bit scary at times, "urban legend" can also be humorous. i love the soundtrack too, and the cast is awesome. Alicia Witt was excellent as the heroine of the story, and Rebbecca gayheart gave a stunning performance as the psycho killer Brenda. she really knows how to act CRAZY (even if her motives are a little odd)!! and Jared leto is hot (i just had to add that). so if you love murder, humor, romance, and legends, "urban legend" is the movie for you. trust me, i've seen it about 500 times to date (and i first watched it last summer!).

and FYI, it's on abc family for the "13 nights of Halloween" thing next month! i'll be watching it... will you??

Reviewed by timefreezer7 8 / 10

If you liked the Scream and Last Summer movies make sure you don't miss this atmospheric thriller

A local college is being terrorized by brutal murders. The mysterious killer targets a certain group of friends who initially do not realize, or even ignore, the upcoming danger and fall prey to his clutches. They leave their rooms unlocked or go alone in the forest at night. The killer's main victim seems to be Natalie (Alicia Witt) a very typical gal, at least on the surface. The killer stalks her and harasses her continuously and Natalie not only tries to convince everyone about the danger in vain, but has to deal with melanic issues from her past. People soon start dropping like flies and Natalie and her friends are helpless before they all meet their fate. Many years before the incidents the college was rumored to have been plagued by an insane professor who flipped and invaded the students' dormitory killing many fraternity members at one single night. One of the few survivors is proven to be a sociopath weird janitor who is not willing to share his traumatic memories in order to help solving the mystery of this new killing spree. The murderer is much more than a freaked loser copycat who simply wants to rekindle the horror on the 25th anniversary of the alleged massacre, but has an obscure agenda.

Maybe all these plot elements sound stereotyped and nothing special. The premise of a horror movie localized in a college is as old as it gets and has been done to death (no pun intended). Nevertheless there is a special originality in this film. The killer's modus operandi follows a unique pattern of an urban legend methodology. You probably all know what an urban legend is. Folklore stories which are always laying on the verge of reality and myth. Usually they are scary crimes and everyone seems to know or have heard or have read a similar crime although no one seems to have actually enlisted specific names. Stories like these are usually typical frightening tales. One example is the poisoned candy children are frequently treated on Halloween by insane people. Another example is the seemingly normal father who mysteriously brutally slaughtered his entire family over one night, preferably by axe, and disappeared never to be heard of again. The screenwriter plays cleverly with all the cliches and the fears of the dark. The urban legends provide fertile ground for some genuinely original and shocking death scenes.

Urban Legend, despite an intriguing premise, cannot hide its origin. It is a typical 90's horror film mixed with a whodunit subplot, recognizable TV faces and plenty of gore. The film succeeds in being a memorable and above average effort but if you are set to watch it you are bound to find all the stupid overused themes a teeny bopper provides (without nudity though: that is the determinant between 80's and 90's). There are plot holes the size of a volcano crater. For example the police officers are so dim witted that they regard a clearly obvious strangulation which would probably have left distinct bruises on the victim's neck as a suicide. Moreover why, oh why don't they send officers during the climactic tragic events after all those murders. I can accept the fact that the phone lines were dead but couldn't someone just go and ask for help? When they do arrive it is far too late. The cast was also over-crowded and it was obvious that the protagonists were nothing more than screen fillers. It is too bad since their acting skills, which seemed promising, were withheld. For example Jared Leto and Michael Rosenbaum are Paul and Parker respectively. Although the film starts off interestingly with equal screen time, Natalie soon wins the absolute focus and their roles are so small that they end up being extras. Things are even worse for Brenda (Rebecca Gayheart) and Sasha (Tara Reid) who also had shrunken roles and are wandering pretty faces waiting in line to be sliced and diced. Although the suspects are many, the final revelation of the killer is weak, the motives even weaker and of course we have the inevitable cat-lived nature of the killer-who-refuses-to-die escorted by the predictable cliffhanger epilogue with the "TO BE SEQUELED" sign.

An extra detrimental element is the presence of Alicia Witt in an especially important role. Her acting is not awful but it is definitely misguided and fails. Witt is way too calm to convince as a realistic character. After a certain point it is clear that her psychopath stalker has not only killed her friends, but is after her, and she doesn't even show a trace of panic. She DOES try of course to warn the bonehead authorities and she does a little research on the urban legends. The bad thing is that even in the gruesome finale she doesn't seem to fear the maniac even a little bit and even worse she is not the willing-to-fight heroine that Sidney Prescott in Scream was. Now I don't want to be misunderstood, I wasn't looking for Jamie Lee Curtis's overblown vocal pipes but she could have more human reactions, especially after the deaths of her friends. It's as though Natalie had read the victim list and knew that she had a contractual commitment to survive until the end. The only one of the main characters with some substance is Joshua Jackson as Damon. This guy is a derivative from other horror films and strikes as a cardboard cutout: a prankster who teases his friends and is slightly horny. At least Damon has a certain and sensible persona and Jackson is adequate. The funniest aspect of the film is that the cameos are far more successful and memorable than the leads!! Danielle Harris in a short role is the quite trendy Gothic young diva who is the incarnation of the Lust sin, the aged John Neville is the strict and by the rules Dean of the University and Brad Dourif gives an excellent performance in a role which I won't reveal. The best of them is Robert Englund as the clever and a bit creepy Professor who teaches folklore and introduces his students to the urban legends. Professor Wexler seems to be the chief suspect for this horrific situation and although there are sporadic hints throughout the film which point to other directions, Englund virtually dominates the screen even with his absence!!! Of course I won't omit Loretta Devine as Reese the guardian of the University who is very funny and adds the necessary comic relief. Who could have thought? A woman and indeed a black one as the cop/protector. It is another attempt to break a few cliches. Well done casting directors.

Apart from some good performances Urban Legend has many other assets. The opening sequence alone was enough to keep me hooked on as I realized I would watch a great film. The rainy frames and the professional shooting with the distant take angles is enough to pose the threatening tone and warn us about what is to follow. The introductory scene is a stand alone masterpiece. The killer here doesn't have a costume but hides under a winter jacket with a cowl and this gives a realistic touch and a difficulty in pinpointing the culprit since many people have the same type of jacket. The best part of Urban Legend is the setting and the cinematography. The university buildings are bulky and old enough to support a medieval atmosphere which excites our imagination. Further, these baroque aged buildings give a much more scary climate and ensure that no matter how much they run, the protagonists will never get away since the corridors are so long that probably no one is going to hear them scream. But the greatest virtue is the photography which was dreary and gave a sense of a documentary style. The best example to describe the stigma the director tried to pull off are the library scenes. The leads are in a situation reminiscent of the Name of the Rose (lacking the religious undertones of course!!!) and are trapped in an infernal game they cannot escape. The whole point of view of the movie is clearly cinematic and the imaging techniques are much supportive. As I aforementioned the death scenes are fascinating and catapult the adrenaline to heights. Although the character development is bare you feel sorry for the victims (well, OK, for most of them). One surprise follows another as the body count increases.

It comes as a great disappointment therefore that after a chilling 90 minutes period, the last 30 minutes go downhill. The action is very weak, the suspense retreats and we are left with overacting, inept and predictable "plot twists," inadequate explanations and a rather disappointing climax . I mean how could anyone not wonder why the maniac wouldn't just kill Natalie and get over with this revenging mission instead of doing this wild carnage. So be warned: the last half hour is extremely disappointing. Thus, if you are a horror fan who wants an entertaining thriller Urban Legend is a good shot. Despite some letdowns Urban Legend is yet another landmark in 90's horror genre.

URBAN LEGEND - 8 / 10

Reviewed by Kristine ([email protected]) 6 / 10

Let's get our slasher on!

Ah our precious 1990's, so many great things came out of this memorable decade, including a streak of teen slasher films. Let's face it, after the mega success of Scream which opened the doors once again after Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street, we needed a new classic. So naturally all the screen writers who were a bit scared to present their ideas on the table, thanks to Kevin Williamson, the clever writer of Scream and Dawson's Creek. After that, every teen slasher film was released: the Scream sequels, I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, etc. But we didn't stop at that, we were now presented with Urban Legend.

The film begins on a dark and stormy night as college student Michelle Mancini realizes she is near empty while driving in her car. There's someone in the back seat as Michelle drives, a figure in a dark coat with a fur trim around the hood sits up in the back seat and, with a swift blow from its axe, decapitates Michelle. The same night, on campus, a group of friends listens to Parker Riley tell an old story about one of the campus halls, Stanley Hall. According to the story, in 1973, an abnormal psychology teacher went crazy and killed all the students living in an on-campus residence hall. Paul, a school paper journalist thinks the story is bogus. Still, the story sticks in their minds, especially for Natalie, and Brenda. The next day, the front page of the campus newspaper has an article about Michelle Mancini's murder written by Paul but the papers are quickly confiscated by school officials. Later that night after going into a secluded area of woods to talk, Natalie reveals to Damon that she knew Michelle, but they hadn't spoken in years. Damon, playing on Natalie's vulnerability, tries to make a move on her but she rejects him. Upset, Damon goes into the woods to urinate but is attacked by the killer. He then is hung from a tree in a noose with the rope attached to the bumper of his car. The next day, no one believes Natalie's story due to Damon's penchant for pranks and tricks. Realizing both Damon's death and Michelle's murder closely resemble famous urban legends, Natalie goes to the library to read up on urban legends. Not realizing the terror has just begun to scare her and her friends even more.

Basically, Urban Legend didn't stand out against it's competitors, it has every cliché in the book. Not to mention no memorable actors that had the same chemistry as the cast of Scream. It's over written at times and has every predictable moment: the friends don't believe in a ghost story, a couple people get killed off but everyone thinks it's a prank/fake death, a classic chase scene with a big breasted girl in a skimpy costume, the creepy janitor, the smart girl that no one believes is all of a sudden right about all the murders and of course a mega twist ending that no one will ever see coming! OK, Urban Legend isn't a horrible movie, while it has all these predictable moments and clichés, it's still actually fun to watch and a good part of the memory of good teen slasher films that came out of the 1990's.

6/10

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