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Urban Legend

Starring Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Jared Leto
Screenplay by Silvio Horta
Directed by Jamie Blanks
Website: www.sony.com/urbanlegend/

IN SHORT: Scared Cranky pretty darn good.

Long time readers know that Cranky doesn't especially care for scary flicks. I'm so damned old I'd thought I'd seen enough back around the time of Friday the 13th Part II. But I've slipped back in time, last month with H20 and this month with Urban Legend, which delivers everything you want from a scary flick. Don't expect me to vouch for it (well, I will, later) take the word of the girl next to Cranky, screwed up tight as some of the bestest scary-around-the-campfire stories (told you I was old) are visualized on screen. Or take the girl next to her, who pulled her jacket over her head.

Better yet, take the non-verbals of Trent Haaga, the guy I normally send to this genre of flick and the star of next June's Terror Firma from Troma Pictures. Our in house movie star was grinning maniacally as he danced up the movie aisle, his thumbs doing a Siskel and Ebert with great force and velocity.

Urban Legend follows the template laid down by Scream; the face of the moment (the indubitably yummy Natasha Gregson Wagner) is the first to get taken down --- but you know she's going to die, 'cuz that's how things work nowadays. First time director Jamie Blanks takes his time getting to it with a royal tease of a script by screenwriter Silvio Horta utilizing one of the most classic tales, the "murderer in the back seat," to take 'er down. We then meet and greet a bunch of Pendleton College kids, a good looking pack including Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, and Joshua Jackson who study "Urban Legends" under the guidance of Professor Wexler (Robert Englund). Englund's presence is, in itself, enough to get any horror fan worth his or her nut into the theater.

What Cranky appreciated greatly about Urban Legend is that director Jamie Blanks made the decision not to go gratuitously gory with this flick. Half a dozen good tales (The Slasher under the Car. The Murderer in the Back Seat. The Pet in the Microwave. "Aren't You Glad You Didn't Turn on the Light." Pop Rocks and Pepsi. The Scratching the Roof of the Car, etc.) are worked into the standard "kids alone" shtick that these movies rely on. One by one, the kidlets get taken out in ways mimicking the various legends, including a couple Cranky'd never heard of, until it's one lovely coed against another 'til Death fails to part 'em, just like in every horror flick.

You know what you want in scary flicks. You want scares. You want intimations of violence so gruesome that you're thankful when it doesn't show up on screen -- if you're looking for spears piercing eyeballs or such gory stuff, look elsewhere. You get what you want. Urban Legend lets your mind do the work, which Cranky has always found to be more horrifying. The teens and GenX'ers in the audience were rocking, 'cuz there were enough generation specific jokes in the script that Cranky had to ask what all the laughter was about. Thirtysomethings were all covered up and Cranky, old enough to be their dad, had a good time too.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Urban Legend, he would have paid...

$5.50

Yeah, it's an old fogey rating. If you're of the mind to see it, you'll have a fine time and should add a buck or so to the rating. Everyone else will rent it for beer blasts on lonely college campuses . . . and we all know what happens then <tee hee>
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The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2015   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.