There's a campus killer on the loose who's making urban legends, like the one about eating pop rocks and soda at the same time will make your stomach explode and the one about a psycho with an axe stepping into the backseat of your car at the gas station when not looking, into reality.
Following a series of strange murders, a group of students at a college campus set out to investigate the crimes and their seeming connection to the killer when they find out the killer is basing their crimes on urban legends and set out to stop the rampage. This is far better than its reputation would have it. Among the better features here is the fact that back when this movie came out the gimmick of using the deaths based on urban legends allowed for some pretty inventive and original kills. The opening backseat driver decapitation is a great one to open a film on, the dead boyfriend suspended over a fleeing car in the woods offers some rather nice suspense with the killer appearing and continually trying to break into the car and the sex/strangulation misidentification is really cool mainly because the circumstances needed to make it true, from the back-story needed to make sure she shouldn't see anything, the killer gaining access to the room without violent means, and the actual sounds of the incident, are all mixed together and makes a marvelous scene. These here really work nicely due to the way they incorporate the whole mythology of the premise into their stalking and work incredibly well at bringing these together. Other great scenes, where she watches someone in the killers known attire stalk one of her friends in a swimming pool while she is helplessly trying to get her attention or the tense stalking of the DJ in the radio station during the thunderstorm make for some additional tense, thrilling scenes, and the way it works out due to knowing what the killer is dressed like is effective enough. That also leads into the twist about the identity of the killer and how their secret is kept, as the way there are so many different red herrings involved and all of them given good alibis to clear them, so by gaining more clues to their identity, it broadens the suspense by making an extra clue for the people to solve. These here really work nicely for the film as there isn’t a whole lot really to dislike here. The main problem with this film is that it was aimed for the masses to consume, so it has a lot of toned-down gore. Many of these killings should've been gorier, and it will probably disappoint many out there looking for a good gory slasher film. It also falls into the realm of those films where they're trying to poke fun of the genre at the same time as trying to scare, and here is one example that having a ton of cheap scares aren't that frightening. What makes it worse is that many of the jokes aren't funny, so it is a bit flat in some places. The pacing is a little off in the first half with all the build-ups to the class and what they all mean, but there’s not a whole lot else wrong here. Rated R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language, some alcohol use, a scene with a dog drinking and a brief mild sex scene.
Urban Legend is a movie I watched during a long weekend marathon of older slasher movies that seem to have been forgotten, or at least aren't as heralded as the more well-known movies of the genre (Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, etc.). Among these lesser known movies, I would have to say that Urban Legend deserves to stand above, as it is more entertaining, more enjoyable, and more slick than you would expect. The concept here is more important than the story. Whereas Scream created a slasher movie where the characters and the killers were horror movie obsessives, Urban Legend does the same for...well, urban legends. The concept is inherently clever, as urban legends are stories and bedtime tales that are meant to induce a sense of fear and paranoia about whether they're true. As our final girl learns the hard way, convincing people to believe in these stories is a difficult task. The main attraction here apart from the premise is the cast. Ignoring their late-90s star power, the cast is still packed with beautiful people knowingly playing up the qualities that the audiences will enjoy the most. Fans of Jared Leto will enjoy guessing whether his mysterious character is the killer or just a red-herring. Alicia Witt and Rebecca Gayheart prove to be believable and relatable best buddies who each keep a dark secret from each other. Meanwhile, Joshua Jackson shows up long enough to deliver the movie's best laughs and a fresh-faced Tara Reid gives the teenage boys bouncing cleavage while she runs. Lastly, Loretta Devine gives us an authority figure who is absolutely worth rooting for. The movie is not shy about its self-awareness. It knows it's silly, it knows it's preposterous. It knows that you know this as well, and it takes that knowledge and runs, well aware that you can keep up. And the kills are fun, exciting, and clever, which is what everyone wants most of all from a slasher movie, right?