Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

urban legends final cut

“That woman’s acting would be wretched in a porno film.”

The Scoop: 2000 R, Directed by John Ottman and starring Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner and Joey Lawrence

Tagline: It was an urban legend that started it all. Now it continues on the Alpine University campus…

Summary Capsule: A killer, sigh, starts offing film students doing a movie about, sigh, urban legends

Justin’s rating: Save me, Captain Nonsense!

Justin’s review: I really, really knew that watching and reviewing this film would be a dumb idea. After all, two hours of my life could be better spent writing the Great American Novel (I’m calling mine, “Mr. Pony and the Truffle Kingdom”) or curing cancer or reading a 300-page magazine on the toilet. But no one ever accused me of using my time well, so Urban Legend: Final Cut made it into my VCR and digestive system.

The sole, single, solitary positive aspect of the Urban Legends series (soon, a Saturday morning cartoon) is the idea of using urban legends as a plot device. Good idea, but urban legends in themselves are hokey, and when you wrap them in too much self-irony and too little humor, you end up with a boatload of crapola. Crapola, the San Francisco Treat. I have barely the will to muster up a film summary, so I’m going to use a fill-in-the-blank synopsis form.

This post-Scream horror flick, URBAN LEGEND: FINAL CUT, has a bunch of teens at A FILM SCHOOL, where they use their pop culture knowledge of URBAN LEGENDS to talk about horrible murders from their movie memories. Naturally, a killer dressed in a FENCING MASK AND A BLACK SLICKER, starts slaughtering the kids in the exact way they were mocking URBAN LEGENDS. Our hero is a GIRL WITH A BORING PAST who never goes to the police and is the last one the killer goes after.

I don’t care how much they try to dress it up as new and original, everything is substandard and oh-so-predictable. No one here talks remotely like normal people; they all have secret pasts and ulterior motives and quirks out the wazoo. After an hour or so, when a few murders were performed, our heroine had yet to go to the police, because she trusts the twin brother of a suicided man who begs her to be quiet because they have to “unravel the mystery.” And she does… HUH?

Nobody’s quite sure what the mystery is. Or why no one seems too concerned about the deaths. Or who any of these characters really are because they give no actual backstory to any of them! The real mystery is why these pop culture-savvy film students don’t start packing heat and beg for police protection. Do any of the screenwriters think what actual, reasonable people might do in these situations? When people are decapitated and electrocuted, it’s no time to play Nancy Drew; it’s time to relocate to a people-free, cow-infested community.

Plus, you’ll be absolutely groaning about the obvious theft of the Shaky-Camera-Through-The-Woods scene (aka The Blair Witch Project), or the movie-within-a-movie twist (aka Scream 3), or the constant references to Hitchcock (especially in the final scene). And for a movie about urban legends, they have all of THREE legends which are reenacted. How weak is that?

All in all, it’s just a jumble of deaths and red herrings designed to lead you away from figuring out who the real killer is. As…if…we…care. Seriously. Does anyone else miss the old days when you KNEW who the bad guy was, cause he was the only talking doll in the neighborhood or had knives for fingers? I don’t rent horror because I want an Agatha Christie mystery. All these elaborate murder setups might be frightening from the victims’ perspective, but I wonder all the time how these killers plan the elaborate timetables, dress in weird getups without anyone noticing, pull off murders so that only ONE person realizes what’s really happened and everyone else thinks it’s a prank! I know you have to take a leap of faith to accept most horror premises, but when the killer is only human, there are severe odds of probability working against them.

(Small side note concerning UL2’s predictable nature: I got so bored watching this, that I played a game calling out camera shots and character movements a split second before they would happen. At one point, I said, “Amy, eyes… UP!” and she did it right then. Well, it was amusing to me.)

Urban Legends 2 is nothing new and everything old. It boasts no recognizable stars and lots of stilted dialogue (including one scene where a film is accused of being a “Film Brat,” an insult we need to use more often) and repeated soundtrack riffs.

Kyle’s rating: Wait, I agree with Justin? Oh, just partially! *whew*

Kyle’s review: Yes, I agree with Justin’s review, however it falls to me to say that if you have a fistful of dollars and you picked out some good flicks at your video store but you still have a few dollars more and you want a horror movie but you can’t differentiate between the good, the bad, and the ugly, give UL: Final Cut a chance.

Does it suck? Yes. But it has two things going for it: lead Jennifer Morrison, besides being attractive only from certain angles, is also trying her best to make a good movie and keeps this from being on par with a certain Sci-Fi original horror movie I suffered through lately (Bo Derek, why?), and Final Cut is kind of stupid fun.

But does it still suck. Well, yeah. The plot is laughable, several of the murders are idiotic, and that end stand-off is an anti-climax. But I can’t bring myself to just bash this one and walk away without nary a backward glance. This could be a fun and worthwhile horror viewing for you, if you go in expecting the worst movie you’ve ever seen. Then you can’t help but be impressed and pleased! So while I don’t recommend it too highly, if you get the chance to see it (especially if a friend or hated enemy is paying for it!) don’t flinch and let me know what you think!

Intermission!

  • Amy is seen walking through a heavy snowstorm, but by the next morning, the several inches of snow have disappeared and the trees are green.
  • Anyone else think that Eva Mendes as Vanessa looked a heckuva lot like Gina Gershon?
  • You’re going to hell for doubting George Lucas…
  • Rebecca Gayheart, who starred in the original Urban Legend makes a cameo during the final credits as a nurse wheeling the crazy killer around in a mental institution.
  • The Mexican Standoff at the end, a la Quentin Tarantino
  • The girl-losing-her-kidney-in-the-bathtub scene is never mentioned again or even connected to the whole plotline, despite the fact that she was Travis’s girlfriend. Director John Ottoman reveals that it was a throwaway–he only added the character because the test audience full of teens demanded more gore. So he created the character on the spot, meaning on the set, and wrote the bloody decapitation scene.
  • The school used for the fictional Alpine University is really Trent University, located in Peterborough, Ontario, just 2 hours north of Toronto. The stark, modern building was designed by architect Ron Thorn, who was a devotee of Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Where have you seen the film professor (Hart Bochner) before? Bochner is probably most famous for the sleazy businessman in Die Hard, and he directed High School High and PCU.

Groovy Quotes

Security Guard: Urban legend, my ass.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Scream 3
  • Urban Legends
  • The Blair Witch Project

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s