Urban Legends: Final Cut

Urban-Legends2_posterOn the one hand, last year’s The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project were the latest, greatest horror rotations, an ‘exorcism’ for the genre — a changing of the guard; a raw intimation of certain dread, larger and more flesh-crawling precisely because it wasn’t spelt out for the viewer. But they weren’t enough to repeal the balding Scream (1996) rip-off malaise.

Hence the flaccid and derivative sequel, Urban Legends: Final Cut, a shameless product. It’s hatched by film school brats who flog this dead horse of a movie into pretty young teen lunchmeat. Every minute a son of a sucker is born — just like this piece of crap in which more of my generation josh and hobble around in hip, heavy-duty irony diapers.

Set in the blue-fogged northeast, Final Cut takes place at “Alpine University”‘s Orson Welles Film School, the titular “greatest that ever existed.” Students vie for the coveted Hitchcock prize that awards the best film thesis fifteen grand and a putative, open-door Hollywood invite (uh-huh).

Amy (Jennifer Morrison), the apparently dumb blonde documentarian/heroine, is piqued by Reese (Loretta Devine, holdover from Urban Legend 1), the campus security guard, to make her thesis about a killer whose slayings are based on urban legends.

Soon, in film-within-a-film style, Amy’s crew is decimated by a slasher in a most non-threatening fencing mask, someone she must duck and sprint to identify. Unlike the original, though, Final Cut only has two urban-legendary killings, both inconsequential and highly unscary.

Final Cut is a cheeky cinepunk smorgasbord, a lame ‘stab’ at the genre’s stale conventions that creaks unsteadily in its klunky boots. It doesn’t know how to exploit the aspiring, self-conscious humor because it’s too coolly detached to laugh at itself — so the audience can’t either.

Boardman and Derrickson, film grad writers from the University of Southern California, and first-time director Ottman, know the market well enough to yoke plenty of timeworn staples — including ‘gotcha’ false alarms and the climax’s unguessable ‘talking killer’ effect.

But they can’t scare worth a s*** because we don’t really care about Amy or any of the other characters. Most prominent is Joey-now-‘Joseph’ Lawrence of sitcom Blossom fame who heads the GQ, mush-mumbler male assembly, with an unconvincing Matthew Davis as a pair of twins. Also, Eva Mendes plays a sexy lesbian more enigmatic than she actually is, and Reese stereotypically eats fried chicken while dancing to blaxploitation movies.

Urban Legends: Final Cut is worse than its so-so predecessor which poked fun at and egged on our morbid curiosity. This one’s utterly spineless: a triple affectation, of U.L. 1 which aped Scream which in turn aped Halloween and Friday The 13th. Folks, it’s time to snuff out this candle!

About Jack Cormack

Email Jack at jackyboy916@gmail.com.