Urban Legends: Final Cut

Dir: John Ottman
Star: Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner, Loretta Devine

Full disclosure: I have not seen the original, so can not say how it compares to this. I can say that, on its own merits, this is...meh. Film student Amy (Morrison) begins work on her student thesis film, with the aim of capturing the Hitchcock Prize, and going from there into Hollywood, as previous winners have been able to do. However, production is diverted by the murders of various participants, both in front of and behind the camera, by a masked figure. Who is responsible? Is it the scorned PA? The campus security guard transferred in from another college under mysterious circumstances? The suddenly-arriving twin brother of one of the victims? The fellow student who accuses Amy of stealing his ideas? The options are endless, especially since the real police are all but completely disinterested in the mayhem being unleashed. Kids, eh? Of course, the killer turns out to be someone you don't expect. Credit might be given for that, but here, it feels much more like a cheat, since the character in question barely appears in the rest of the film, and there's so much information held back, there's no chance you could ever have worked it out.

Which would all be ok, or at least bearable, if the other aspects of the film were any more than pedestrian. The kills particularly imaginative or bloody, say; the tone especially unrelenting; the starlets - such as Eva Mendes, here doing her a fine Gina Gershon impression - amusingly topless. Oops. Did I say the last one out loud? Instead, it plods along, at a level just above sufficiently irritating to make us change the cable channel; we didn't so much find this, as stumble across it, in a bout of surfing inertia. It was about to start, and...well, we had nothing better to do. With such heightened expectations, it was bound to disappoin... No, hang on; surely something wrong there. About the only moment which isn't something you'd seen a million times before is when a tidal-wave of prop guns flooded a scene, leaving everyone scrambling around to find the one real weapon. For a moment, I almost think I had my interest picqued. It soon passed. Was there ever a time when this didn't seem tire and worn-out? In 2009, it certainly does.

[October 2009]

In need of Urban renewal
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