Urban Legend (1998) – Review

2 Stars

In the post-Scream era, a slew of self-conscious horror film were released. Urban Legend was the last gasp for a new franchise to develop in the shadow of hits like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2. It’s a competent little picture that is well-directed, shot, and acted by its cast. But it’s also constricted by the narrow confines of the genre. Lacking the verbal wit and writing of Kevin Williamson Urban Legend feels like warmed-up leftovers or a copy-cat impersonation.

Natalie (Alicia Witt) is a student at a New England University. Where someone is bringing urban legends to life and killing off those close to the her. No one believes Natalie’s claim that some is mimicking famous stories and stalking her and her friends. Now, everyone is a suspect including her best friend Brenda (Rebecca Gayheart), The school journalist Paul (Jared Leto), Reese (Loretta Divine), the security guard, Sasha (Tara Reid), the radio host. Or maybe even Professor Wexler (Robert Englund), the only survivor of a college massacre that happened exactly twenty-five years ago.

Self referential moments abound in nods to Dawson’s Creek and Noxzema with their respective stars Joshua Jackson and Rebecca Gayheart. Alica Witt is bland and uninviting as the heroine, while Jared Leto shows flashes of the actor he’d eventually grow into. Urban Legend‘s most effective scene is the opening sequence featuring Brad Dourif as a creepy gas station attendant. Look for horror icon Robert Englund as a suspicious professor.

Director: Jamie Blanks
Stars: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart

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