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i'm not sure if silvio horta wrote urban legend before or after the success of scream , but i'm guessing after just because it seems he may not have had time to write a second draft .
seriously , this idea--a psycho bumping off people in the style of urban legends--is a great one and i wish it could have been pulled off .
the first sign of trouble comes with the painfully insipid dialogue .
an example : " that [car crash] must've been awful . . . for
everyone involved . "
you can tell that the writer intended that something a little more airy was supposed to have been said , just no one figured out what .
i know in slasher movies there isn't supposed to be a lot of great characterization and i myself don't mind cardboard cutouts , but please don't let the cutouts be so damn bland .
one reason movies like scream , star wars and diva have become so treasured is because they feature charismatic actors playing interesting characters .
aside from jared leto and joshua jackson ( who aren't on the screen long enough ) no one in urban legend makes the grade .
alicia witt shows none of the acerbity or wit she displayed on cybill , rebecca gayheart actually looks unattractive ( not to mention as dumb as a post through 3/4 of the film ) and robert englund just cruises on auto pilot .
good thing brad dourif is here , but wait . . . he's only in the movie for five minutes _and_ he's just redoing his good-natured stuttering character from one flew over the cuckoo's nest .
which brings me to another aspect of urban legend : it's unoriginality .
the film most blatantly ripped off is scream ( another reason that makes me think silvio horta wrote this after craven's and williamson's great success ) .
urban legend tries to deconstruct modern-day folklore much the same way scream deconstructed slasher films , but it doesn't quite succeed .
it's best stab at self-reflexivity is poking fun at " that girl in the noxzeema ad " ( ie , rebecca gayheart ) we also have another killer-taunting-his-victim-on-the-phone routine in urban legend and quick , what movie is this exchange of dialogue from :
female protagonist : why ?
villain : why ?
why ? ! ?
congratulations to those of you who answered scream and/or urban legend .
like i said , this movie could've been great .
if only silvio had worked or been allowed to work a little longer on the script .
still , at least urban legend had some pretty cool death scenes and a somewhat realized whodunit angle which makes this slasher is waaaayyyyyy better than i know what you did last summer .