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Urban Legends: Final Cut (Blu-ray Review)

Coming along for the Blu-ray ride with the 20th anniversary of Urban Legend is its sequel Urban Legends: Final Cut. Unlike its predecessor, Final Cut has never been on Blu-ray before, so its making its debut here. But, like the first one, this little slasher had a cast of nobodies that later did become somebodies. In the right light, this is a pretty fun swift little slasher that people may fine themselves enjoying more with an 18-year distance and less uptight about the stakes of watching it. Anyway, while its not getting a 2 and a half hour documentary on making it, they are putting for a nice little retro mini-doc for the film and a new interview with actress Jessica Cauffiel (Perhaps while she was doing a Valentine interview). It arrives the same day as the original, November 20th. 

Film 

At Alpine University, one senior student will be awarded the prestigious Hitchcock Award for best thesis film, virtually guaranteeing the winner a film career in Hollywood. Amy, Travis and Graham are student filmmakers who would love to make it big in Hollywood. But first they’ve got to survive their last semester at Alpine, a renowned film school where the competition is killer — and someone is killing the competition.

Shifting location from a college campus to film school, Urban Legends: Final Cut seeks to make its own mark instead of just rehashing the original. While through and through a slasher still, ti plays and feels like a different movie. For better or for worse. Overall, its missing a bit of the elegance that Jamie Blanks brought to the original, but has some clever bits in its own right. Ultimately this leans toward the trashy end of things, but its pretty elite compared to some of the other sequels in the 90s horror run.

Urban Legends: Final Cut loves movies. Its clear in every bit of the film. While the original loved talking about campfire tales, this movie is passionate about Hollywood’s history and the art of making a film and those who have made it. Some of the stuff gets to be a bit much and on the nose at times, but a lot of hits just right if you’re a film fan. When this movie opened, I was 18 years old with the dream of one day working in the movie business. While I recognized this wasn’t the greatest film, I was taken by the setting of being at a film school, the conversations and the joy of production that these characters all shared.

More than just being at a film school, the film offers a nice setting that is also a departure from the gothic university seen in the previous movie. Its got a sleek, more modernized architecture to it and almost appears to be on its own little island of sorts. One other unique addition to the film is the weather. Final Cut takes place during the winter and we have sequences with snowfall as well as character that are bundled up warm in jackets/hats/scarfs for the cold weather outside. When it comes to the slasher film, few choose this time of year, making it just a tad more intriguing by taking place at this time of year.

Once again the film fills its roster with new, fresh and up and coming players. Normally the editor or composer, John Ottman makes his directorial debut with the film. He’s more keen on trying to build suspense, but also lends himself to some gory kills and aftermaths. Jennifer Morrison is our lead her and its a nice turn following her break in The Sixth Sense showing her chops as a capable lead early on. Eva Mendes has gone on to quite the career, but when this film came out I got excited because the really pretty girl from Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (Sigh…of which I had the poster on my wall in my bedroom too. Yeah I was weird) was in this movie. Anson Mount shows quite a bit of talent in his supporting role which makes you wonder why it took so long before he started getting meatier roles. Joey Lawrence from Blossom actually is pretty good here. And kudos to them for tossing Terror Train’s Hart Bochner in here if its intentional.

No, this really isn’t too good of a film. There are things going on to a ridiculous level in terms of character decisions and the like. And the killer’s motivation is actually quite ludicrous (Though, actually mentally stable compared to I Still Know What You Did Last Summer). Overall, its a nice little 1980s throwback slasher. Yes, the 90s had plenty of them, but Urban Legends: Final Cut was the only one that actually looks, feels and plays like a tried and true 1980s slasher film. And I mean that as a compliment. You could hold it up with those and it not miss a beat and be better than most of them. This is trash, but its good, entertaining trash.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Urban Legends: Final Cut makes a solid jump to Blu-ray that is a complete improvement over its DVD counterpart. It features some solid details and good well rounded natural colors and saturation. Its a got a pretty nice, sharp look to it. It could be better, but having this film with a solid look is better than still not having it at all.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty much on par with the first film. Its not wow’ing anyone, but its easily above average and motion work is natural and cinematic with little to no issues with distortions during rapid action.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty deep, well saturated and hold onto details very well. Jackets and such in the dark still show good textures and nuances. No crushing present.

Color Reproduction: This isn’t a very colorful film, but the natural colors look pretty solid and the makeup of a lot of the film sets come across pretty neat (The graveyard in the finale looks great). Filters do glow quite well and pop off the screen.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent. Facial features and textures are pretty well seen for the most part, though could be improved in some of the more medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The 5.1 track for Urban Legends: Final Cut comes with a more serviceable presentation. Its pretty good when it wants to be, but tends to hand out up front and not give a whole lot to do in the rear channels. The mix is well balanced and nobody’s spotlight ever hogs over someone else’s. This pretty much does the trick and doesn’t really go more beyond that.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Most of the boom comes front film effects sounds, crashing, struggles and any kind of destruction like glass shattering.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a front heavy track, with good tracking of the action up front going back and forth. Rear channels do put forth a nice effort in developing ambiance for the environments.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With director John Ottman

The Legend Continues: Urban Legends: Final Cut (HD, 17:04) – Interviews with producers Gina Matthews, Michael McDonnell, executive producers Nick Osborne, Brad Luff, chairman and CEO of Phoenix Pictures Mike Medavoy, writer Silvio Horta, actors Loretta Devine and Rebecca Gayheart. This is all too swift compared to the documentary on the previous film’s release, but still a nice little look at this sequel where most studios would have just put out the disc with the trailer. I must say, after watching the documentary and this featurette, I really enjoy the radiance and charisma of Gina Matthews. She seems like a fantastic person to collaborate with.

Interview with actress Jessica Cauffiel (HD, 16:41) – She’s very bright and bubbly discussing the film in fun fashion and is completely honesty about herself, her career, ignorance to things going on around her and much more. Cauffiel is a very good interview here and this was a terrific addition to the bonus features.

Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Director John Ottman (HD, 8:39)

Making of Featurette (SD, 3:35)

Gag Reel (SD, 4:59)

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:23)

Summary 

Urban Legends: Final Cut isn’t a good movie, but I have a fondness and soft spot for it, like I do many of the 1980s slasher films that people probably turn their nose up to. But hey, I like the things I like. It has a pretty decent display here in audio and video in its Blu-ray debut. The new min-documentary is pretty fun, though it’d been cool to have seen more people on board to talk about it, rather than feeling just like leftovers from the other documentary. Not a complaint, just an observation. This is a solid pick up at the right price for fans of the slasher genre.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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