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Urban Legend (1998)

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A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.

Director:

Jamie Blanks

Writer:

Silvio Horta
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Popularity
3,884 ( 347)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jared Leto ... Paul Gardener
Alicia Witt ... Natalie Simon
Rebecca Gayheart ... Brenda Bates
Michael Rosenbaum ... Parker Riley
Loretta Devine ... Reese Wilson
Joshua Jackson ... Damon Brooks
Tara Reid ... Sasha Thomas
John Neville ... Dean Adams
Julian Richings ... Weird Janitor
Robert Englund ... Professor William Wexler
Danielle Harris ... Tosh Guaneri
Natasha Gregson Wagner ... Michelle Mancini
Gord Martineau Gord Martineau ... David McAree
Kay Hawtrey ... Library Attendant
Angela Vint Angela Vint ... Bitchy Girl
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Storyline

Urban Legend tells the story of a group of pretty college students at a remote New England university. The focus of the story is Natalie, a beautiful, academically-gifted student at the fictional Pendleton University. Natalie and her friends are all involved in the Folklore class being taught by Professor Wexler. Wexler regales his class with urban legends, which include Pendleton's own urban legend about a Psych professor who murdered six students at Stanley Hall 25 years ago. Natalie is the first one to suspect there's a killer on campus, especially after she has ties to all of the victims. No one, including her friends, Wexler, Dean Adams and security guard, of course, believes her until it's too late. Now she finds that she and her friends are part of the killer's ultimate urban legend. Written by K. Wilson [edited for spoilers]

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Never Talk To Strangers, Never Answer The Phone, Never Flash Your Lights, Never Leave The Car, And Always Believe, What You're Told See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for horror violence/gore, language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Urban Legends See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,515,444, 27 September 1998

Gross USA:

$38,072,438

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$72,527,595
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In addition to this film, The Skulls (2000) and Gossip (2000) (both starring Joshua Jackson) were also filmed at the University of Toronto. See more »

Goofs

In the finale, the slide projected changes from shot to shot. See more »

Quotes

Brenda: [after hearing about the news of Michelle Mancini's death by decapitation] Hey, did anyone here know her? She roomed in Daly.
SashaParker: No.
Brenda: [Natalie seems lost in thought. Brenda snaps her fingers] Hello? Space cadet.
Natalie: Oh, no. I didn't know her.
Damon: Actually, you know, I did know her.
Sasha: You did?
Damon: Yeah, and I'll miss her, too. Girl gave great head.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version of the film shown on the USA network keeps onscreen violence to a minimum. All violence is shown very quickly, while the sound effects during killings have been removed entirely, and any shots of a dead body have been trimmed to show only a flash of what the body looks like. See more »

Connections

References Black Christmas (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Trying Not to Think About It
Written by Juliana Hatfield, Todd Phillips
Performed by Juliana Hatfield
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Stylish addition to the teen-horror cycle
25 February 2005 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

URBAN LEGEND

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Sound formats: Dolby Digital / SDDS

A serial killer descends on a New Hampshire college where he/she kills a number of students in the manner of various urban legends.

History has a habit of repeating itself. In the early 1980's, a series of low budget 'slasher' movies emerged in the wake of HALLOWEEN (1978) and "Friday the 13th" (1980), most of which were condemned as substandard imitators by critics and horror fans alike. The same thing happened in 1996, following the success of Wes Craven's SCREAM, a smug reworking of genre clichés which allowed 'sophisticated' multiplex audiences to indulge an attitude of superiority over those 'crappy' old horror flicks and the 'unsophisticated' viewers who once supported them. The subsequent wave of teenage horror pics were flashy, sexy and ramped to the max, and - true to form - virtually all of them were (ho hum) trashed by critics and horror fans alike. And yet, most of them made a profit, perhaps BECAUSE they were flashier and sexier than those earlier pictures, and because they were designed for a wider demographic than 'mere' horror fans.

Jamie Blanks' URBAN LEGEND is a case in point: Most reviews ran the gamut from harsh dismissal to faint praise, yet the movie is a visual treat, as creepy and atmospheric as any of the films which inspired it. Furthermore, Silvio Horta's unassuming screenplay confounds expectations with its solid narrative arc, recognizable characters and dynamic set-pieces, not to mention a climactic 'reveal' which offers a robust motive for the killer's devastating onslaught. There are a few embarrassing lapses along the way (such as the murder which takes place in full view of heroine Alicia Witt, which she ignores because she thinks it's a couple having sex!), and Horta can't resist a handful of cop-out contrivances (eg. the killer slashes the wrists of a girl known for her depressive tendencies, causing authorities to dismiss her death as suicide, though a routine forensic examination would have revealed the cuts were administered post mortem, AFTER she was strangled to death!), but these occasional blunders are redeemed by the movie's fast-paced editing, neo-Gothic visual scheme and clever plot developments. Blanks orchestrates proceedings with consummate skill, but he refuses to indulge the kind of transgressive gore that once distinguished this downmarket subgenre (where's Tom Savini when you really need him?!).

As expected, the talented young cast - including Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart and Tara Reid - is pleasingly photogenic, and there are lengthy appearances by TV favorites Michael Rosenbaum ("Smallville") and Joshua Jackson (watch out for the terrific "Dawson's Creek" gag!). Major co-stars include Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself!), John Neville and an uncredited Brad Dourif, who features heavily in a powerful opening sequence where Blanks and Horta pull a major switcheroo on the audience (I'll say no more). Loretta Devine is amusing as the campus security guard who views herself as a modern-day Coffy/Pam Grier (her fantasy is rudely curtailed by a climactic encounter with the rampaging maniac), and there's a brief appearance by Danielle Harris, the former child star of HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS (1988) and HALLOWEEN 5 (1989), playing an adult character FAR removed from the angelic poppet of those earlier pictures! Beautiful, fairy-tale score by Christopher Young. Followed by the largely unrelated URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT (2000).


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