SPOILER ALERT !!
Hey Folks, Harry here with the man-god Vern and his preview look at URBAN LEGENDS 3: BLOODY MARY. Ya know… some folks have all the luck, Vern has the rest. Now, behold as he unveils to all of us – the films we’re dying to see are always in front of his eyes. Now here ya go…
Vern here on the straight to video beat. Usually I prefer the real whacked out bad ones (Seagal) but as a Positive individual and an idealist it is my duty to report when I manage to see one that’s surprisingly decent. Don’t get too excited, I’m not really recommending this picture. Standard direct to video rules apply. Probaly shouldn’t rent it, but if you’re stuck in a hotel somewhere and it’s on cable, and you don’t want to spring for the porn, it’s not that bad. Competence is a quality that is rare in the world of DTV sequels, so it’s worth applauding. Good job on the competence with this one, guys.
You may be familiar with the URBAN LEGEND(S) series, you just don’t remember that you are, because who the fuck cares. The first one was called URBAN LEGEND, it was one of the late ’90s SCREAM ripoffs, a formula “who is the masked killer?” movie with the murders based on famous urban legends, like the one where the guy blows up from eating too many pop rocks. The second one was URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT, where the title mysteriously became plural and the director was John Ottman, composer/editor for the Bryan Singer pictures. Not really connected to the first one but it’s another urban legend themed surprise masked slasher picture. It maybe had a little more class than the first one, but not much. So you guys probaly remember it only as the reason why John Ottman didn’t do the score for X-MEN.
Well now, who the fuck knows why – there’s no way to really know – but suddenly there’s a straight to video part 3, URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY. This time instead of getting Bryan Singer’s composer, they got his writers. The script is by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. They are the writers of X-MEN PART 2 and some upcoming ones like ENDER’S GAME, LOGAN’S RUN and one called SUPERMAN RETURNS. (I looked it up and it’s not the one with Richard Pryor, it is a new one that hasn’t come out yet. I never heard of the dude playing Superman but otherwise it sounds like a theatrical release. Harry maybe your goons could look into this.)
The director for BLOODY MARY is non-bloody Mary Lambert, who did the PET CEMETERY movies, and some other worse ones. At least I heard of her though. Compared to most DTV directors, she’s a legend.
This one isn’t really connected to the others (there’s just a reference to the first one in a newspaper article) and instead of following the SCREAM formula it’s more in a THE RING mold. It’s another series of urban legend inspired deaths but this time the perpetrator is the ghost of a poor gal killed by her date on prom night 1969. Not one of the better prom dates it sounds like. Of course there are two teens, a brother and sister, who have to get to the bottom of it. They know about the ghost but nobody believes them, and they have to figure out the pattern and how to stop the curse. spooooky.
It follows the expected formula but like I said, it does it with stunning adequacy. A shoo-in for many of this year’s top 100 most okay movies lists. There are actually some smart moves here and there. Instead of some wise voodoo woman or tarot card reader giving them exposition, they go to a burnt out stoner ex-revolutionary who still has an afro so you recognize her from the 1969 flashbacks. Everything she tells them is true, but she seems to mainly know it because she’s stoned out of her mind. I also liked how the kids had to go to school for the old “research the ridiculously complete online newspaper archives” scene because their internet at home is dial-up. The bad guys are the football team, and one of them is a pretty hilarious dumb jock stereotype with two ridiculous hoop earrings, and he dies taking a piss. Another guy spends his last night in the most sleazy way possible: drinking a 40 in a cheap hotel, watching scrambled porn (URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY wasn’t on) while his dog farts and licks his fingers.
The cast is not ready for theatrical but they all do fine and, in a weird twist, the actors look like they could actually be in high school. Freddy Prinze Jr. I guess was busy.
Most importantly, there’s some pretty gruesome deaths. The most memorable one involves 1) large mirror shards and 2) hundreds of spiders. Okay, so they’re CGI spiders, and they make that stupid squeaky noise that bugs in movies always make and bugs in real life could not possibly make, even with training. So it’s not perfect but it’s still pretty god damned disgusting. Good job on that one.
I don’t know though, this urban legend gimmick sounds good on paper, but it doesn’t really do much for me. They already did the pop rocks and waking up without a kidney in the previous installments, so what does that leave? I was hoping they would work in the one about Alphonso Ribeiro breaking his neck doing a headspin. Or the one about how there’s two different endings to KING KONG VS. GODZILLA. I guess they couldn’t figure out a way to work those in.
Well that’s about it. In summary: this movie is not really that bad, which for a movie like this is an astonishing achievement. Before I go though I want to suggest a topic for the talkbacks. Everyone is always amazed to find out what movies get DTV sequels. For example I liked MIMIC okay, but where the hell did those two sequels come from? So I would like everybody to suggest other movies for mysterious out of the blue video sequeling. Picture these suddenly showing up, with low budgets and new casts: THE RELIC II, ENTRAPMENT 2, GUNG HO: THE NEW BATCH, I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID AGAIN LAST SUMMER, DANGEROUS MINDS: ASSIGNMENT MIAMI, GHOST DOG: RESURRECTION, EDTV.COM, and DEEPER RISING (starring Tom Berenger instead of Treat Williams, a reverse SUBSTITUTE maneuver).
anyway, thanks for your time, stop me before I watch again
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/20292