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URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT

SYNOPSIS:
Amy (Jennifer Morrison), Travis (Matthew Davis) and Graham (Joseph Lawrence) are student filmmakers aspiring to win the prestigious Hitchcock Award for best thesis film, traditionally guaranteeing a film career in Hollywood. In a chance meeting with Reese (Loretta Devine), the new campus security guard, Amy is inspired by the story of an urban legend at Pendleton University, Reese's former place of employment. Amy and her crew of fellow students including boom operator Vanessa (Eva Mendes), cameraman Simon (Marco Hofschneider) and special effects geeks Stan (Anthony Anderson) and Dirk (Michael Bacall) start work, but fatal accidents begin.

"Superbly executed, Urban Legends: Final Cut is a gripping ride into terror, embracing the horror genre wholeheartedly and giving us a nail-biting, heart-jolting experience. John Ottman stamps it decisively as his own with assured, confident direction, slick editing and a magnificent, large orchestral score that pounds along with our hearts. A different experience to Jamie Blanks' first Urban Legend, while it's manipulative and Hollywood at its glossiest, this campus thriller doesn't pretend or aspire to be anything else. The premise of making a horror film within a horror film may not be new (Kimble Rendall's Cut, for example, also canvassed this territory), but here the script is crammed with ideas and they keep coming and coming. The opening sequence, set on a plane and as over-the-top as you can get, grabbed my imagination from the start, and I guarantee this film won't be shown on any aircraft ever. Cleverly paying homage to Hitchcock as part of the storyline, we become embroiled in a mle of paranoia, fear and suspense when the lines between reality and fantasy are indeterminately blurred. There's nothing subtle about the urban legends themselves there are the familiar stolen kidneys, decapitations as well as some inventive new ones to capture our imaginations. Casting is excellent and Loretta Devine reprising her role as Reese the big-eyed security agent with a Pam Grier fixation, adds a cute touch. As all the subplots, fantasies and realities intersect, the master stroke is the scene when the real gun gets confused with a whole stack of fake film props, and four key characters stumble and grope on the floor in confused hysteria to claim what each hopes is the real thing. I defy anyone to spot the baddie (yes, the baddie is hooded, faceless and cloaked), and while the action is at times predictable, the twists and turns are both stimulating and invigorating. Often tongue in cheek, there's a comfortable balance between humour and suspense, and if you're hankering for a chilling, cinematic terror-hit, Urban Legends: Final Cut is a killer thriller."
Louise Keller

"Having exhausted most of the film-worthy urban legends in the 1998 original it's at least a refreshing change to find a sequel which isn't a straightforward re-run. Instead, this modestly scary spook film settles for the usual pastiche of post-Scream horror conventions which begin with the idea that most young people are obsessed with and/or trying to make horror movies. Set at the ugliest campus you'll ever see on film (an honourable but failed attempt to break away from wall ivy and heavy wood gothic we're used to) this slasher outing is no better or worse than any other in recent memory. It does have a couple of well staged sequences, including decapitation by window slamming and an extended sequence in an amusement park fun ride, but some rocky dialogue and plot inconsistencies undo much of the good work. How the twin brother of one of the victims fits into the picture is never properly explained and the killer's confessional is as lame as it gets. The young cast are a fairly unremarkable bunch and their attitude-plus characterisations (are wanna-be filmmakers THE most obnoxious screen characters at present?) makes many of the killings a welcome relief. Nothing wrong with cheering for the maniac, I say. Jennifer Morrison is an exception and scores points for plucky heroine work and Marco Hofschneider, as a European Marlon Brando/James Dean-ish cameraman is fun in the limited time he has on screen. This will probably be successful and in a few years we'll be watching Urban Legends: The Next Generation. Let's hope there's something different to say by then."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

See our VisionStream interviews with
JOHN OTTMAN and MATTHEW DAVIS &
JENNIFER MORRISON

URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT (MA)
(US)

CAST: Joey Lawrence, Jenny Morrison, Matthew Davis, Loretta Devine, Anson Mount

DIRECTOR: John Ottman

PRODUCERS: Gina Matthews, Michael McDonnell, Neal H. Moritz

SCRIPT: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brian Pearson

EDITOR: John Ottman, Rob Kobrin

MUSIC: John Ottman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Zuelzke

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 28, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar Home Video

VIDEO RELEASE: March 14, 2001







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