Color, 2000, 98 mins. 21 secs.
Directed by John Ottman
Starring Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner, Loretta Devine, Joey Lawrence, Anson Mount, Eva Mendes, Jessica Cauffiel, Anthony Anderson, Michael Bacall, Marco Hofschneider, Jacinda Barrett
Scream Factory (Blu-ray) (US RA HD), Sony (DVD) (US NTSC R0), Via Vision (Blu-ray) (Australia R0 HD) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9)

A Urban Legends Final Cutsequel that caused Urban Legends Final Cutmore than a bit of head scratching when it was first announced, Urban Legends: Final Cut was clearly intended to be the next step in a franchise to compete with Scream (whose third installment also opened in 2000) and the ongoing Chucky and Final Destination series. However, this entry had a few unexpected wrinkles that made it more intriguing than the average slasher film, namely following a different set of characters (apart from a welcome return appearance by a promoted Loretta Devine and a fun last minute cameo at the end) and handing directorial reins to John Ottman. A multitasker best known for editing and scoring almost all of Bryan Singer's films all the way back to their debut, Public Access, Ottman performed multiple duties on this film as well; though it would prove to be his only directorial feature, Final Cut acquitted itself honorably enough and would go on to spawn a third, direct-to-video entry from Mary Lambert, the unconnected Urban Legends: Bloody Mary.

At a prestigious film school, the class of Professor Solomon (Bochner) is going to extreme measures to win the much-coveted Hitchcock Award. An ambitious plane crash short film features the students in various roles for the director, Travis (Davis), whose vision is marred by the wildly subpar acting attempts of fellow student Sandra (Cauffiel). Meanwhile Amy (Morrison) is inspired by a conversation with Renee (Devine), the security guard from the first film, to go for the big prize by making her own thesis film Urban Legends Final Cutbased on famous Urban Legends Final Cuturban legends. A nasty spat involving plagiarism accusations results in a crew shakeup, but even worse, a maniac wearing a fencing mask is starting to kill off the students using the urban legend idea in real life.

The idea of using another first-time director for this sequel is a laudable one even if the results are far more uneven, with the grisly horror angle pushed more to the forefront along with more prominent comic relief from Devine and wisecracking future Black-ish star Anthony Anderson. The rest of the cast is fairly surreal as well with sitcom star Joey Lawrence rubbing shoulders with Europa Europa's Marco Hofschneider, playing up Eurotrash stereotypes in a really odd bid for Hollywood acceptance. It's a great-looking film with lots of creative visual ideas making use of the clever idea of mounting a slasher film in a film school, though the whole Hitchcock Award idea is too precious by half. That said, as a modest turn of the millennium slasher it's still an entertaining ride with at least one truly scary, spectacular sequence riffing on a famous urban legend involving organ removal.

Sony first issued this film on DVD in 2001 with a solid transfer for the time along with an interesting commentary by Ottman (who was probably worn out by the time he finished Urban Legends Final Cutand notes Urban Legends Final Cutsignificant editing and production issues along the way), a batch of deleted character development scenes (8m29s), an EPK-style featurette (3m35s), a gag reel (4m59s), and the theatrical trailer. An HD master was later struck around the same time the first film hit Blu-ray and made the rounds for a long time on the Sony Movie Channel, but it didn't hit physical media until its inclusion in a 2017 Australian box with the other two films in the series (retaining the preexisting special features).

The film later made its American Blu-ray debut in 2018 from Scream Factory in an expanded special edition timed to coincide with the label's lavish two-disc release of its cinematic predecessor. The Sony-provided transfer is excellent as you'd expect and in keeping with the studio's track record, and the DTS-HD MA English 5.1 and 2.0 tracks (with optional English SDH subtitles) is also still a fun one with lots of thunder, lightning, and loud music to keep your speakers stimulated. The new featurette "The Legend Continues" (17m4s) features producers Gina Matthews Urban Legends Final Cutand Michael McDonnell, executive Urban Legends Final Cutproducers Nick Osborne and Brad Luff, Phoenix Pictures Chairman And CEO Of Phoenix Pictures Mike Medavoy, first film writer Silvio Horta, and Devine and Rebecca Gayheart, all participants seen in Scream Factory's two-disc set of the first film. It's an interesting snapshot of how the film came together with the wheels in motion right after the release of the first one, though they reinforce the questionable idea that Ottman was aiming for more of a thriller than a horror film -- given that this one amps up the gore and body count considerably. They also explore some additions made to the film after test screenings, most notably the addition of the kidney sequence (which was written after the fact by Horta). A new interview with Cauffiel (16m41s) is easily the most memorable thing on the disc, especially as she recalls some potent details about shooting the "mile high" opener, her intense reaction to shooting a death scene, and other memories of the Vancouver shoot.

Reviewed on November 17, 2018.