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Urban Legends: Final Cut

These days, mediocre slasher-flicks are about as common as Tom Hanks Oscar nominations. Sequels to these movies are generally even worse, but while John Ottman's Urban Legends: Final Cut isn't going to "wow" horror lovers with its premise (a cross between the original Urban Legend and Wes Craven's New Nightmare), it does have a number of things to recommend it: most of the performances sizzle, the orchestral score is insanely catchy, and first-time director Ottman (who also edited the film and composed the music) is confident and secure in his camera set-ups and editing decisions, resulting in a fun sequel that's visually arresting, if less sophisticated than, say, Scream. The story centers around a young filmmaker named Amy (an excellent Jennifer Morrison) seeking to complete her thesis film — a horror movie about a serial killer who offs each of his victims in a manner inspired by a different urban legend. However, someone on her crew seems unable to tell the difference between reality and moviemaking, and soon Amy's friends and crew-mates are brutally murdered, one by one, as the movie progresses. At its best, Urban Legends: Final Cut can be enjoyed as a behind-the-scenes documentary/satire on what goes on during the shooting of a typical low-budget horror film (minus the murders, of course). At its worst, it's a passable piece of crowd-pleasing fluff. It's not the most original horror flick, but the movie features the requisite number of fake scares, splattered blood, and dark shadows. Slasher fans will probably be pleased, even though the killer's identity raises more questions than it answers. Columbia TriStar has given Urban Legends: Final Cut the special-edition treatment, filling the disc with enough bonus material to keep fans of the film occupied for hours. In addition to a rock-solid anamorphic widescreen transfer (2.35:1, with a full-frame version available on the other side of the disc), the DVD features a brief "making-of" featurette, a collection of outtakes and bloopers, a hilarious audio commentary track from Ottman (in which he discusses many of the battles he fought with the studio during the course of shooting and editing), seven excellent deleted scenes (with optional commentary from Ottman), theatrical trailers for both of the Urban Legends films, various textual supplements, and several other goodies. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr