One important thing that I think needs to happen in a horror film, is to have someone die right at the beginning. Thankfully, this happens here (no I'm not ruining anything here. If you can't tell she's going to die you're not a movie fan). Another thing I like is when there aren't these long, drawn out sequences when nothing happens. Thankfully, people die left and right in this film. The movie takes place on a college campus in New Hampshire. It seems, someone is killing people in the form of urban legends. An urban legend is, well, read the picture at the top of the page. For instance, eating pop rocks and drinking soda will blow up your stomach. Or the story of the babysitter who gets strange phone calls only to realize that the calls are coming from inside the house. Stories that we've all heard, stories that everyone swears they know someone it happened to. All these urban legend killings seem to center around one student (Alicia Witt) and she can't seem to figure out why. Soon she realizes that her past is coming back to haunt her.
As in most horror films of this nature, the trick is to figure out who the killer is as soon as possible, so you can lean over to your friend and ruin it for them. This movie does a nice jon of setting up a lot of possible suspects. Then as the suspects die one by one, you're left with a couple possible choices. I'll admit, this one had me fooled for most of the movie, but I did figure it out before the killer was revealed. I guess the biggest problem was the cheese factor. A lot of what happened was very cliche. I could predict lines that were going to happen next ("is somebody in here?") and I could predict when the next "fake" scare was going to come from (whenever someone backs into a room, as soon as they turn around BAM! someone is there. never fails). And the ending explanation (why do all killers need to explain themselves?) was a little over the top. In today's horror films, if you want to make money, you need to realize that today's fans are a little smarter than they were 20 years ago. If you thought someone was killing people on campus (friends of yours no less), would you walk around alone at night? I think not.
What I did like was the atmosphere. The movie had a brooding sort of quality to it. While the script wasn't as strong as it could have been, it still was sharp. Some lines were pretty funny (the Noxima line at the end comes to mind). Most importantly, I left the movie feeling good, and I enjoyed myself while watching. Overall Urban Legend was an entertaining horror film. Not quite up there with the likes of a Scream but still fun to watch. It's even more fun to make fun of as you watch. I think you know what I mean.