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Urban Legend Review

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A group of University students sit around discussing urban legends when a story is revealed about a killer on campus many years before... now it turns out, the killer is back...

★★★★

It was inevitable that once Scream set the teen horror bandwagon rolling, inferior rehashes would follow. To wit, Urban Legend, a film that takes the attractive young cast and bloody set pieces that initially attracted the punters to the Scream series, yet jettisons all the wit and style that made the Craven/ Williamson collaboration so distinctive.

It centres on Paul (Leto), Natalie (Witt), Brenda (Gayheart) and their pals at university who all sit around and discuss urban legends - the modern ghost stories just about everyone has heard some variation on. Many of these variations stem from their rather over zealous lecturer Professor Wexler (the inevitable Robert Englund). He teaches a class in Urban Legends revealing that this campus has its own legend - years before a killer went on a rampage through a now closed dorm building, killing several students along the way. Now it looks like the killer's back, and our attractive young cast are page one in his Most Likely To Get Butchered yearbook.

Despite a strong reputation for his early short movies, director Blanks delivers a wholly pedestrian feature debut in this by-numbers teen horror flick that could give you the impression Scream never really happened. (True, not all horror movies have to be ironic now but qualities like original or clever wouldn't go amiss). As ever with these movies, there's the odd impressive decapitation or blood curdling dismemberment - John Neville's punctured Dean being just about the best - and while some of the cast, particularly Witt, are fresh-faced and appealing, Englund really has out-stayed his welcome in the genre. At best, it could do for the fur-trimmed parka what I Know What You Did Last Summer did for the sou'wester, but that's about it.

By-the-numbers teen horror that is too predictable to shock and not self-knowing enough to be amusing.

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