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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jamie Blanks
Cast:
Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart
Writing Credits:
Silvio Horta

Synopsis:
A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.

Box Office:
Budget:
$14 million.
Opening Weekend:
$10,515,444 on 2257 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$38,072,438.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $34.93
Release Date: 11/20/2018

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Jamie Blanks, Writer Silvio Horta, and Actor Michael Rosenbaum
• Audio Commentary with Director Jamie Blanks, Producer Michael McDonell and Assistant Director Edgar Pablos
• “Urban Legacy” Featurettes
• “Behind the Scenes Footage”
• Archival Featurette
• Deleted Scene
• Gag Reel
• TV Spots
• Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


RELATED REVIEWS


Urban Legend: Collector's Edition [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 15, 2018)

In the wake of the success earned by 1996’s Scream, a whole slew of horror flicks built around young ensemble casts hit screens. Into this climate stepped 1998’s Urban Legend.

At Pendleton University, Natalie Simon (Alicia Witt) takes a class on folklore that delves into urban legends. Among those related by Professor Wexler (Robert Englund), Natalie learns of Pendleton’s own allegedly haunted past, as rumors of a psychotic, murderous professor exist.

Fiction meets reality when someone embarks on a killing spree at Pendleton, and this person uses methods that match classic urban legends. Natalie becomes involved because her friends wind up among the victims, so she works to find the murderer and save her own life.

As horror film concepts go, Urban Legend shows promise. Admittedly, the theme feels like something more at home in the 80s, but Legend manages a 90s twist, mainly via its sense of self-reference.

Any horror flick that casts Robert Englund – aka Freddy Krueger – obviously goes for a “meta” feel, and the movie comes with others who boast a strong genre connection as well. For instance, Child’s Play’s Brad Dourif also appears here, and that “wink wink nudge nudge” aspect of Legend lends a serious 90s vibe.

Audiences didn’t really embrace Legend, as it made a mere $38 million in the US – or about 37 percent of what Scream earned. Still, with a low $14 million budget – and another $34 million from overseas tickets - Legend turned a good profit, enough to generate a couple of less successful sequels.

Despite the intriguing premise, though, Legend lacks much oomph. It comes across as a semi-transparent echo of Scream that fails to deliver much drama.

Actually, Legend starts pretty well, as the opening sequence brings a good twist on the overall theme. It milks various aspects of the “urban legends” concept and boasts some real tension and terror.

After that, though, Legend falls into a sluggish groove that creates a sleepy tale. The film follows a predictable “murder, investigate, murder, investigate” template typical for the genre, and it never manages to escape from that tedious trail.

I can accept the movie’s trite elements, as most horror films go down paths we can anticipate in advance. Legend loses me due to its torpor, however.

Even with all the violent mayhem on display, Legend simply fails to boast any energy. It lollygags from one scene to another and never threatens to break out of its doldrums.

Back in 1998, Legend boasted a cast of young actors whose futures looked bright. Surprisingly, only one earned “A”-list status: Jared Leto, also the film’s sole Oscar winner.

The others largely peaked in the 90s. Oh, some respectable careers came after 1998, but mainly the cast looks like a relic of its era.

None of the actors manage to elevate their parts or the movie. Instead, they fall prey to the general sleepiness that torments Legend, so they give us dull, forgettable performances.

All of these issues strike me as a shame, as I think Legend comes with potential to turn into a winning horror movie. Instead, it never rises above the level of Scream wannabe.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus A

Urban Legend appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer showed some mild issues but usually looked fine.

For the most part, sharpness was good. However, exceptions occurred, as some aspects of the flick – mostly wider elements – could be a little mushy and ill-defined. Still, the majority of the film demonstrated positive delineation.

I witnessed no jagged edges, shimmering or haloes, and print flaws were absent. I detected no specks or other issues.

Legend went with a subdued palette, and the colors lacked much impact. Some of that seemed by design but some of it reflected the less than stellar film stocks in use, so expect hues that appeared decent but unexceptional.

Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows showed good clarity. This wasn’t a stunning presentation, but it usually fared well.

Though heavy on ambience, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack appeared more than adequate. The soundfield gave us a decent sense of atmosphere, and it kicked into higher gear when necessary.

Unsurprisingly, those moments occurred mainly during the scenes that conveyed action/horror elements. Though a lot of the track lacked ambition, the “money shots” kicked to life well enough to balance out the less involving bits.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other problems.

Music was bright and dynamic, while effects appeared solid, without obvious distortion or other issues. While not a great mix, the audio seemed acceptable for the material.

We get a slew of extras across this two-Blu-ray set. In addition to the film’s trailer, Disc One sports two separate audio commentaries.

Recorded 20 years ago for the movie’s initial DVD release, the first track comes from director Jamie Blanks, writer Silvio Horta, and actor Michael Rosenbaum. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters/script, stunts and action, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing and deleted scenes, and related topics.

Overall, this becomes a good commentary. Recorded while the movie remained in wide release, we get a nice array of notes, and these shed light on the production. I could live without Rosenbaum’s subpar stabs at humor, but nonetheless, the track works well most of the time.

For the second commentary, we get a circa 2018 recording with director Jamie Blanks, producer Michael McDonnell and assistant director Edgar Pablos. Along with moderator Peter Bracke, all three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, sound and music, sets and locations, cast and performances, influences/references and other connected domains.

Objectively, this provides a pretty good commentary, but it offers a less fulfilling listen after the 1998 track. Though not too much material repeats from the earlier track, the 2018 discussion just lacks its predecessor’s energy and level of information. Still, the newer piece acts as a good complement and deserves a listen.

On Disc Two, the main attraction comes from Urban Legacy, a 10-part compilation of featurettes. It encompasses “The Story Behind Urban Legend” (9:37), “Assembling the Team” (17:44), “A Cast of Legends” (18:46), “There’s Someone in the Back Seat” (15:42), “Stories from the Set” (28:39). “Campus Carnage” (23:30), “A Legendary Composer” (16:29), “A Lasting Legacy” (17:01), “Extended Interviews” (39:44) and “Extended Interviews – Part 2” (33:46).

Across these, we hear from Blanks, Bracke, Horta, McDonnell, Pablos, Rosenbaum, producers Neal Moritz and Gina Matthews, executive producer Brad Luff, Phoenix Pictures chairman/CEO Mike Medavoy, Phoenix creative executive Nick Osborne, Blanks’ manager Simon Millar, production designer Charles Breen, director of photography James Chressanthis, editor Jay Cassidy, composer Christopher Young, and actors Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Robert Englund, Tara Reid, Loretta Devine, Danielle Harris, and Natasha Gregson Wagner.

“Legacy” examines the state of horror cinema in the 1990s and the path Legend took to the screen. It also looks at how Blanks and others got the job, casting and performances, the film’s approach to violence/horror, Blanks’ work as a first-time director, sets and locations, stunts and action, music, the movie’s release and reception.

Though “Legacy” doesn’t completely play like one long documentary, it largely works that way, and it brings a long experience, as its 10 parts add to about three hours, 40 minutes. That allows it a lot of room to breathe and bring us an extensive view of the production.

Overall, “Legacy” works well. It doesn’t tell us much about some of the technical areas like effects, but it still delivers a lot of good information.

Note that the “Extended Interviews” seem fairly interesting but they veer away from the making of Legend a lot of the time. Still, they’re worth a viewing for fans.

Three segments of Behind the Scenes Footage come next, and these fill a total of 54 minutes. Across these, we get glimpses of the shoot at various stages.

I like this kind of material and the “Footage” offers a pretty good collection. Some of it becomes a bit tedious – especially when we see actors mug for the camera – but we find a reasonable compilation of behind the scenes shots.

An Archival Making of Featurette runs 10 minutes, nine seconds and mainly focuses on “B-Roll” footage accompanied by commentary from Blanks and Horta. (I guess – the piece doesn’t identify the speakers but I recognize Blanks’ voice.)

I expected this to provide a bland promo piece, so the look at the production offers a pleasant surprise. We get some good footage here, and Blanks’ commentary adds to the mix.

One Deleted Scene lasts two minutes, 40 seconds. It shows a fairly comedic sex scene that’s mildly interesting to see.

Note that the deleted scene also appears during the “Archival Featurette”. That makes it somewhat redundant on its own.

In addition to four TV spots, we finish with a Gag Reel. It goes for two minutes, 14 seconds and brings the usual fare. Apparently taken from the 1999 DVD, it looks awful, and the content doesn’t do much to entertain.

Although the basic premise of Urban Legend boasts the potential to create a fun horror flick, the end result flops. The film winds up as a morass of clichés without any inspiration or thrills. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio as well as an extensive roster of supplements. Fans will feel happy with this release, but the movie itself leaves me cold.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main