Urban Legends: The Final Cut

"Zero"

Urban Legends: The Final Cut Review


As wretched as any Ed Wood bomb, and without the camp factor to make it train-wreck entertaining, "Urban Legends: The Final Cut" is a serious contender for the worst horror movie ever made.

It's not just that the movie isn't the least bit scary. It's not just that the killer picks off his victims in the most humdrum manner. It's not just that almost every performance is so flaccid that the actors look like they're reading cue cards even when they scream.

It's not just that the slasher wears a fencing mask, signaling an utter lack of originality and adherence to copycat screenwriting formula (if Jason had worn a football helmet in "Friday the 13th," this guy would be wearing a baseball cap, no doubt.) It's not even that this pathetic excuse for a suspense movie has the unmitigated gall to compare itself to Hitchcock.

The central problem with "Urban Legends 2" is that it's not just amateurish, it's completely inept from premise to execution.

The plot, such as it is, is about a handful of attractive, interchangeable film school students being hideously slain while making a horror movie -- based on the events in the first "Urban Legends" -- as a thesis project.

We'll just ignore the fact that no film school student would ever stoop as low as to make a teenage slasher flick -- at least not until they graduate and can't find work. That's apparently what happened to this film's director, John Ottman. He graduated USC's film school, then became a film score composer ("Halloween: H20," "Lake Placid") and editor ("The Usual Suspects").

Now in his directorial debut he seems convinced he's very cleverly spoofing the film industry and art film snobs, but he barely even knows where to point the camera. So when a snooty professor drones on about film theory or when someone quotes Francios Truffaut, it feels like a slap in the face to genuinely talented filmmakers and film students everywhere.

"Urban Legends 2" is so riddled with holes it's hard to keep track of what's going on. ("At least we know it's not Graham," someone says with relief about half way through the movie. "Who the hell is Graham?" I wrote in my notes.)

The plot development is beyond insipid (the kids are shooting their film at "the abandoned theme park outside of town") and sometimes sinks to an even lower level than standard horror fare (there's a soap-opera-quality twist involving a dead character's twin).

And although it's made clear the killer is knocking off students who worked on a "genius" grad student's final film, the main character -- the virginal heroine (Jennifer Morrison) the masked maniac keeps missing -- has never even seen the film in question. So why is he after her?

All this flick seems to be about is turning a profit by marketing to teenage dimwits who know how to sneak into "R"-rated movies. Quality is clearly irrelevant here and the only connection to the first "Urban Legends" is that the campus security guard (the only campus security guard) in both pictures is played by Loretta Devine, who is regulated to clowning around doing "it's a black thang" schtick.



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