This ain’t no legend

Urban Legends: The Final Cut

Final cut: It’s the quick incision of a blade leading to death, it’s the ultimate outcome of a film’s editing process, and hopefully it will be the second and final film in the Urban Legend series.

It’s winter, and film students at Alpine University are working hard to submit films good enough to be in line to win the Hitchcock prize: $15,000 and a shot at Hollywood success. It’s going to get nasty.

The original crew who survived Urban Legend have been replaced, except for squeaky-voiced security guard Reese (Loretta Devine), and a cameo by the killer in the original – but you’d have to stay beyond the lights being turned on in a Bangkok cinema to catch her.

Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison) has trouble hitting on an idea for her film, but is inspired by Reese to make a film about, surprise, surprise, a serial killer who bases his murders on urban legends. Oddly, the actors and crew working with Amy begin to disappearing and getting killed – including her friend Travis, who despite being a promising film student, scored poorly on his Hitchcock entry.

But before we get into the fact that none of the legends Amy films are unheard of – that’s a problem with using them all up in the first, much better, film – there’s a gory but good little sketch on the old kidney-removal tale. Only problem is it doesn’t quite relate to the rest of the film.

The holes don’t stop there. Despite various student disappearances and deaths under suspicious circumstances, the police are completely uninterested unless they’re hauling away the dead in body bags or sticking up yellow crime tape. Travis’ twin brother, who appears from the past following his brother’s death, can’t go to the police: he was involved in something a bit dodgy in the past. Right, that explains it!

And how do a group of university students get complete access to an old disused but incredibly well-kept and working carnival ride?

But back to that crocheted blanket of a plot. The killer could be anyone – take your pick, as there are certainly no sensible clues being woven into the action. But eventually all is revealed in a scene where the too-many-guns-some-are-fake scene drags on and on.

Although her role’s not exactly challenging, Morrison puts in a solid performance and has screen presence worthier of greater things. Keep an eye out for her. Otherwise the acting is pretty unremarkable.

One positive development in the world of Hollywood: a lesbian character who’s "normal" – in other words, she can just be a student rather than having to have her sexuality problematized into a complete film.

But nothing much else can be said about a film that fails to be really smart about anything at all. It’s confusing, derivative of, rather than tributary to, the various films it quotes, and, excepting the kidney scene, lacking in gut-wrenching scariness.

And you can’t say anything worse about a whodunnit, a satire, or a horror movie, can you?

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