Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Jamie Blanks
Cast: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart
Do we really need to jump into the details of this one? The vast majority of genre followers know the movie is a slasher. The title should probably give away the general premise. If you’re behind the curve, I’ll spell it out for you: Some mad man is tearing right through college kids, urban legends of all sort are used as platforms or devices to commit these murders. One group in specific is targeted, and it seems only one person in this one group has the mental fortitude to untangle the vines, solve the mystery and escape with health intact.
On the surface, Urban Legend looks like very little more than another Scream ripoff, but it deserves a bit more credit. Yes, it’s obviously a film produced in the hopes of cashing in on the success of Wes Craven’s smash hit, but it’s also one of the more refined slashers to hit the big screen in the late ‘90s. Scream may have reopened the door, but Urban Legend crossed the threshold in self-made style without leaning too heavily on Kevin Williamson’s story.
There are a few scintillating death scenes to behold, an awesome cast (that includes Robert Englund, Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Michael Rosenbaum, Joshua Jackson, Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif, to name a few) and an inspired script (written by Silvio Horta). Longtime genre fans who fancy slashers are likely to get a thorough kick out of this slick sleeper. Jamie Blanks (who also directed the fair Valentine and severely underrated Storm Warning) is behind the camera and he knows the direction he aims to take. He’s got a vision, and it’s clean.
Don’t leap to categorize Urban Legend as another dreadful wannabe slasher flick. This one is a surprise in waiting, entertaining from the jump with a couple onscreen personalities that you’ll remember long after watching. It isn’t a flawless production, or even close to it, for that matter, but Urban Legend is one of those rare pics that adopted a less than favorable reputation, and it didn’t deserve such treatment. This one is a hell of a lot stronger than I Know What You Did Last Summer, easily the most recognizable Scream clone.