Urban Legend Gives the Audience Another ‘Scream’

By The Columbia Chronicle

Chris LaPelusa

Acting Campus Editor

Here comes another one of those trendy movies in which a bunch of young, good looking students get stalked by a deranged killer who uses sharp objects to knock ‘em off one by one. Let’s recap:

The story goes that right here in America there was an author named Kevin Williamson who wrote a book called “Scream.” It is said that this book, about a group of high school seniors being killed by someone dressed in a black robe and skull mask, was later turned into a movie. The story’s hooded killer mimicks horror film plots, using the notorious buck knife as his weapon. In the end, there are only two survivors, some guy and some girl. Come to think of it, the girl kind of looked like Julia from “Party of Five.”

About one year later, another movie came out that almost mirrored “Scream.” It was called “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” As far as I know about this movie, these sassy teens were driving along one summer night and hit a man crossing the street. They decided that they didn’t want any trouble and “supposedly” threw the body in a nearby lake. The following summer, suspicious letters reading “I know what you did last summer” started appearing. Next thing you know, a man packing a hook and wearing fishing slicks begins murdering all these kids for the crime they committed the previous summer. Only one girl and one guy survive, and—once again—the girl curiously resembled another “Party of Five” cast member.

This is when the story becomes really interesting. Shortly after the release of “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” a sequel to “Scream” emerged. The black-garbed, buck-knifed killer was back, mimicking all of the previous horrors while chasing the same girl. Surprisingly enough, the girl and some guy were the only survivors.

Go figure.

These stories sound outrageous, but I heard they were true. Ya know how that goes—from a friend-of-a-friend, and that sort of thing; probably just another urban legend.

Like I said before—a new, trendy cast of pre-supermodel college students, with an “alternative to the alternative” lifestyle, have taken to the silver screen again. From the producer of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and Australian writer Jamie Blanks comes “Urban Legend.”

The young, all-star cast is made up of many familiar faces. Natalie (Alicia Witt) is a paranoid girl who’s convinced that her friends are being killed by an urban legend serial killer. She is seen as Zoe on the CBS series “Cybil.” Brenda (Rebecca Gayheart, otherwise known as the “Noxema Girl”), doesn’t take the killings seriously because she’s preoccupied with Paul, the cool, handsome school reporter played by Jared Leto (from the television series “My So-Called Life”).

Michael Rossenbaum plays Parker, the party-oriented frat boy who thinks the killings are just a prank. Damon, the dashing prankster played by Joshua Jackson (widely known as Pacy Witt on “Dawson’s Creek”) is always ready to lend a sympathetic ear with high hopes for a sexual reward. Tara Reid, also in the motion picture “The Big Lebowski,” plays Sasha, a steamy college talk-show host. Joining these youngsters as Professor Wexler is horror film veteran Robert Englund, better known as Freddy Krueger. Wexler is an urban folklore teacher who believes that all these legends are just a way of telling girls how they should act.

With all the makings to be a great suspense-thriller, “Urban Legend” is definitely one of the better story-ideas for the screen today. Unfortunately, it appears that writer Jamie Blanks has seen “Scream” one too many times. This movie was utterly predictable from the opening act to the unveiling of the mysterious killer.

Surely a film of this nature could not go without some flavorful cheese. In one scene, Brenda is accused of looking like the “Noxema Girl”. In another, Damon starts his car and Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” (the “Dawson’s Creek” theme) is on the radio. These were both desperate attempts to give this movie some more trend.

On the other hand, it was interesting to see these urban legends we have all heard and told ourselves come to life. Robert Englund’s performance as Wexler was astonishing. He dazzled the audience and had everyone wondering if he was the killer.

I’m afraid that “Urban Legend” will go down in movie history as another trendy teen horror flick of the late 90s.

“Urban Legend” had all the potential to be a hit, but ended up a “Scream.”

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