Retro Review: Urban Legends: Final Cut

The teen slasher genre returns with yet another entry. But this sequel is going to turn some heads.

“Urban Legends: Final Cut” or “UL2” has very little to do with the first film except for Campus Security Alumni Reese played by Loretta Devine. In this outing Reese has relocated to an Ivy League Film School where she is trying to put the past behind her.

At the new campus she meets an emerging director named Amy (Jennifer Morrison). Loretta tells Amy the tale of the last campus she worked on and Amy gets hooked. The whole “murders based on urban legends” becomes her thesis for her graduation film.

Amy enlists the aid of her motley film crew to help her complete her vision. As Amy’s film begins each one of her crew dies one by one leaving Amy to uncover a murderer and the reason behind the killings.

On the surface UL2 is just another excuse to build a horror franchise and carry on the teen slasher genre. But what I found within this little film was a little magic. I liked the fresh rookie performances of all the film’s cast.

I know I am probably going to be a minority on this but it is one of the better sequel teen slasher features. It’s rare that in this genre that you have a film that is better than its predecessor.

In the past only two real benchmarks really approached this threshold, Halloween came close to bettering the original with Halloween 2. Also Nightmare on Elm Street 3 became very memorable as it started the “Dream Trilogy” which shot Freddy to the top and is still considered one of the better horror trilogies.

There were even some moments in the Friday the 13th series that topped the original. In that series the budget got bigger on each film and that could be the soul reason for the longevity of the series.

Don’t get me wrong UL2 is predictable and has some awesome scenes coupled with some real dumb ones. But it’s the cast and the fresh faces that breathe new life into a stuffy genre.

I always hated the slasher films where they use guest appearances to further the series. (ie: The Scream Trilogy) I also liked the fact that this film did do its best to stand on its own and not appear as a sequel.

Throughout the whole film there were only 2 scenes that connected it to the first. In the Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers series it was always the same guy slicing and dicing. Scream had the same mask and the killer was always related to somebody in the previous film. UL2 breaks new ground there also because it doesn’t follow that trend.

It was right for the studio to bring back Reese because it was her uncanny nature in the first film that made that film. The only other surviving character was Rebecca Gayheart (the killer in the first one) and you will be tickled on how they actually showcase her here. Genre fans are going to love this angle.

If you are a slasher genre fan and love the tension, UL2 is a must. Just the kidney bathroom scene is worth the admission for horror lovers. If you need a psychological thriller where you use a lot of brain cells to keep you guessing then UL2 may feel flat.

Check your brain at the door, embrace the talents of some new actors and watch the movie. That’s all that is necessary the enjoy this wild ride.

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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