Urban Legend Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
I saw a post the other day. Where they were celebrating the 25th anniversary of Urban Legend. Which isn’t exactly true. It dropped in 98 but the anniversary is in September, but the seed was planted and got myself excited to watch this forgotten gem from the 90’s. That kind of gets lost in the void due to having followed the likes of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. A slasher whose kills were all based around that of Urban Legends. That I haven’t watched myself in probably over a decade. I remember loving it was a kid, but how well does it hold up to the test of time. Let’s dive in and discuss shall we.
The movie gets started with a woman driving through a rain storm. Stopping off to get gas and while the gas was being pumped. The Attendee came back out. Saying the Credit Card Company was on the phone and they need to talk to her. Hesitantly, she goes in, but when she finds no one on the line and that he locked the door; she attacks. Spraying him in the face with mace, and breaking his window to escape. Hitting him with her car on her way, but little did she know, he was actually trying to warn her that there was someone in the backseat, who cuts off her head with an ax. Jumping to the College Campus, where we start to meet the characters. Natalie, Brenda and Parker are talking about the Legend of the Stanley Hall. Which is made fun of by Paul, the school reporter. On Natalie and Brenda’s way home, we meet Damon, who scares them when they are saying Bloody Mary at the Stanley Hall. Natalie finally does get home and inadvertently walks in on her roommate having intercourse, and has to awkwardly, try to sleep through that, while listening to music. The next day, we join them in Folklore Class. Where Brenda and Professor Wexler butt heads on how real some of the Urban Legends are. Till she is embarrassed by Damon with his joke after downing Pop Rocks and Soda. After they learn the news of the women’s death, which hits Natalie hard, and Damon seeing a chance to score. Takes her for a drive to talk. After getting shot down, gets out to take a leak before her back. Only to be attacked by a hooded figure. Natalie gets out to look for him, but is chased back into the car, and by the time she gets the car started and tries to drive off. Is not only restricted by a rope tied from the car to the bumper, but inadvertently hoists Damon up higher, who has a noose around his neck. Who falls through the windshield when she reverses and she runs off for help. Bringing Campus Guard Reese back, but their is no car or body to be found. Her friends don’t believe her either, because he has a mannequin that looks like him and plays these stunts to scare pledges. Believing this to be a joke and he is off at the Ski Lodge. Which she tried but couldn’t confirm that he was there. Taking a trip to the library to find out more about that Urban Legend and finds that Damon was the last person to rent out the book. Defeat she return to her Dorm, and can hear Tosh making sounds. So, she makes sure to not turn on the light, which proves to be a mistake because Tosh is being attacked. When Natalie wakes up, finds Tosh dead and the words, Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights, written on the wall in her blood. With the Dean and Reese written it up to a Suicide. Natalie and Paul set out to get to the bottom of it and if it has anything to do with Stanley Hall and that is where I will leave it for now.
The opening was fantastic. Creating an atmosphere and tense setting to where she would be on edge and ready to fight the Gas Station Attendee. While at the same time, giving him a stutter so he couldn’t simply come out with it. She didn’t give him a chance and the harder he tried the more she fought back and the reveal as she was driving away set the stage for things to come. That nothing was as it seems. It was a hot way to get things going and they only capitalized from there.
Massive credit goes to the writers and Directors who made this Legends come off so smooth. Giving Natalie good reason to not open the door. The dog in the microwave. Mixing up the killer in the backseat to getting your ankles sliced by them under the car. Scaring Natalie to drive the car to hang Damon. Even having a reason for Brenda wanting revenge because of a so called “Legend” being what took her loves life and that fueled her anger and her motivation. And there hard work making all of them flow so well, it made Brenda feel like a smarter, more aggressive killer. Because she wasn’t dumb. Brenda had everything to the last detail planned out. From renting the book under Damon’s name and sewing the seeds that it was around Wexler and Stanley Hall. While at the same time, torturing Natalie till it was time to strike. Making Brenda kind of an underrated Killer in the scheme of things.
And the gore and death scenes were on par throughout. Tosh’s death was probably the best, with how it all played out with it going over the head of Natalie. They knew when to go gruesome, like with the dog in the microwave wave and Pop Rocks and Drain-O death. To know when to pull back and let your imagination paint the picture in the case of Sasha’s demise.
You have huge in horror such as Robert Englund, Danielle Harris, Brad Dourif, Tara Reid. Names like Loretta Devine and Julian Richings were great as Reese and the Janitor. Jared Leto was great as Paul, but Rebecca Gayheart stole the show as Brenda. Most specifically, during her speech at the end, when it was discovered to be the killer. Way she handled herself and delivered her Impassioned speech, and had a comeback for everything. Even when she was told she needed help, and had already tried. Alicia Witt was perfect, not only playing off her, but playing Natalie in general. She wasn’t the cleanest good person. She had done bad things and felt guilty over it she pulled it off nicely.
I am a bit mixed on the ending. I liked the idea of this all being a story being told by another group of college kids. Telling the story like it was just another Urban Legend being told at another College Campus, but the thing I didn’t care for was the jump scare attack when they were driving away. I get that is just cliché horror, but didn’t feel this story needed that. Could have just gone from Stanley Hall to them telling the story.
With my only negatives being small nitpicky things, lets wrap this up. Urban Legend is definitely dusting off and giving it another watch, or a first time viewing if you haven’t seen it. It is a fun watch, with a solid cast and some good gore to boot. Final Grade – A
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.