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John Ottman
Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner
Writing Credits:
Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson

A film school is the center of a fresh spate of killings based on urban legends.

Box Office:
$14 million.
Opening Weekend:
$8,505,513 on 2539 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 11/20/2018

• Audio Commentary with Director John Ottman
• “The Legend Continues” Featurette
• Interview with Actor Jessica Cauffiel
• Deleted Scenes
• “Making of” Featurette
• Gag Reel;
• Trailer


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Urban Legends: Final Cut [Blu-Ray] (2000)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 19, 2018)

Given its title, I expected Urban Legends: Final Cut to bring maybe the fourth or fifth entry in the series that started with 1998’s Urban Legend. As it happens, the 2000 film gives us merely the first sequel in the franchise.

Not that the Legend flicks went much of anywhere. The 1998 original became only a moderate box office success, and Cut did even less well.

With its $14 million budget, Legends’ $38 million worldwide gross meant it probably turned a small profit, but it can’t have made much money. 2005’s Urban Legends: Bloody Mary went straight to video and its acted as the last entry in the franchise.

With Legends, the story relocates to Alpine University, a noted film school. In this setting, Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison) works to create a student movie about urban legends, but she finds this tough to complete.

As Amy proceeds, her crewmembers start to die one by one, victims of a killer who re-enacts the “urban legend” theme of the madman at the first film’s Pendleton University. Amy attempts to stop the murderer and stay alive.

Man – that synopsis nearly duplicates what I wrote to summarize the original movie. That might be because they offer essentially the same story, just placed in a different setting.

Does the shift from a traditional New England university to a film school offer a noteworthy change? Nope – the alteration in setting allows for some curveballs but most of the movie follows a similar trajectory.

This means the standard horror film plot of murder-investigate-murder-investigate. I can’t hold that against Legends, as so many genre films take that route.

However, I can fault the movie for its faceless and toothless execution. Rather than do something to spice up the horror experience, it just grabs onto all the usual clichés and doesn’t bother to explore anything new.

When I reviewed Urban Legend, I noted that I felt it existed as a reflection of the new horror landscape left by 1996’s Scream, and that seems ever more accurate for Legends. With the film school setting, Legends allows for a dissection of the scary movie genre in a way largely absent from its predecessor, and that gives it even more of a Scream-wannabe vibe.

You can only go to that well so many times, and Legends brings nothing new to the table. It mixes one trite scene after another, none of which manage scares or excitement.

Director John Ottman started as an editor/composer – and continued as an editor/composer after Legends, as it offers his sole directorial credit. I have no idea who thought Ottman was right for the job, but he adds no flair to the proceedings. Under his eye, Legends brings us a sluggish, predictable affair.

We do get to see Eva Mendes in one of her earliest roles, but beyond that curiosity, I can’t find anything memorable about Legends. It provides a stale sequel without much creativity.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Urban Legends: Final Cut appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not terrible, the transfer seemed lackluster.

Sharpness became one of the inconsistent elements, as overall definition varied. Some scenes showed pretty good delineation, but a number of shots seemed somewhat iffy, especially in wider elements.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to materialize.

In terms of palette, Legends opted for a subdued but fairly natural sensibility. Though the colors seemed adequate, they lacked much life, and instances of red lighting could look muddy.

Blacks looked a little too dense, while shadows could be slightly murky. I suspect most of the image’s issues came from the original photography, but I admit I can’t figure out why a fairly recent movie would look so bland.

While the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack fared better, it lacked a lot to stand out from the crowd. With a variety of action scenes, the movie managed to use the five channels in a fairly involving manner at times.

That said, the track wasn’t consistently active, and balance became a concern. Speech resided too low in the mix, so lines could get a little buried by effects and music.

Overall audio quality appeared fine, with music that came across as full and vibrant. Effects also demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy.

As noted, speech tended to get lost under the other material, but the lines still appeared concise and lacked edginess. The audio offered a mixed bag.

As we move to extras, we start with an audio commentary from director John Ottman. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, tone, influences, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing, effects and related domains.

Ottman delivers a brisk, lively commentary with nary a pause for breath. He digs into a wide range of subjects and does so in an engaging way that makes the track a consistent delight.

Next we get The Legend Continues, a 17-minute, four-second program with producers Michael McDonnell and Gina Matthews, executive producers Brad Luff and Nick Osborne, Phoenix Pictures chairman/CEO Mike Medavoy, Urban Legend screenwriter Silvio Horta, and actors Loretta Devine and Rebecca Gayheart.

“Continues” looks at the choice to create a sequel, story/characters, cast and performances, and tone and criticisms.

It’s that last topic that makes “Continues” a bit unusual. Most of these shows offer happy talk, and some of that appears, but we get a discussion of the movie’s problems as well. The honesty allows this to become a pretty good overview.

An Interview with Jessica Cauffiel goes for 16 minutes, 41 seconds and features the actor’s discussion of how she got into movies as well as aspects of her Legends experiences. Cauffiel brings a likable chat about her work.

From 2000, we find a Making of Featurette that lasts three minutes, 35 seconds and includes Devine, Cauffiel, Ottman, and actors Jennifer Morrison, Joseph Lawrence, Hart Bochner and Anson Mount. Other than a few shots from the set, this offers nothing more than the usual promotional fluff.

Seven Deleted Scenes span a total of eight minutes, 39 seconds. Of these, the first offers the most extensive information, mainly in the way it expands the Sandra character.

A couple others add a bit to Amy, while the remaining beats provide brief snippets. None of the scenes would add much to the film, but they’re worth a look.

We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from Ottman. He tells us about the sequences as well as why he cut them. Ottman delivers good notes.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with a Gag Reel. It runs four minutes, 59 seconds and shows the usual mix of mistakes and silliness. It’s not very interesting.

I didn’t think much about the original Urban Legend but I hoped its sequel might take advantage of the movie’s potential. Instead, Urban Legends: Final Cut delivers a tepid, trite effort without any scares or excitement. The Blu-ray brings us fairly mediocre picture and audio along with a collection of supplements led by a terrific commentary. Legends winds up as a forgettable horror tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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