Region 1 version


Director: Jamie Blanks

Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart

The proliferation of urban myths in the last decade or two has been remarkable. Idle chatter that was once referred to as “old wives tales” now has the added power of narrative, and the benefit of instant digital communication, which makes it possible for outré stories to spread across the globe within hours. There have been movies about urban myths before, (Bernard Rose’s impressive Candyman (1992), referenced here in the “Bloody Mary” scenes, for example), but Urban Legend is the first horror film from a major studio to take the stories themselves as its theme. As a primer to the subject it’s a great popcorn movie. It has a cast of appealing young things, (who frequently indulge in the sort of activities that appealing young things indulge themselves in), some excellent widescreen (2.35:1) cinematography (reproduced in fine detail on this DVD version, enhanced for 16:9 sets), and some very nice set pieces. It also has some nice cameo appearances, (including A Nightmare on Elm Street star Robert Englund and, appropriately enough, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’s John Neville), and a powerful score by Christopher (Hellraiser) Young. The DVD features a commentary track by the film’s writer, one of the cast members, and young Australian director Jamie Blanks, and also contains potted biographies of most major cast members.

By reading the blurb on the back of the box you might get the impression that the UK and US versions of the disc are pretty much the same. You’d be mistaken. The main difference is that the US disc is double-sided, offering a choice of full-screen or widescreen versions. It also offers Dolby 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Surround sound. The UK disc has Dolby 5.1 soundtracks in English and German, and numerous foreign subtitle options that aren’t on the Region 1 disc. Both discs have the same theatrical trailer, although on the UK disc the sound has been mastered incorrectly. The UK disc has a six-minute “Making of…” featurette, which skillfully blends trailer-type footage with behind the scenes footage and vacuous sound bite interviews. The US disc has a lengthier, more rough-and-ready, look at several key sequences being shot, narrated by the director. The US version also features a deleted scene – a sex scene at that! – featuring Tara Reid’s character, in rough-cut form; a juicy bonus inexplicably missing from the British disc. Fans of the film will probably want to get both versions, especially as the UK disc is noticeably sharper than its American counterpart.


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