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Urban Legend
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Urban Legend (1998)

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Plot Summary:
"There's a campus killer on the loose who's making urban legends, like the one about eating pop rocks and soda at the same time will make your stomach explode and the one about a psycho with an axe stepping into the backseat of your car at the gas station when not looking, into reality."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 12 November 2003 My Rating: out of 5


When I first saw this, I left the cinema talking about how bloody it had been, (I think I had only seen two other horror films at the cinema) I was genuinely frightened, and I still ALWAYS check the back seat before getting into a car.

Someone at Pendleton University is taking advantage of their folklore studies and turning our favourite urban legends into realities. A group of students get involved, and it soon becomes clear that the psycho is targeting them!

Back at the height of the post-'Scream' hype, I thought this film was brilliant and re-watching it again, (for at least the tenth time) I have to say that it is still a pleasure.

Director Jamie Blank's managed to assemble a great cast of up and coming young talent, and re-create some of the best known myths in both entertaining and beautifully aesthetic ways.

Opening with the beautiful score by Christopher Young and some lovely establishing shots, the film slowly builds tension in a crescendo and then releases it in a full scale bloodbath of terror......or does it? Credit must be given to Blanks for making the audience feel as though they have just witnessed more blood than they used in 'Carrie'.

Blanks is a 'student of the horror genre' and creates a distinct 80's feel whilst in keeping with the 'Scream' style of humour required in a late 90's horror effort. Hell, he even has Robert 'Freddy' Englund and Brad 'Chucky' Dourif in the cast!!

The film is full of mood, atmosphere, humour and wonderful set pieces, with my favourites involving Joshua Jackson and Tara Reid. That's more than enough for me to enjoy a horror film!

In all, Urban Legend is a shining example of what can be done when a fan of the genre makes a movie for the fans. I can't understand why people don't like this. The genre with it!

Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

When I sat down to watch Urban Legend, I was ready to watch yet another Halloween imitator, trying to chip in on the success of Scream and make a quick dollar. I had heard many bad reviews from the main-stream critics, so I wasn't expecting much, despite my anticipation... But what I received was an original, scary, witty movie that was far more entertaining than any critics had made out. True, Urban Legend was undoubtedly inspired by Scream, but why should we see that as a bad thing?

The use of the urban legends was handled extremely well - the writer picked out the most scary and disturbing of them all - and they were well integrated into story. [Writer] Silvio Horta was clever to pick both well-known legends as well as basically unknown ones to keep the unpredictability up. Also, the legends fitted the characters he created better than I had expected. A scene that is particularly effective is when Natalie hears her roommate's strangulated cries from her bed across the room but ignores them - thinking that they are cries of sexual ecstasy. To say she got a shock the next morning is a bit of an under-statement. Also cleverly handled is the idea that perhaps most of the murders are practical jokes or suicide cases (as Natalie's roommate is accused). This also, once again, shows how well the writer chose the legends.

The acting is consistent and believable, particularly enjoyable performances come from Alicia Witt (a surprisingly unusual choice for a lead in a horror movie, but still an excellent choice), Joshua Jackson and Rebecca Gayheart - all respected actors and actresses in the teen commercial circle. A nice cameo from Robert Englund was also great, and he had a surprisingly small part, although he does manage to keep the viewer suspcious of where his loyalties lie. Although a couple of characters are annoying from the word 'go', that is just another believable aspect of this movie - wherever you go these days you are confronted by self-involved, obnoxious teenagers!

The directing is probably the greatest aspect of the movie, and Jamie Blanks creates a claustrophobic and unsettling atmosphere - even in murder or tension scenes that occur in daylight. Despite the movies flaws, the dazzling direction makes up nearly all mistakes in it's stylish-ness. The director knows that in 'chase' scenes the viewer needs to know the full layout of a building to feel fear for a character's whereabouts (i.e if you know the door is only just around the corner the tension mounts when you know how close to surviving a characters is) - and so a lot of good, open shots are given on the screen.

Over all, Urban Legend is a clever, frightening horror movie that boasts not only an original concept and some breathtaking scenes, but a brilliant score from Christopher Young.

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