Urban Legend

The Devil Says

Skip It

(Spend the time looking at these pics of Alicia Witt)

Alicia Witt is hot. Check out the pictures below. She has thighs that will make you drool from several orifices even if you're a heterosexual girl. Her glance can speed the blood flow away from your brain, and the timber of her voice can make you cum from twenty yards. She's also a talented actress, intelligent (at age four she performed the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet on the TV show That's Incredible!), and an accomplished pianist. Which raises the question: What's she doing in this shit?

(Sadly, this isn't a screen capture)

Urban Legend is an upscale slasher made by people who caress their copies of Scream with Gollum-like obsession and firmly believe that you can never be too self-referential.  So, they introduce us to Natalie (Witt), a student at an abysmal college located far away from any mildly curious, professional journalists (I would have thought a string of murders would have them flying in). It's also in a different universe from qualified policemen. Her friends are uniformly unpleasant, but no one cares, which is handy when they all start dying. They are pretty, made up of the year's crop of teen heartthrobs. The killer uses urban legends (a victim runs from a sinister man who's really trying to warn her that there's a maniac in the back seat of her car; a girl is talking to the killer on the phone when she suddenly discovers that he's in the house; etc.) as his modus operandi. candy Man already covered this ground, but I suppose it's fresher than a maniac hunting sexually active teens. A flimsy reason for this is haphazardly tossed out at the end, but the real explanation is that it makes the film even more post-modern than Scream.

I've no problem with the stream of fourth-wall breaking references (Joshua Jackson's character hears the theme to his TV series, Dawson's Creek, on the radio; Rebecca Gayheart's character is referred to as the girl from the Noxzema commercials which is fitting as Gayheart made Noxzema commercials; Robert Englund, who starred as the dream killer Freddy Kruger in multiple films, plays a professor with a Freddy doll in his office). They are worth a smile. The cinematography is far above normal for the genre, and the cast is superior, on average, as well. The script could have used some work, particularly when it comes to the identity of the killer, and when and how the killer shows up, and how the murders are committed, and the reactions to the killings (OK, everything could use some help), but even the weak storyline isn't the real problem. This is a movie with skill behind the camera and Ms Witt's extensive charm in front of it. Too bad skill and charm aren't all that important for a slasher.

(Witt, in a far more interesting pose than she manages in URBAN LEGEND)

Slashers belong to the world of old-school exploitation. (i.e. grindhouse films). There's no message. There isn't an intellectual subtext. There is gore, tits, and ass. These films exist purely because they speak directly to the brain stem, which is fun on a primitive level. So where's Urban Legend's fun? Where are the naked teens? Where's the exploitation? There's a bit of blood, but nothing that's going to shock. All that's here is a gimmick and that's not enough. They even have a clothed Tara Reid. Why the Hell do you hire Tara Reid for a role that doesn't involve stripping?

If you could persuade Alicia Witt to sit nude at a piano and play classical compositions for an hour and half, then you'd have something worth watching. It would certainly be better than Urban Legend.

Sins (What does this mean?)

Pride Nada.
Sloth Nada.
Avarice Nada.
Gluttony They party, but it means nothing.
Aesthetics Nada.
Surrogate Cruelty Death by axe, and by axe again, and yet again (that's not original). But there's also a hanging, a strangulation, and a dog in a microwave, plus a few more on and off screen.
Thought Nada. It's a slasher after all.
Humor One or two mild snickers.
Lust Nothing but the presence of Alicia Witt.

Buy It


Film Info

Director: Jamie Blanks

Writer: Silvio Horta

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

Cast: Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, John Neville, Robert Englund, Natasha Gregson Wagner

Runtime: 99 min