While Urban Legends: Final Cut
is not nearly as terrifying or inventive as some of its predecessors, the film does offer up a fairly suspenseful whodunit that fans of the teen horror genre will likely appreciate. Amy Mayfield, the film's heroine (played by fresh-faced Jennifer Morrison), is the daughter of an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker trying to make a name for herself at Alpine University, "the greatest film school that ever existed." Along with several other students she is competing for the coveted Hitchcock award, which virtually guarantees the winner a successful career in Hollywood. When the film school's resident genius and likely winner of the award is found dead, suspicions arise. As other film students are killed off one by one, everyone becomes a suspect. Would someone kill to win the prestigious award?
While striving to be Hitchcockian in theme (as evidenced by its multiple references to the director himself), the film never quite moves beyond cliché. Many scenes are a little too reminiscent of other popular teen horror flicks like Scream (the anonymous masked killer, though not nearly as frightening), The Blair Witch Project (Amy is chased through desolate woods by her stalker), and Friday the 13th (Amy hides from the killer in a lake setting eerily similar to the one where Jason died so many years ago). These elements seem just a little worn out. Morrison gives a serviceable performance, and Loretta Devine, from the original Urban Legend, adds humor as a Foxy Brown-worshiping security guard. The film manages to keep you guessing until its conclusion, and a sequence set in an abandoned amusement park is truly creepy. But ultimately Urban Legends: Final Cut lacks the originality to make a name for itself among the many films of its genre. --Mindy Ruehmann