Reviewed by Diane Squires
Rating: 8.5 Beans
lanning on renting Urban Legends? Well, don't. Trust me on this one. If you don't beleive me, then read no further, because even though the plot is saran-wrap see-through, and I don't need to reveal the ending straight off in order to spoil this crappy film... I'm gonna do it anyway. I warned you, so there.
The so-called plot of Urban Legends hinges on a little backstory that is revealed (oooh quelle surprise!) about midway through the film. I'm sure that the writers thought it would be a clever plot twist, but it isn't. It also makes everything so painfully obvious that you might as well get up and leave right there. Knowing all about it won't make you enjoy the movie any less, because that would be impossible when a movie is this lousy.
Basically, Urban Legends is the story of a girl whose boyfriend is killed in a prank, inspired by (Gee, I wonder...) an urban legend. Naturally, she freaks, and goes on an urban legend themed killing spree. Being the bright young lady she is, she takes her horrible revenge by killing everyone she can find, except for the person she trying to get even with. Real smart. Makes perfect sense. Makes the movie keep going and going.
Our heroine is Natalie Simon(Alicia Witt), a college student who happens to be enrolled in a folklore class about urban legends. Coincidentally, a fellow student happens to have been recently beheaded in her car. That student happens to be Natalie's high school best friend. If you can't guess that right away, I pity you. For all the dim bulbs out there, the "secret" is revealed later.
As we all expected, the decapitation murder is only the beginning of a series of similarly themed killings. First we have the drunken frat boy, who is hanged in the woods. Over his car. So his feet scrape the roof. Oh, and when our heroine tries to report it, the body has mysteriously vanished. I don't know what you did last summer, but I saw a movie where the exact same type of thing seemed to happen over and over. The next victim is our heroine's evil goth slut roomie (Danielle Harris) whose death is based on an urban legend that someone must have made up just for this film, because I never heard of it before. It's some nonsense about the one girl getting murdered while the other is in the room, but she doesn't know what's going on because the lights are out. Spare me. And another thing, we see roomie slut being strangled, but in the morning there's blood all over from her wrists being slit, and everyone calls it a suicide. Wouldn't anyone notice the bruises all over her neck? Is the coroner incompetent? Hello! she couldn't strangle herself, ya know. Jeez.
By this point in the plot, Natalie has figured out that something is afoot. She and the resident university paper journalist (Jared Leto) set off to discover the killer. Naturally, while they are busy following all the wrong clues, the violence is escalating on campus. The dean falls prey to that one about the killer who hides under your car and slashes your tendons. Ick. Another student is done in by pop-rocks and draino. Some chick who has a radio show is killed on air. Clever isn't it? And it's only been done about three thousand times before.
Now that everyone else she knows is eliminated by virtue of being dead, you'd think Natalie would know who the killer is. The whole audience knows, despite them all being so dumb they paid to see this film. It's Brenda(Rebecca Gayheart), the best friend! The one whose boyfriend died in a prank Natalie pulled years ago. Since then, she's developed a crazed look in her eye, really frizzy hair and an inability to comprehend that the person she should have killed right off the bat was Natalie!!!! Yes, it was Natalie and the beheaded girl we never met or cared about who started it all. We know because Brenda shows us with slides. Slides. It was pretty funny, but I'm not so sure the filmmakers are aware of that. Oh well, at least it proves that Brenda is way off the deep end, because no one has pictures developed as slides anymore.
Despite being too dimwitted to survive, Natalie does. She is saved by the arrival of reporter-guy and the school's Pam Grier worshipping security guard (Loretta Devine). Brenda appears to get killed, only to resurface moments later in the back seat of Natalie's car... Only to be killed again, only to resurface in the movie's end tag- the plot being retold as an urban legend. Oooooh, wasn't that unexpected? I'm speechless with wonder. Really. It's amazing that either Natalie is so stupid that she didn't bother to call 911, or the police are so stupid that the let Brenda's "corpse" get up and walk away.
I'm giving this eight beans. That's just enough to convey my utter loathing and contempt for all things connected with this film. Then I'm adding another point five, because one of the murder victims was played by one of those irritating kids from Dawson's Creek. I hate that show.
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