20 Jul 2013

'Urban Legend' DVD Review

Director: James Blanks
Writer: Silvio Horta
Stars: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Tara Reid, Joshua Jackson

After a few grisly attacks at the local University, a group of college teens aware of the in's and out's of Pop-Culture realize that the violent acts of attacks happening in the University all appear to be tales of an Urban Legend, and they soon realize there is a killer on campus, killing his victims in the fashion of an urban legend.

The Film: Urban Legend, the post-Scream teen slasher flick is a by-the-books "who done it" slasher that took a few to many leafs out of Scream's book. It's somewhat intelligent plot is seemingly over-looked by the absurd lack of originality, and it's over-dose on sub-genre cliche's adds an extreme feeling of "been there, done that".
With a movie experience near extinct of any original material, it's hard to appreciate an experience that feels like a fan-film of the Scream Series, and despite its fun tone, it doesn't have enough wit or self-humor to carry the whole film, and although it tries which works in places, the film just becomes an uneven attempt to keep the teen-slasher sub-genre alive.
Characters at their dumbest and a formula at it's weakest, Urban Legend lacks any sort of substance in making a decent by-the-numbers slasher. Thought most of the wit is displayed through the snappy teen-driven script, the actor's don't quite do it justice when it comes to delivering the gags at full-throttle, and instead, displays half-baked self-aware humor that at times is flatter than Jared Leto's performance. We can appreciate what characters like Parker (Michael Rosenbaum) and Sasha (Tara Reid) bring to the table comedy-wise, there is a strong lack of reason and decency around the characters, and despite Alicia Witt's character (Natalie) playing the "Final Girl" role, she comes off more annoying than likable. So is there anyone that is actually likable? Well yes, in fact, most of the central cast are a great addition to the film, displaying what the film has to offer, wit wise; but as for Natalie and Principle Dean Adams, well they are a pair that almost banishes the fun element from the movie altogether. What kill-joys.
Though the horror elements aren't all that bad, it is just all put together in a very sloppy manner, and the constant tonal changes is off-putting to a degree were we just end up getting annoyed by the films attempt to try and balance comedy and horror. Aside from the fantastic opening sequence and intense scene were the hooded killer comes after Sasha, there is very little redeeming features about Urban Legend, and it's flat and half-baked approach would most likely cause a yawn, rather than a scream.

The Extras: Not expecting this to be a good DVD is exactly the sort of mindframe you should have, as Urban Legend is a DVD you do not want to own. Sure, the film isn't awful, but it can only be watched a few times before total destruction, but as for the extras, well they are just plain awful. Delivering nothing but the bare minimum. Bringing to us a Theatrical Trailer, a Behind-the-scenes Featurette, a commentary with James Blanks and Filmographies, these extras are enough to make you hate the film even more, or the team behind it for bringing us lazy attempts at special features.

The commentary from the director is both boring and put-dated, the Filmographies are what you would expect them to be, pure trash, a trailer (that we all wanted...yeah right.) and a behind-the-scenes featurette that trumps them all. Lasting at the most 5 minutes, it's hard to enjoy extras that are a desperate and last minute attempt to make the film better, and in this case, it worked, but the made the DVD look worse. If I had the chance, this DVD would be gone, but for now, it's just going to sit and build dust in my horror DVD collection.

VERDICT: Urban Legend may have some fascinating qualities and a clever idea, but the delivery trumps with a pale display and a drab attempt to follow what Scream re-set. Not scary not fun, Urban Legend is a poor attempt to try and inject the teen-slasher phase with new-life, and instead comes out with a lack of originality and little redeeming features. A DVD that belongs in the trash.

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