‘Urban Legends: Final Cut’ (2000) – Still Legendary After 20 Years

When horror fans talk about the whodunit murder mysteries boom of the ’90s and 2000s, we hear a lot of titanic titles being brought up. Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997 – read our retro review here), and Valentine (2001 – read our retro review here) are some of the more iconic movies in that popular subgenre. But one franchise that often gets overlooked is Urban Legend. Its underrated sequel, which seems to be even more forgotten, Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000). Between the call-backs to its predecessor, the fun kills, and the meta commentary on filmmaking, this sequel is well deserving of praise as it celebrates its 20th birthday on September 22, 2020.

Urban Legends: Final Cut was co-written by Paul Harris Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose 2005) and Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange 2016), and directed by Composer John Ottman (Fantastic Four 2005) in his directorial feature film debut. The cast was a who’s who for this time period, led by Jennifer Morrison (Stir of Echoes 1999 – read our retro review here) and Matthew Davis (The Vampire Diaries TV series).

The story starts early with a nice recounting from Reese, the security guard from the first film. After catching up, we find out that a bunch of cutthroat film students are up for the Hitchcock Award at their college, ensuring the winner a big movie deal in Hollywood. With the motive in place, this leads to a slew of grisly murders based on urban legends, as we are left to figure out who’s the maniac behind the slaughter.

But Urban Legends: Final Cut wasn’t content with just being another standard slasher mystery. The filmmakers did a nice job of reasonably implicating all of the characters, including our seemingly innocent final girl. Films within a film can be hit-or-miss, but using movie making as a background for death is a clever—and sometimes apt—statement on the state of Hollywood itself. The kills were ramped up and are added together with twists like a twin brother and a past privilege to take this film on a roller coaster before slamming into its final showdown.

Urban Legends: Final Cut is a well-written, easy watch that has a lot of references for genre fans, a perfect time stamp for this era of horror. While the original is more revered for the classic that it is, and the third film (Urban Legends: Bloody Mary) is known for being different, this film shouldn’t be forgotten, especially as we look back on it twenty years later.

About Jason Burke

Hey there, I'm Jason. I'm a lifelong writer and lover of all things that go bump in the night. Under my production company name, Nostalgic Nightmare Productions, I write and produce films, novels, and photoshoots. I'm also an actor, activist, poet, and stand-up comic. I believe in deep, character-driven stories that engage the audience.

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