AMERICA HATES TEENAGERS. I think this started in the late '70s and early '80s, when the slasher film first became a huge genre. Everywhere you looked, there was someone in a hockey mask slicing up teenagers.
It was like there was some kind of contest to see who could dream up the most gruesome way to kill a teen. Dismemberment, disfigurement, beheading and evisceration became so commonplace that one was surprised to encounter a teenager who was not oozing blood from a myriad of artfully crafted wounds.
I figure the baby boomers started this teen hatred thing when they realized that their arrested adolescence was officially over, and that they would have to decide between ponytails and comb-overs. Sadly, many chose both, and they subjected us to the worst hair concept since the last of the old French aristocrats were killed off. As a result of their poor hair choices and drooping bottoms, the boomers were faced, for the first time in their lives, with the presence of people who were younger and prettier than they were. Their only response was to get revenge by bathing us in blood. Soon, movie screens were flooded with the likes of Halloween, Sleepaway Camp, Friday the 13th and Star Wars. (OK, no teens are killed in Star Wars, but let's face it, it's a crappy movie.)
Now it's reached the point where when you see a teen in a movie, you just expect to see her turn around to reveal a knife wedged in her back. If that's the kind of thing you go for, you won't be disappointed in Urban Legends: Final Cut. But if you were so unfortunate as to be born with taste, or sensitivity, or the standard 46 chromosomes, you may not find UL:FC quite to your liking.
It has little plot, but it does feature, within the first 20 minutes, an intensely gruesome scene in which a woman wakes up to find her kidney on a plate beside her. This seems to be an undesirable experience, as she responds to it by trying to escape from the maniacal killer who creatively sticks his hand into her open abdomen in order to keep her from fleeing. Luckily, a window falls and cuts her head off, bringing this unpleasant cinematic moment to a close.
A woman behind me in the movie theater noted that this was horrible, and got up to leave. I can only assume that the rest of the audience was either too drunk to do the same, or had been super-glued into their seats, because that was about the high point of the film.
It's difficult to decide what's worse, pointless gore or a plotless bore, but Urban Legends: Final Cut allows you to do a side-by-side comparison as it features the former and is the latter.
Still, if you just hate teens, I guess there's a reason to go see this kind of thing. And really, it's no longer just the baby boomers who hate teens; their hatred seems to have infected people from all walks of life. Other teens, in crude but effective demonstration of their hatred of teens, have taken to bringing automatic weapons with them to school. The average serial killer seems to think that teens make the finest targets. The U.S. government allows ill-prepared teenagers to drive cars, thus making automobiles a leading cause of teen death. Jive Records has put out not one, but two Britney Spears records. Will the hatred never cease?
Probably not. Urban Legends is actually a sequel to a mediocre, though not spectacularly bad, slasher film. The only holdover from the original cast is Loretta Devine, who played a campus security guard in the first movie, and stretches her cinematic muscles in the sequel by playing a campus security guard at another campus!
This time it's a film school, and one of the students is making a slasher film, only her cast and crew keep getting killed by an actual slasher. This just happens to be the same plot as Scream 3, a film well worth emulating if you're trying to make a really sucky movie.
It's also a plot that fosters a lot of self-conscious self-congratulation in the film's dialogue. "This movie is about a serial killer who bases his murders on urban legends," says the directorial teen at the helm of the film-within-a-film.
"That's cool ... that's great!" says her professor, thus allowing the script of this film to not only compliment itself, but also its predecessor. With the film giving itself a glowing review, I'm guessing the final reviewers' scorecard will read 1 in favor, 317 against.
The one thing I liked about this movie was the set. The film school has that late '60s/early '70s campus architecture that made everything look like a cross between a prison and Logan's Run. In fact, there are even oddly angled cement pillars on the set that look like the crystalline statue of a hand that stood in the center of the Logan's Run city.
And come to think of it, Logan's Run is kind of the anti-slasher film. Made in the '70s, when the baby boomers were still young and pretty, it's about a society that kills off anyone who reaches the age of 30. Which now leads me to believe that the boomers are out to kill everyone who doesn't think of Woodstock as a transplendent and defining cultural moment. So please, if you see anyone who looks like he or she was born in the late '40s through mid-'50s, I beg you, run, hide and do not allow them near you. If the movies are any indication of actual reality (and, ever since I saw The Incredible Mr. Limpet, I'm convinced that they are), an encounter with such a person can only lead to your brutal murder at the hands of a homicidal Simon and Garfunkel fan.
Urban Legends: Final Cut is playing at Foothills (742-6174), Century Park (620-0750), Century Gateway (792-9000) and Century El Con (202-3343).