Urban Legend Trilogy Review (1998, 2000, 2005)

After watching the I Know What You Did Last Summer films I thought I’d enjoy some more trashy simple late 90’s/early 2000’s teen horror type films. When they were released I enjoyed the Urban Legend films and now I’ve seen all three of them I thought I’d review them in one article instead of dragging things out…….

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Director: Jamie Blanks

Writer: Silvio Horta

Stars: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart

Budget: $14,000,000 (estimated)

Run Times: 99 mins

 

The first film is a good watch and I’m surprised the idea of a killer that kills based on urban legends was not done earlier, then again maybe it has but I don’t know about it. The first film heavily features urban legends as you’d expect, the first in the opening scene shows a young girl stopping for gas at a station but there’s a creepy guy working there. Scared by the creepiness of him she ends up macing him in the face but it turns out he was just trying to help her, it’s better if you see how this plays out for yourself.

At the same time the main cast of four friends are talking about a Stanley Hall massacre and the urban legend that goes with it, where there’s a knock at the door and whoever investigates gets slaughtered.

It turns out the the main character Natalie Simon (Alicia Witt) was hiding something and that in turn means people around her get offed in variously creative ways that relate to urban legends. Strangely her professor is teaching the class about urban legends at the same time and there’s a whole bunch of them.

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Sometimes the freak is not the freak

We find out Natalie’s secret and I’m not sure if I’m alone or not but I couldn’t help thinking she’s probably getting what she deserves, at least she would if the killer had gone for her and not toyed with her by performing a bunch of ultimately pointless kills. Then again if the killer had gone straight for Natalie we wouldn’t have a film would we?

The Good

The kills all relating to urban legends I can’t mention any as if you’ve not seen it then it will ruin the deaths for you was a great idea. I enjoyed all the deaths in this apart from one but that’s because in these films I feel more sympathy for animals than the annoying good looking teen morons who really deserve to die.

The cast is pretty good as well Robert Englund, Jared Leto, Lex from Smallville, Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek who accidentally turns on a radio that plays the Dawson’s Creek theme tune. There’s also Tara Reid and Alicia Witt turned up in The Walking Dead at the start of last season’s second half and to top things off it even has Death from Supernatural in it! Add that to Danielle Harris from the Hatchet films as a drugged up Goth who seems to love shagging then what more do you need?

The Bad

There’s not a whole bunch of bad with this film, I guess the whole killing people you don’t need to is a bit of a strange move from a killer who’s motivation is revenge for the acts of an individual. Then again if a killer can’t toy with someone by murdering there friends using elaborate urban legends then what’s the point in revenge?

This is a decent watch and makes one change from the usual teen slasher films by having kills based on urban legends, a clever idea that really does play out well on screen. Add in a decent ending and a good motivation for a clearly deranged killer and it’s well worth a watch.

Overall Score

74

 

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Director: John Ottman

Writers: Silvio Horta (characters), Paul Harris Boardman

Budget: $15,000,000 (estimated)

Run Time: 97 mins

I saw this described as a non sequel sequel to Urban Legend. This is true it does feature one character from the first films but it’s just a security officer who patrolled the collage in the first film. This film is based at a film school, this is shown by starting with a scene that shows a murderer on a plane. After a bit of a chase on the plane and a few kills it’s shown that the pilots are dead from there the camera pans out and we see it’s just a film set.

This is where we meet the various annoying characters of the film including Amy (Jennifer Morrison) she’s struggling to come up with a script for her film. On her way back to her dorm she’s picked up by Reese Wilson (Loretta Devine) who was the campus security in the first film. After bonding over Pam Grier films Reese tells the girls she’s got an idea for her, turns out the idea is the killings from the first film.

This is where we see our first urban legend kill, one of the students in the film class is with his girlfriend but he leaves her alone after someone had put a date rape drug in her drink. She ends up in a bath of ice with her kidneys missing, this leads to a pretty decent scene, possibly the best one in the film.

After this the whole film revolves around Amy not being believed a strangely common theme in teen slasher type films from this era. Like the first film it leaves us guessing who the killer is and I didn’t think it was as obvious as the first film. During Amy’s search for the killer various film students are killed off and even a twin of one of the victims shows up to help Amy capture the killer.

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Forgot that Eva Mendes was in this one!

The Good

I like the fact it’s set on a film set/film school, it adds something to the film and takes it away from the first movie to form it’s own identity.

The actors are all reasonably good and the deaths just like the first film are well done and well played out. I also loved a little cameo right at the end of this film from someone from the first film that I didn’t expect to see again.

The twist at the end was a good one just like the first film it was quite hard to guess at least at first then things start to fall into place and you can make a good guess as to who the killer is.

Does having Eva Mendes in count as a good point?

The Bad

Not enough urban legend kills although I liked the film school as a setting this one didn’t live up to the first film and was too far from what made the first so good.

I liked the revenge motive of the killer in the first film, in this one although it was quite hard to guess who it was the actual reason behind them being the killer was pretty silly.

The name annoys me Urban Legends Final Cut, why not just Urban Legend 2, hell why add the “s” on the end (I realise I’m being petty but I can’t help it)

I didn’t like this one anywhere near as much as I liked the first film, I guess it’s worth watching if you’ve seen the first one. I mean that’s why I watched it, it’s just a shame it didn’t live up to the first film.

Overall Score

50

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Director: Mary Lambert

Stars: Kate Mara, Robert Vito, Tina Lifford

Budget: $3.5million estimated

Run Time: 93 mins

 

Time for the final film in the Urban Legends series Bloody Mary, the words straight to video and the fact it’s budget was hugely cut had me a bit worried. These worries were unfounded as I actually enjoyed this one more the the second film.

This one starts off with three girls chatting and having pillow fights in their PJ’s. However the next morning the parents discover that the girls have gone missing, the kids are not listed as officially missing as it was less than 24 hours since they disappeared. Once Samantha (Kate Mara) returns home the parents are informed that the kids were dosed with a date rape drug but weren’t touched, turns out it was a prank by some jock idiots.

From what we saw at the start of the film and after Samantha returns home we find out a similar thing had happened 35 years or so ago in 1969 and it’s an initiation type thing for dumb jocks. Problem is it went stupidly wrong all those years ago and a girl called Mary ended up being knocked out, unfortunately for her the jock lad thought she was dead and locked the body in a case. Thing is she was still alive and died inside the box.

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Bloody Mary is mentioned in the first film and there’s a few things in this third on that link to the other films

It’s here that the film abandons the teen slasher genre and instead decides to become a supernatural type thing. The ghost of Mary seeks vengeance on the children of the jocks that got her killed. This leads to Samantha and her twin brother David (Robert Vito) searching for clues as to who these guys were so they can help the potential victims.

We also get to meet one of the women who was drugged along with Mary as she helps out Samantha and David in trying to end the killings and put Mary to rest. There’s a twist at the end that you should be able to see coming from miles away. However the journey to get there is a decent one and there’s a few kills based on urban legends chucked in there, I think mainly as a way to somehow stay linked to the franchise even though it’s gone way past that now.

The Good

I liked the supernatural element to this film, although it abandons what made the first film enjoyable it ends up improving on the lackluster second film. The whole ghosty vengeance thing was a good direction to move in.

Kate Mara is solid as the lead and most of the acting from the main characters is pretty good. Add the acting to the decent deaths that are once again fully based on urban legends unlike the second film and it makes this quite enjoyable.

The Bad

The ending was bad, the way Mary helped Samantha in some strange CGI rubbish was a bit silly, although it had the right effect on a certain character I’d have liked something else to have happened.

Samantha is drugged along with two other girls but then her two friends are only seen once more in the film, it’s like they’re not even an after thought. When you look at her friends and her as a group they seem an odd mix, like an intelligent girl hanging out with two bimbos, maybe that’s why the film only focuses on Kate Mara’s Samantha.

I enjoyed this one it was just a sit back relax and don’t think too much about it type of film, perfect for hungover Sunday viewing.

Overall Score

67

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Overall this trilogy has some highs and some real lows but all three films are worth a watch with the second being the worst one by some distance. Sure the third was a TV movie but I thought the main actors were more solid and the story was pretty good if a little generic. I’d recommend at least watching the first one!

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4 thoughts on “Urban Legend Trilogy Review (1998, 2000, 2005)

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