Ah yes, 1998’s ‘Urban Legend.’ You probably saw ~45 minutes of it on TV when you were taking a sick day and then promptly forgot it existed. ‘Urban Legend’ has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes’ rating of our series so far (21%). It’s impressively shameless in its lazy ripping off of its predecessors (‘Scream’ and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’).
But you know what? I kinda love it. I love it in a hateful way. Like eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cereal and slurping the sugary, artificial flavor-packed milk from the bowl. It’s not good for me—it is anti-good for me, and doesn’t pretend to be anything less.
Unlike the failed morality tale of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ or the shoehorned plot of ‘Final Destination’, ‘Urban Legend’ isn’t trying too hard. One might say it isn’t even trying at all. The only ‘challenging’ part is keeping up with the urban myth bingo strewn throughout the film.
We start on a dark and stormy night. A choir sings dramatically over the title card. This is the lone instance of the movie trying to set expectations too high.
A car drives along a lonely road and we see the driver, Michelle, listening to a radio show. It’s a college show, ‘Under the Covers with Sasha.’ Host Sasha is played by Tara Reid who—believe it or not—isn’t hateable in this movie.
The radio show is an excuse to pack in EVEN MORE urban legend references throughout the film. Do what you gotta do to hit that 95 minute mark, I guess. In this scene, a caller claims she’s replacing her roommate’s birth control pills with baby aspirin. [Urban Legend Count: 1]
Suddenly, a driver sideswipes Michelle. Unnerved, she switches to some music. And when that song started playing on that car stereo, I knew. This was it. This was the moment where I knew that this movie knew exactly what it was. That it didn’t need to try—it needed to anti-try.
The song is ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. Michelle sings along. Badly. And the singing goes on. And on. And on. Have I slipped into some sort of interrogation pilot project? Is the COVID trying to make me flee the safety of my TV?
Low on gas, Michelle pulls into a station. She honks for an attendant instead of pumping the gas herself. I hope that’s because the movie takes place in New Jersey and not because she’s too snooty to get out into the pouring rain.
She looks around the eerie gas station with more broken down cars than your Southern cousin’s front lawn. Suddenly she’s startled by the attendant—played by a haggard-looking Brad Dourif.
Cue Horror Nerd halo, trumpets.
Brad Dourif is at the top of the Horror Character Actor Pantheon. He’s gotten to do Real Acting including an Oscar nod from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, his role as Doc Cochran on Deadwood, and getting to be slimy as Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings.
The attendant has a stutter, which creeps out Michelle, because she’s an ableist bitch.
He fills up her car and peers into her car creepily. He goes to run her credit card, leaving the gas running. Wait, isn’t that why you’re supposed to have an attendant? To not do stupid shit like that?
He soon returns and asks Michelle to come inside, saying there’s a problem with her card. Michelle hesitates, but follows into his gross mechanic’s office.
The attendant locks the door behind them just as Michelle realizes the phone is off the hook. In full ‘Fuck Politeness’ mode, Michelle grapples with the attendant as he tries to tell her something.
She maces him and Dourif delivers a terrifying roar of pain that is very Chucky-reminiscent. Naturally, this does NOTHING to calm Michelle down. She bad-assedly breaks a window to escape to her car.
She starts up the car with the attendant in pursuit. He pounds on the windshield as she revs up the engine, screaming through his stutter, ‘Stop!”
Michelle is out of fucks to give and hits the gas, sending the attendant to the ground. She pulls onto the road just as the attendant manages to shout, “Someone’s in the Back Seat!” [Urban Legend Count: 2]
Aw, he was a nice helpful guy all along!
I appreciate this twist, because I’m sure that in real life, Brad Dourif forever struggles to appear non-threatening. Getting a cup of coffee, picking up his laundry, walking his dog, he’s probably ever-at risk of getting maced as a precaution.
Michelle drives away, unaware of the danger. Tragically, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ is still playing. And yes, she does start singing along like she has a sadly hilarious compulsion.
Lightning flashes to reveal A Hooded Killer in the back seat! With an axe! Michelle’s haircut gets that chop she’s been dying for!
…Look, I’m trapped here in my horror lair, unable to safely get a latte without wearing a mask (much like Brad Dourif!). Puns are my only solace right now.
We cut to our setting: Pendleton University. It’s a made-up school and looks like Douchey New England Hogwarts of colleges.
With ‘Under the Covers’ still broadcasting, Sasha takes a question about oral sex that only a middle-schooler would believe. [Urban Legend Counter: 3]
As she answers the question, she pretends to felate her mic. Again: she is on radio so this performance is for no one. And she’s also doing a campus radio show, so it is for Extra No One.
After the show broadcasts, we meet our intrepid “Who Gets Axed Next?” contestants. And as we meet each in turn, we realize they are also contestants on “Who Will Have A Career After 2003?”
We meet friends Natalie (Alicia Witt) and Brenda (Rebecca Gayheart). We meet frat boys Parker (Michael Rosenbaum, who hasn’t yet unlocked the secret that his career will peak once he sacrifices his hair) and Damon (Joshua Jackson, our 3rd consecutive Dawson’s Creek connection in our Teen Slasher series).
Parker tells a legend about a campus professor who went crazy 25 years ago. The professor went into the now-abandoned Stanley Hall, killing every student he found with an axe! [Urban Legend Counter: 4]
And, Parker explains, this is why his frat has an annual party to commemorate it.
Natalie finds that really f-ing distasteful. This is when I will begin to ask the same question over and over until the end of the movie: “Natalie, Why Are You Friends With These People?”
Aaaaand then we meet the most awkward-in-current-context cast member: Paul, played by Jared Leto. Ruh Roh.
Paul points out that the legend is stupid, because a) he’s right and b) Paul’s a dick.
Paul, student paper wiz, is the type who lectures others so much, he thinks he’s already a professor (complete with an unnecessary tweed jacket). Yes, you knew That Guy on your campus, the ever-present source of ‘”Well, Actually…’” The person you just wanted to grab by the shoulders and shake while quietly saying “You are 20 years old and don’t know shit about shit, Paul. And get an age-appropriate haircut!”
Paul departs, watched by Brenda’s crazy-eyes. Seriously, they’re impressive, they take up like ½ of her face.
Brenda declares Paul a ‘babe’. And damn it, in spite of his loathsomeness as a character and actor, she’s right.
Brenda and Natalie cross campus, Brenda talking about how excited she is for the Massacre Bash (yep, that’s what they call it. Fuck these kids, may they all be axed). “It’s half the reason I transferred here.”
I wish I could see Brenda explaining that decision to her parents. “Yes, I’ll get no financial aid but I’ll get 3 years of Murder Parties!”
Natalie, why are you friends with this person? Still all riled up about urban legends, Brenda and Natalie stop by the-boarded up Stanley Hall dorm. On the stoop, they try out saying “Bloody Mary” in front of the eerie dorm. But you’re SUPPOSED to do in front of a mirror. Gawd! [Urban Legend Counter: 5]
They get surprise-scared by Damon, played by Joshua Jackson. This was during his hyper-blond phase (shudder). He’s supposed to be a ‘prankster’ but he’s just an asshole.
Natalie comes home to her dorm to find Rob Zombie blaring. We find her ‘oh lord, I remember that phase’ Goth roommate, Tosh. She is having sex with a guy who probably works the cash register at Hot Topic and is a band called ‘Mourning Star’.
Tosh is the kind of terrible self-involved roommate who doesn’t even have the decency to sexile her roommate. She won’t turn down the music, stop having sex, or allow the lights to be on. So Natalie puts on some headphones and tries to get some sleep.
Oh Natalie, if only you could time-travel to the age of Lizzo and scrounge up some self-regard.
The next morning, the Soon-to-be-Axed cast are in folklore class. The class is packed because nothing says “GPA bump” like ‘Folklore 101.’ The class is hosted by Professor Wexler, played by another horror icon: Robert Englund aka Freddy Krueger. Englund plays the role completely straight, wearing a corduroy jacket and bow tie. Love. It.
He’s giving a lecture on urban legends, starting with The Babysitter. [Urban Legend Counter: 6] Wexler claims the urban legend is completely false—which means that this very blog is better at research than he is. Take that, Bow Tie!
Brenda talks in class and Professor Wexler calls her out. In what I am sure is absolutely not a display of inappropriate male dominance against a female student, he publicly humiliates her, inviting her to come up for a ‘little experiment’.
Real talk: if Robert Englund invited me anywhere for anything—even in the kindest way—I would pee a little. No-Fucking-Thank-You-G’bye.
Professor Wexler offers Brenda some pop rocks—menacingly! He then offers her a Pepsi—the fiend! Brenda hesitates out of fear that her stomach will ‘splode. [Urban Legend Counter: 7] Brenda: a head full of curls and not much else.
It’s hilarious that this scene is trying so hard to be tense over the snap-crackle-pop of candy emanating from her mouth.
Damon volunteers to down the candy and soda. #SoBrave. He fakes getting sick for a laugh. And in spite of causing a panic, Professor Wexler DOES NOT punish or humiliate HIM. Gee, wonder why… Does it rhyme with moxic-tasculinity?
After class, Brenda and Natalie spot a security guard confiscating student newspapers with the headline “LUNATIC ON CAMPUS?!” Oh boy. Seems The Daily Mail has landed at Pendleton.
The story is about Michelle’s murder and it was written by our resident hack—I mean ‘journalist,’ Paul.
He argues with the Dean and the security guard about the story and the confiscated papers.
The Dean is British for no reason. The security guard is played by the excellent Loretta Divine. Her character name is ‘Reese Wilson’, but I will refer to her as Security Guard Divine or SG Divine for short. This character is the one breath of fresh air this movie has to offer. The security guard will actually be doing things in this movie. The security guard will have an actual personality. There—praise for ‘Urban Legend’ concluded.
Although he loses the argument, Paul gloats like Alex Jones pretending to be a victor after yet another failed legal defense. Paul goes on and on about how proud he is of the story and grossly irresponsible headline.
When asked about the article’s accuracy by a concerned Natalie, he retorts “I hope it’s true.” DUDE.
Do you want Clickbait and Breitbart? Because THIS is how we get Clickbait and Breitbart, Paul!
Head planted firmly up his ass, Paul badgers Brenda and Natalie for a quote reacting to the murder.
Brenda is all for it—“I am saddened and moved…” It’s funny to show Brenda’s shallowness, but also reveals Inner Brenda, the kind of person who will publicly fake emotions just to get what she wants. If she’d gone on to make a YouTube channel, she’d be world famous by now.
Natalie argues with Paul about exploitive journalism, and he just comes off as a narcissistic sociopath.
Hey, Natalie, me again: Why Are You Friends with These People?
Back at the dorm, Natalie encounters Tosh again. Natalie discovers that Tosh is on lithium. SO….I guess Tosh could be the killer because she’s all Goth and, ya know, has a mental illness? Stay classy, movie!
We also find out that Natalie knew Michelle in high school, but hasn’t told anyone about their connection. I kinda want this to be because Natalie and Michelle feel awkward after some bi-experimentation and Natalie now regrets not following her heart. But, no, it’s gonna be due to a Deep Dark Secret.
Damon stops by to invite Natalie to hang out at the frat house. Apparently, they’re gonna pierce a dog’s nose.
1) Seriously? Fuck off, you budding serial killers/CEOS of America!
2) Natalie: Why Are You Friends With These People?
Damon realizes that Natalie is upset and says they can just go talk somewhere. So they drive out to a secluded place for some Hard Core Listening and Feelings. Nah, turns out Damon is a true piece of shit who suggests helping Natalie heal through the power of the D. Or rather the DD for Damon’s Dick.
Natalie rebuffs him, he gets more aggressive and she awesomely punches him right in the face. I do like Natalie. Aside from her terrible taste in friends.
Damon, budding incel that he is, snaps, “You don’t have to act like such a bitch.”
I think Damon dies next, guys. I think that’s what the script is saying.
Damon steps out of the car to take a piss. But he is nabbed by The Hood!
We gotta pause here. Because this killer’s costume proves how Few Shits the producers had for this movie, how ‘why try?’ they were.
The costume is: a winter coat with a fake fur hood. Literally google ‘winter coat’ and pick any one of the results that pop up. That’s it. That’s the ‘look’. Someone stopped by LL Bean on the way to set that morning and they checked that off the ol’ ‘To Do’ list.
Also: this movie takes place in April, ya’ll. The killer must be sweating like a mother-fucker during all these slasher scenes. Seriously, while they spend this movie trying to suss out who the killer is, just look for the person who is a literal hot mess.
The (Furry) Hood comes after Natalie and she tries to start the car. She panics when she hears scratches and thumps on the roof.
It is revealed that, as per a version of the Hook legend, Damon has been noosed up on a tree above the car. His sneakers are barely finding traction on the roof of the car to try to avoid choking. Unseen, the Hood attaches the end of the noose’s rope to the car. [Urban Legend Counter: 8]
The Hood then jump-scares Natalie and she floors the gas, pulling the rope taut and jerking Damon upward. But the rope runs out of slack and stops the car, sending the Hood tumbling to the ground. LOL. The Hood doesn’t seem very bright, rope skills notwithstanding.
The Hood rises to attack Natalie and she reverses, making the rope slack. Damon’s body is sent plummeting through the windshield. Natalie shrieks and makes a run for it.
We cut to Security Guard Divine, watching ‘Foxy Brown.’ But she’s also playing with her sidearm. Bad. VERY bad.
Also, since when are campus security guards packing heat? Where’s Paul’s big expose on that with headlines like “Holy Shit the Rent-A-Cops are Armed!”
Natalie arrives begging for help. SG Divine actually goes to the scene, which is follow-up rarely seen in these flicks. But, of course, there is no Hood, no Damon, no evidence at all (somehow not even the broken glass or tire tracks that HAD to have still been there).
The next day, the gang is back at the coffee shop sans Damon. Parker assures Natalie that the scene last night was just a prank about urban legends because Damon is an ass like that. Natalie also realizes that Michelle’s death was reminiscent of an urban legend.
Later that night, Natalie goes to the library to research urban legends. She bumps into Sasha, who joins her for no real reason. They actually find a nice leather-bound book on urban legends which, I promise you, does not exist in real life. There is no book this nice-looking that breaks down stories like a woman super gluing her husband’s penis to his leg or kids getting sold Strawberry Quik Meth.
Natalie and Sasha stumble onto the Gang High Beam legend. [Urban Legend Counter: 9] It turns out that Damon was the last person who checked out the book (oh man, library check out cards—the nostalgia!). But no worries, that loose end isn’t gonna go anywhere.
Meanwhile, we see that Tosh is on a dating website—’Goth 4 Goth’. I am very sad to report that this dating site did not survive into the app age. Tosh finds someone close who is down to clown—Insane Posse style.
She steps out into the dorm shared bathroom to freshen her makeup. Ew. Remember those days of gross dorm bathrooms?
Tosh returns to the room and asks on the ‘Goth 4 Goth’ chat: “What room u in?”
And, shocker-but-not, the reply is “YOURS”.
Ya know, people called me ‘paranoid’ when I locked my door just going to the bathroom. But I KNEW the risks of someone in a really lame Halloween costume jumping me.
The lights go out and Tosh is attacked by The Hood, grappling with the killer on her bed. Natalie enters and due to the really uncomfortable scene last time, she doesn’t turn on the lights and just goes to bed with her headphones on. Meanwhile, Tosh is strangled while
Natalie puts on light 90s pop and drifts off. …or did Natalie know the whole time and think to herself “That’s what you get for not using a sock on the door, jerk.”
The next morning Natalie awakes to find Tosh dead in a pool of blood. A message on the wall reads in her blood: “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?” [Urban Legend Counter: 10]
Later, Brenda and Paul arrive on the scene as Natalie is questioned by the Dean and SG Divine. Natalie is assured that “there are no signs of foul play” and that Tosh died by suicide.
Ah yes, the troubled Goth girl strangled herself, cut her own wrists, and left behind a bloody wall note ripped from an urban legend. That old chestnut.
Paul badgers Natalie, revealing that he knows that she knew Michelle. Natalie gets mad at him for poking into her personal life.
He comes back with “I’m just doin’ my job here!” Your ’job’? It’s a campus student paper not NPR!
To assure her, Paul says they can just talk. Off the record. So naturally, they chat at his desk in the newsroom. Oh Paul, you sneaky bee!
Paul and Natalie discuss how likely an urban legend-gimmicked serial killer is. Why like this? Why now? Who cares?
Paul points out that the murders could be connected to the frat Massacre Bash, especially as it’s the 25th anniversary of the supposed slayings. But the Stanley Hall Massacre story couldn’t be true—OR COULD IT?
They can’t find any records from the year of the massacre, and so they hop online–oh wait no, this movie just pretends the Internet doesn’t exist.
So instead they pester a Weird Janitor. Yeah, no joke, that’s the character’s name in the cast listing. He’s set up as a possible-killer, but if he doesn’t even have a name, he’s off the suspect list. He’s only noteworthy because he is played by Julian Richings, who got to play Death in ‘Supernatural.’
When asked about Stanley Hall, Weird Janitor enigmatically says, “Talk to Wexler.”
Wexler isn’t at his office when Paul and Natalie stop by. So they just break into his office. Cause that’s reasonable.
This is when Paul mentions that he dropped journalism ethics because he was failing out. Hey Paul, that doesn’t make you a badass rebel searching for The Truth, it means you are the portend of society’s doom circa 2020.
The pair snoop in Wexler’s office. He has a collection of baseball caps, which is adorable. They find a backroom with a fur-lined hooded jacket.
But there are other very questionable items in this back room. Taxidermy, puppets, … a pair of red panties with black lace that are NEVER addressed. Oh yeah: and an axe.
Wexler catches our snooping students, looking most disappointed—perhaps murderously so?
Later, the Dean is less than pleased with Paul and Natalie. What with the breaking and entering and accusing a tenured professor of murder.
Note: the Dean has a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in his office which is awfully weird, given that he’s British.
The Dean reveals more about Natalie’s Unspoken Past. She was previously on probation for a reckless endangerment charge, so she better watch her step. Oh, and Paul is kicked off the paper. Good. He’s gonna get their asses sued and will spawn the Fox News ‘standard’ of journalism.
We cut to the school gym. Apparently the school mascot is The Lumberjacks, which is a tongue-and-cheek touch I can appreciate. Crazy Eyes Brenda is doing an intensive swimming workout in a bikini—which you should only do if you desperately crave attention and a massive wedgie.
Natalie watches Brenda’s workout from an observation window. But oh noes, A Hooded Figure approaches Brenda!
Natalie heroically/stupidly breaks a window to play rescuer. But it’s revealed to just be an innocent student making terrible outerwear choices. Speaking of terrible choices, you’ve gotta stop breaking school property, Natalie.
Later, Natalie reveals to Brenda that she was friends with the murdered Michelle in high school. One night, Michelle convinced her to pull a prank to reenact the Gang High Beams legend. They accidentally caused a fatal car accident. Ah, a prequel episode in the “Natalie Has Poor Taste in Friends” series.
Unlike the film they’re clearly ripping off, these teens called a fucking ambulance and accepted the consequences of their actions.
Later, Paul is cleaning out his cluttered desk, what with being “fired” and all. He finds an old newspaper article revealing that—gasp!—the Stanley Hall Massacre was real! Didn’t see that coming!
Hilariously, the article does not name the actual murderer, it only just lists The Killer. As in “The Killer got away on foot.” The Killer also apparently didn’t kill with a knife but a fucking arsenal including automatic pistols and a goddamn machine gun! This isn’t brought up in the script, just the magic of the pause button and way too much quarantine time on my hands.
Meanwhile, the Dean is in the parking garage, headed home. He’s met by Security Guard Divine who wants extra guards what with all the weirdness happening and the Massacre Bash this weekend. The Dean brushes it aside, because school safety can fuck off. SG Divine calls him an asshole behind his back as she leaves and I love it.
But The Hood is under the car! The Hood pulls the ol’ Slasher Under the Car and slices the Dean, crippling him. [Urban Legend Counter: 11] The Dean tries to crawl away while The Hood releases the car’s emergency brake. Yep, and the car just leisurely rolls –menacingly!—after the Dean.
In spite of the slow speed of the car, somehow it hits the Dean and impales him on one-way traffic spikes. Meh, defies physics, but looks cool, so sure.
At the Massacre Bash, Parker is getting a little Yorkshire terrier drunk. Again: Fuck off. Again again: Natalie, Why Be Friends With These Assholes?
Sasha gets bothered at the party just so they can squeeze in the urban legend about the song ‘Roller Coaster of Love’. [Urban Legend Counter: 12]
Natalie goes to meet up with Brenda at the party. Suddenly Paul—apropos of nothing—just starts talking to Natalie’s back about the Stanley Hall Massacre being real. Natalie and Paul go off to a corner to discuss the details. Paul theorizes that Wexler must be so full of guilt that he’s gone mad and is committing the urban legend-themed murders. Well, sure, that’s just stupid enough to work in this movie.
Paul’s tried contacting the police, but the Dean has already told them to expect prank calls. What a dick, that Dean! I hope he get’s run over by his own car! And impaled!
Somehow this talk of massacres and mayhem turns Paul and Natalie on just enough to kiss. Which is so cringey. And not just because of current context re: Jared Leto. This guy is a jerk, he’s self-serving, totally lacks a humane bone in his body. Natalie, girl, you can do better than this!
Brenda arrives mid-smooch and gets huffy that Natalie is locking lips with her chosen ‘babe’. OMG, girl, you can HAVE him!
Meanwhile, SG Divine is doing her rounds and comes upon Wexler’s office which is trashed. She finds a pool of blood but no body. She calls 911, but is told that due to the ongoing storm, all units are responding to other calls.
SG Divine decides she’ll have to track down and take out this killer herself! YES! That is the movie I want! “SG Divine Came Here to Kick Ass and Watch Foxy Brown and She Already Watched Foxy Brown” would be the best film series ever. 8 sequels! At least!
Back at the party, Paul tries to get Parker to shut down the party. Parker mocks him in front of everyone and makes a pretty good case for why Paul might be the murderer just to get a good story.
That’s semi-believable given Paul’s personality-disorder’s worth of lost empathy AND the fact that that actually happened once. Paul leaves the party saying he’s going to get help. Or commit more murders. Meh, as long as he’s offscreen, I’m good.
Parker goes to his room for more booze and gets a call, shamelessly ripping off ‘Scream’. ‘Cause: why try?
Parker realizes the call is coming from inside the frat house somewhere and calls out the urban legend parallel. But the caller says that he’s wrong. Instead: “This is the one about the lady who dried off her wet dog in the microwave.” [Urban Legend Counter: 13]
You look at me.
You look at me in my eyeballs.
You better not, movie.
You better fucking not.
Well unfortunately… while American Horror Story which pulled the same bit but did a fake-out, ‘Urban Legend’ has no such standards for itself. The Yorkie gets it.
I just think any movie that’s gonna fail the ‘Does The Dog Die?’ test should do so for good reason. Instead the dog apparently gets its nose pierced, force-fed a keg of beer, and then meets this sticky end for no good reason. I don’t know what kind of dog-hater wrote this movie, but they suck.
Parker freaks and goes to the bathroom to puke at the sight. The Hood comes up from behind and drowns him to unconsciousness in the toilet. Parker later wakes up beaten and tied to the toilet. The Hood forces him to eat pop rocks and drain cleaner.
We cut back to the main floor of the party, which is still going on. Really? Murdered dog doesn’t stop the party?
And there’s no way Parker isn’t found or the Hood isn’t interrupted. We’ve all been to parties like this. Those bathrooms practically have a revolving door.
But no, apparently the music is loud enough to muffle Parker’s dying screams.
At the radio station, Sasha is doing her radio show. Remember Sasha? She’s been on screen for like 10 minutes? Well I hope you haven’t become too attached to her…
She takes a call from YET another sex urban legend [Urban Legend 14]. Meanwhile, her audio engineer is taken out by The Hood. The lights go out and the Hood smashes into the studio with an axe.
The show is still (somehow) broadcasting, so Sasha’s scream is sent over the radio waves—a really weak connection to the earlier ‘Rollercoaster of Love’ legend.
Natalie hears Sasha calling for help on a radio and goes to the rescue. Elsewhere on campus, SG Divine also hears the broadcast and heads out to kick some ass!
Sasha runs for her life through the building, the Hood in hot pursuit. In spite of wearing platforms, Sasha manages to stave off her grisly demise for a good long while.
But ultimately, she gets axed!—Bloodlessly and off screen, I might add. I’m all for avoiding exploitative violence and giving us a blonde we didn’t want to see die. BUT I’m pretty annoyed that the dog death is the most violent one in this whole movie. I am here for the senseless, gory slaughter of human beings, damn it.
Natalie arrives just as Sasha is axed. The Hood gives a menacing wave and Natalie flees.
As she runs away, Natalie bumps into Paul, who tells her the phones on campus are all dead due to the storm. They decide to leave campus to get help, and run into Brenda who is distraught from hearing Sasha’s broadcast.
The three pile into Paul’s car. They stop at a gas station and Paul goes in to check their phones. As Paul goes inside, Natalie and Brenda note a strange smell in the car. Suddenly, a watch alarm goes off. Now, if you have the subtitles on, you’re gonna miss the surprise, because the subtitles specifically say ‘Wexler’s watch alarm.’
Anyway, yeah they follow the smell and the sound and boo(?)—Wexler’s corpse is in the back seat. [Urban Legend Counter: I’ve lost track]
However, my vast knowledge of Forensic Files episodes tells me that Wexler couldn’t be smelling yet. He’s only been dead a few hours and the car trunk would be cold due to the rain, delaying decomposition. I mean it would have to be like he was left out in the hot sun and given some time for the internal gasses to— Ha ha, sorry, just ghoulish thoughts.
Natalie and Brenda look warily over to Paul in the gas station, assuming he’s the killer. They run into the woods as Paul chases after them. Remember this from ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer?’ Like the EXACT same comedy of errors?
Natalie loses Brenda in the woods, hearing her scream in the distance.
Natalie stops a passing truck driven by Weird Janitor. He picks Natalie up and he offers her a coat—the same style as The Hood. What is this, the Pendleton campus uniform? Was the original mascot The Fighting Puffy Coats?
Because she can’t make up her mind who the killer is, an unnerved Natalie tells Weird Janitor to let her out. She tries opening the door while the car goes, but the janitor tells her the door won’t open from the inside. UM. Kay. That’s totally fine. Not like disabling the passenger car door was a real lifehack of serial killer Ed Kemper.
I’m not saying Weird Janitor is The Killer, but he could be A killer.
Paul’s car approaches from the oncoming lane with the headlights out, The Hood driving.
Weird Janitor, mumbling about “darn kids and their working car doors and their Pokemons…”, flashes his brights just as Natalie dramatically screams “NO!”
The Hood manages to run Weird Janitor and Natalie off the road. In the crash, we see Weird Janitor dead or unconscious. OH no, WJ! We hardly knew ye! …and someone should probably check to see if you have completely unrelated bodies in your back seat…
Natalie runs from the wreck, heading back to campus through the woods.
At campus, SG Divine gets an even bigger gun out of a lock box. 2 guns?! She’s going to stalk around campus like a dual-wielding sheriff in a Douchey Hogwarts wild west? I love it yet am terrified.
Natalie arrives on campus in the rain, and hears Brenda screaming for help from within the abandoned Stanley Hall. Natalie runs to the rescue!
Before you can say ‘Admiral Ackbar!’, it’s clear Natalie is in a trap. She stumbles upon Parker’s body, The Dean’s body, Damon’s body, and the Xeroxed script of the climax from ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer.’
Natalie reaches the top floor, which is lit by candles.
She is quickly subdued by the Hood aka Crazy Eyes Brenda!
DUN DUN DUN!
Natalie wakes up tied to a bed as Brenda launches into her villain monologue. Brenda literally has a slide show presentation all about it. Fucking hilarious.
As it turns out, her boyfriend was the guy killed in the car wreck caused by Natalie and Michelle. Brenda has been out for Revenge ever since. Which is, ya know, copied almost exactly from the bad guy in I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Putting tits on the villain doesn’t make you ‘original’, Urban Legend!
Brenda plans to use Professor Wexler as a scapegoat for her crimes—which makes no sense because hacking yourself up is a really difficult suicide method and he’s been dead longer than half his supposed victims.
Plus, she’ll get to sexily comfort a devastated Paul as he writes that Pulitzer about the murderous professor. …wait I thought you just said you were doing all this because of your love for the dead guy?
…and I guess the murders of people who had nothing to do with it were just for funsies?
But whatever, Brenda’s nuttier than the ‘organic alternative’ section at Whole Foods. I can go with it.
You have to see this monologue to believe it, where Rebecca Gayheart is chowing down on that scenery like a starving possum on a buffet. Her bugged out eyes take up 1/3 of the screen, and the rest is taken up by her frizzy curls.
Brenda reveals that her pièce de résistance is to reenact The Kidney Theft legend with Natalie. [Urban Legend Counter: Oh Gawd is the movie over yet?]
Brenda gets out a scalpel and starts playing operation on Natalie when SG Divine busts in like the badass she is! But Brenda manages to stab SG Divine, grapple away the gun, and shoot her.
Our villain points the gun at Natalie next to finish up, but is interrupted by Paul. Paul enters via slow clap. Seriously. Like a bad movie. Oh wait…
Paul praises Brenda for her planning and agrees that this will make a perfect Pulitzer story. Muahahaha! Yeah it’s supposed to be a ruse, but Paul has been such a middling psychopath, I’d buy it.
But Brenda isn’t crazy enough to believe Paul has a sincere bone in his body and she readies to take out her last victims.
But SG Divine isn’t taken down so easy! She shoots Brenda with the other gun!
…okay well I guess the two guns thing seems less over the top now.
Natalie snags the other-other gun from Brenda and shoots her. Brenda is knocked out the window to the ground several stories down.
Paul and Natalie just leave SG Divine bleeding in the abandoned building and go get help. THE HELL? This woman saved your ungrateful white butts! Put pressure on the wound! Get the woman a pillow! Supposedly ‘paramedics are on the way’, but EMTs being on the way doesn’t mean you can leave someone prone and dying before they arrive!
Natalie pontificates that this harrowing adventure will become an urban legend as well. Whatever movie.
Suddenly we see Brenda rise from the back of the car with the trusty axe!
Ya’ll didn’t even check to see if the bitch was immobile? YOU ARE THE WORST, both of you!
Brenda attacks, and in the scuffle, Paul swerves onto a bridge. As he hits the brakes, Brenda goes flying through the windshield and plunges into the water below. But we immediately see her float to the surface face up, so she’s obviously still just fine and will leave to slash another day.
Paul and Natalie embrace. Sirens and lights flash on the background. They’re safe. But obviously not because Brenda is floating away to freedom….
We fade to a different campus where, much like at Pendleton, all the students look at least 29 years of age. One student is telling the urban legend of ‘Urban Legend.’ “No bro, it really happened, someone actually made a movie that was lazy EVEN for a slasher movie!”
Of course, it is revealed that Brenda is absolutely fine and alive. As the student wraps up the tale, she leans in and goes “Yeah, but this is how the story REALLY goes…”
The credits roll and my eyes roll right out of their sockets.
Some slashers are so bad, they’re good. Some slashers try really hard to convince you they’re good.
And some slashers, like Urban Legend, only exist for you to say “Why am I watching this?” and later “Did I ever watch that?”
I recommend ‘Urban Legend’ particularly as a drinking game movie–drink for every urban legend mentioned, every time you hate these characters, every time the plot is predictable, etc. Whatever it takes to get through it while still enjoying yourself. You’re not gonna remember it later anyway.
Maybe what Urban Legend is really missing is a good hook?
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This article is as predictable and tough to get through as you say the movie is. These are the same jokes literally everyone makes about every slasher, but being cliche isn’t where your hypocrisy ends. How are you gonna bash the professor for being misogynistic 2 paragraphs after you say Brenda is “head full of curls and not much else” and that Tara Reid is “surprisingly not hatable.” Also, commenting on Gayheart’s “crazy eyes” and alleged need for attention by wearing a bikini (not even) to swim as if that doesn’t rhyme with smishogyny. The movie is fun, which is a lot more than anyone can say about this article. If you’re going to write about horror, try having a love for the genre first, and maybe brush up on original jokes/critiques while you’re at it.