Urban Legends: Final Cut Recap

Jamie

The Urban Legends Killer is back, Jack! And boy… does he still like to use urban legends. Amy Mayfield is a film student looking for a new story. When she gets wind of the events of the last movie she thinks she has her subject. That is until her movie seems to be coming to life. Can she stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Urban Legend: Final Cut.

How?! Amy Mayfield is a promising student in an elite film school. Competing for the coveted Hitchcock Award, she knows she’s gotta have a pretty great story to beat out Travis and other talented classmates. One day while out walking she meets Officer Reese who tells her about the events at Pendleton. Eureka! Time to make a movie. But before she can things start to go sideways almost immediately. First a hyperrealistic scene of one of the actresses ends up among their film, but with the girl now out of town Amy can’t be sure whether she should be concerned. Then Travis ends up tragically killing himself. Everyone is shocked, but no more than Amy who ends up meeting his identical twin brother Trevor who is hoping to figure out what happened. When her cinematographer disappears she asks Reese to get her the security footage of the area. On it she sees his murder but can’t act on it when she is chased by the murderer! Somehow this is all brushed by the wayside and she prepares for her next big scene, recruiting Trevor to hopefully catch the bad guy in the act. This… doesn’t go well as two more of her crew are killed. Distraught Amy and Trevor hole up in her room, but upon waking up alone Amy heads to investigate some suspicious activity. There she finds her friend Vanessa… and the murderer! Oh no! Amy is able to get away, but not before Vanessa is killed. Realizing that everyone who was killed worked on Travis’ film they investigate and realize it was tampered with and suspicion falls on Toby, the only crew member still alive. Kidnapping him, they soon realize he’s not the killer but it’s actually one of their teachers! He’s ready to take his rightful spot in Hollywood by taking Travis’ film and killing all those involved. In a final climactic showdown he is killed and everyone is safe. We end with Amy becoming a big shot director. THE END.

Why?! Amy just wants to get out of her father’s shadow, who was a big documentary filmmaker. The more interesting thing is the bad guy’s plan. So he watches Travis’ film and is like “magnifique” and decides to steal it. But alas… how to deal with all those pesky kids on the crew. I know! I’ll give Travis a bad grade and he’ll commit suicide. Then I’ll murder all the other crewmembers and… pin it on Amy maybe? Because she’s making a film that’s mimicking reality. Uh… sure? And then I’ll take the film to Hollywood and present it as my own! But what if they ask where all the great actors in the film are? Ah yes, well they all tragically died… all of them… coincidentally… no big deal… air tight, man.

Who?! Rebecca Gayheart does show up again in a cameo at the end of the movie, which is an interesting twist given that they had her live at the end of the last film (setting her up as the monster), but then jettisoned her… but then doubled back and brought her back. I guess it wouldn’t make sense for her to come back and start prowling around a random film school, but if they really wanted a franchise they probably would have had to figure out how to do just that.

What?! I do like to point out in horror films the aspects of our “monster” and how it changes. This is an interesting franchise as the murderer is changing, kinda like a Scooby-Doo episode, and must be unmasked. Surprisingly rare when you think about it. In this case they jettison the lame-o puffy winter coat in favor of the fencing mask and they really could have had something there. And at the end they teamed up Brenda and our new baddy so voila, you got this franchise cooking. After that all you’d have to have is a good movie.

Where?! This time they don’t give us that sweet, sweet New Hampshire action. In fact they give us no action at all! Booooo. They just have it set in a random school (really a university in Canada) and expect us to be satisfied. Well I wasn’t. Where is this school? How am I supposed to engage with the narrative if I don’t know where I am. Booo. F.

When?! This is a little clearer than the location as we see that it’s quite cold and there is some implication that they are coming off of Christmas vacation. This is confirmed by a large January calendar in the police station. C+.

This is probably one of the worst horror films I’ve ever seen. They lean even harder into the meta (isn’t it cool?) aspect of the Scream horror revival going so far as to end the film with the filming of “Urban Legends.” But that’s all fine if they had good actors… or anything in the film made sense… or there was a single scare in the entire thing. The most memorable aspect of the film is the killer wearing a fencing mask (good choice, actually), but that plays pretty much no role in the film at all. Everything else is g-g-g-garbage. And just to reiterate… nothing in this film makes sense. Amy sees a murder on security tape and then gets chased by the murderer… and then nothing. She literally goes back to making her movie. At times it seems like they just forgot a horror movie was going on. As for Munchies, it’s a silly movie for silly people, but it had surprisingly fun actors and stuff involved. It wasn’t a total loss given that it more or less came about with someone seeing Gremlins, picking up the nearest phone, and telling whoever was on the other end “Get me a Gremlins.” Then this appeared by magic… and yet it was actually not the worst. So kudos to that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! More Urban Legends to spookify me around the campfire? Pass some more s’mores! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The thing that stuck out to me illogically was that the film doesn’t have the same name as its predecessor. Urban Legend versus the plural Urban Legends: Final Cut? Bizarre choice. Why not Urban Legend 2: Final Cut? Or just Urban Legend 2? Whatever. In this one we have a bunch of television actors for the most part. The woman from House, Joey Lawrence of all people, and Anson Mount (who is now headlining a new Star Trek series as Captain Christopher Pike). All interesting actors at the time, but television actors galore usually doesn’t bode super well for a film’s quality. What were my expectations? After using most of the good urban legends I had heard of I expected to see them already scraping the bottom of the barrel with this guy. Worst acting and somehow less scares than the original to boot.

The Good – Really not much this time! The school they chose to film at was quite cinematic. And I guess it is a fine thing to try and give your killer a slightly more versatile and distinct look than the winter jacket from the first film. And they probably made the right decision trying to spin off into a more anthology style horror franchise with small connections (in this case the security guard from the first film is the only returning cast member). I also just generally like Jennifer Morrison. Given her leading role in both House and Once Upon a Time I’m a bit surprised she hasn’t been at least nominated for an Emmy for something. Best Bit: I like slasher films.

The Bad – No scares. Somehow negative scares. It actually made me less scared as I watched it. The acting was really bad as well, the kills were cheap and cheap looking, the twist was amazingly obvious (so obvious it was not obvious since the murderer had a real motive which is fairly abnormal for slashers). You’d think they would take a sequel which was designed around a film school to you know … do some film based urban legends. The tape that kills people for example would actually have been a pretty decent main plot for the film, although I suppose it is asking a lot for them to manage to come out the same year as Ringu and predate the original Ring … still there must have been some video tape based urban legends! Some film based urban legend, a cursed cast, etc. What we got was so light on urban legends it was weird. Fatal Flaw: Not scary, bad kills.

The BMT – The one two combination of Urban Legend and Urban Legends: Final Cut I think might surpass I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer as far as quintessential late-90s bad slashers. The two films are pretty explicitly carbon copies of the vastly superior Scream and Scream 2 (all the way does to the play on them effectively adapting the first film within the second film…). Just not at all tense or scary. Did it meet my expectations? Perfectly. After grasping at some tenuous urban legends in the first film it was obvious they were going to be grasping in the second. I think I would reiterate my main point: pick a single urban legend and just expand that for a sequel. The more diverse kills you try and invent / play off of the worse the franchise as a whole was going to be. And they managed to blow it up after only two films.

Roast-radamus – The original was clearly endorsed by Pepsi. This one though? A very in your face Product Placement (What?) for the Coca-Cola produced Fruitopia! I haven’t thought about that in years. I’m definitely giving a Worst Twist (How?) for the motivation of the very obvious killer: I didn’t get an award like 20 years ago so I’m going to kill a bunch of people now to become famous (better late than never I suppose…). And this one I think is closes to BMT just for being insanely, perplexingly bad for a slasher. Kind of like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

StreetCreditReport.com – This doesn’t appear on any lists I could find. A little late maybe (late September), but I imagine the choice was so obvious that a lot of mainstream critics just didn’t bother to see it. I do think this might be the worst slasher film of the late-90s / early-00s, although I would have to mull over the candidates for such a prestigious honor. Most of its cred, in reality, is from the film being a blatant rip off of Scream 2. Somehow they went right back to that well despite it making little sense.

Bring a Friend Analysis – We had a spot of trouble this week with Jamie watching Killer Workout and realizing … wait, this isn’t a twin film (despite what IMDb suggested). So we audibled to Munchies, a Roger Corman film that is quite explicitly a knock off of Gremlins. Like literally, Roger Corman wanted to make Gremlins, the editor of Gremlins wanted to direct a movie, so he was like “hey, can you make a Gremlins for me?”. She did, and the rest was history. Actually, a really fun movie in my opinion. It had just the right amount of self-awareness to make everything pretty entertaining. Also Harvey Korman, Charlie Stratton, and Nadine Van der Velde were all really good in the film I thought, which was shocking. Really cheap looking, but in a funny charming kind of way. And a lot of “that guy” energy with both Robert Picardo, and Paul Bartel in bit parts. Would definitely recommend it if you want to see what Roger Corman was doing in 1987. A. Shockingly fun creature feature.

Twin Analysis – Let’s start with Munchies first I think. In this film, due to budget no doubt, you only see Cecil and Simon Watterman (one a good hearted archeologist with some kooky theories about aliens, and the other an eeeeeevil 80s businessman) interact once. The kicker is Cecil is just Harvey Korman in a bad wig and mustache … and I’m here for it, I love it. Give me more of that evil twin with a mustache trope directly in my veins. It is a really funny idea to probably just get Harvey Korman more screen time (and save some money on paying the main actors in the film), but I think it works really well. They are pretty coy about him being a twin a lot of the time (which is funny and odd). But still a solid A- I think. The twinness is not a necessary part of the film, which would have bumped it up. As for Urban Legends: Final Cut again you never see the films on screen at the same time because one of them dies prior to the introduction of the other. In the end it felt like a giant wasted opportunity. They only vaguely head fake towards the twin being the killer, when that is by far the most interesting option for a fake twist available. If they had really committed to it I think you maybe start getting into A range, but as is I think it is a solid B. Weirdly not at all integral to the plot (he could have just as easily been an estranged brother or best friend), and too many wasted opportunities. But the twins are identical, and ultimately the twinness is at least a part of the film in the end.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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