Urban Legend (1998) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Sony || R - 100 minutes - $28.95 || July 22, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-07-13


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jamie Blanks
Writer(s): Silvio Horta (written by)
Cast: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, Loretta Devine, Michael Rosenbaum, Robert Englund


Theatrical Release Date: September 25, 1998


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Making of Urban Legend


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Thai (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Arabic, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Thai, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

When Scream came out in 1997 it became a box office smash and set off a chain reaction of numerous teen-thriller films that would hopefully be able to cash in on Scream's success. While many of these were duds (Teaching Mrs. Tingle) some managed to do fairly well at the box office and spawned several sequels (I Know What You Did Last Summer).

Urban Legend sets up several well know young actors at college where they slowly start meeting their grizzly end all by the hands of *gasp* urban legends. The film quickly tries to point the murders on several individuals including a aspiring writer for the College newspaper, Paul (Jared Leto) and the creepy Professor Wexler (Robert Englund) who has a class on urban legends. As the cast of young heart throbs slowly thins out, the true killer emerges and the film ends in a very unsatisfying way.

The great thing (or it could be bad depending how you look at it) about Urban Legend is its willing to poke fun at itself and include several topical (at the time) references. For instance at one point Damon (Joshua Jackson) gets into his car and after a little trouble trying to get it to turn on, it instantly starts working and the song on the radio just happens to be Paula Cole's I Don't Want to Wait (theme song to TVs "Dawson's Creek" where Joshua just so happened to star in at the time). Other references include a Freddy Krueger puppet inside of Professor Wexler’s (played by Robert Englund...) office and a short reference at the end to Rebecca Gayheart’s career in Noxzema ads.

The acting in the film is... not so good. Most of the young actors seem to only be in the film to collect a paycheck (and I don't blame them) and their performances are very wooden. Out of all the characters, I only really enjoyed Loretta Devine (TVs “Boston Public” and more recently “Eli Stone”) who liked to imitate Foxy Brown. Alicia Witt, who plays our main character does a decent job but she tends to overact a bit too much and Rebecca Gayheart is just plain laughable at the conclusion of the film.

Urban Legend was not a box office smash, but considering its budget was $14 million and it made a little over $38 million here in America, the direct-to-video sequels soon followed. While those films are very poor and should never be watched; Urban Legend is actually a fairly enjoyable film if you can get past some of the acting and clichéd plot points.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Feature Commentary (Director Jamie Banks, Silvio Horta and Actor Michael Rosenbaum) - Being carried over from the DVD, this track is actually a pretty good listen. They typically joke around and go into a little behind the scenes information. Worth a listen if you enjoyed the film.

Making Of Urban Legend (10:09; SD) - A pretty lackluster making of that is very skippable. It shows some of the death scenes and the only highlight is a deleted scene where Tara Reid does her *shudder* sexy dance and, well, we get to watch and hear her fake an orgasm *shudder again*.

BD-Live - At the time of reviewing the service is not yet up. I can only assume it will be like every other BD-Live disc which lets users with Profile 2.0 players the ability to download trailers for upcoming Blu-ray and Theatrical releases.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Urban Legend is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 on a 25GB Disc. I purchased the film on DVD when it first came out (and still own to this day) and even in that period the DVD had a very clean transfer which translated to a pretty decent Blu-ray release. While the film does show its age a bit, some scenes look razor sharp and colors are very vivid. It’s not demo material, but still a pretty great transfer for a ten year old film.

Sony has provided a Dolby 5.1 TrueHD track in English, French and Portuguese (yeah, all 3 languages) as well as a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in Spanish and Thai. While the film is mostly dialog (with the occasional screaming) it’s still a very serviceable track. I was able to hear very slight coughing in the lecture scene as well as the rain as it poured down during the finale. Not one of Sony's finest tracks, but much better than the DVD when I compared them. Subtitles are included in Arabic, Dutch, French, English, English SDH, Indonesian, Korean, Thai, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese



.::OVERALL::.

While not one of the best Scream clones to come out, it’s still a pretty enjoyable film a decade later. While some of the topical references may not hold up for younger audiences, it’s still worth a rental. The Blu-ray boasts decent picture quality and an OK audio track, but lack of any real extras makes this a rental at best.