intense moments, plenty of references to other films, clever gibes
at the whole movie industry culture, and much more content than
the nay-sayer critics recognize.
As the pic
opens, we see a group of college students flying back from vacationing
in Hawaii. Amidst the frolicking in the aisles, we come to notice
that a mad slasher is loose, and has already killed the crew!
As frantic Sandra (Jessica Cauffiel) enters the cockpit, trying
somehow to take control of the plane, with the killer pounding
on the locked door, Toby (Anson Mount) yells "Cut."
We have been watching a movie being filmed by students at fictional
Alpine University, home of the "greatest film school that
Many of the
students will be competing for the Hitchcock Award, that virtually
guarantees its winner a contract with a major film studio upon
graduation. Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison), daughter of a celebrated
documentary maker, and Travis Stark (Matthew Davis) are leading
to make a horror film, in which the perp stages urban legends
to kill his victims. Sound a lot like Urban Legend (1998)?
As Amy and
her cast and crew watch the dailies, they are surprised to see
a scene featuring Sandra, in her most convincing performance yet,
getting murdered à la Peeping Tom (1960). Assuming that
the clip was just put in as a lark, nothing more is made of it.
Sandra is not around for the screening, but was scheduled to be
out of town, to act in a commercial.
Amy visits Travis, who tells her that his film, which everyone
thought would be brilliant, has been given a very low grade. The
next day, Travis' suicide is announced to the students.
Trevor (Matthew Davis), Travis' heretofore unknown twin brother,
teams up with Amy to investigate. He is positive that Trevor would
not have killed himself.
around the film department, and discovers that the credits for
Travis' film were spliced to a terrible movie, that was not his.
While doing this, though, she is nearly killed by a slasher dressed
in a skull mask and cape.
One by one,
everybody who worked on Travis' film is being killed. That, of
course, is bad enough. Amy had no connection to his project, so
why is she also being targeted?
may surprise you, but since the film school setting of Urban Legend:
Final Cut is clearly based on the ultra-competitive and dripping
with attitude USC School of Cinema-Television, anything is possible.
the pic was shot on location at Trent University, in Peterborough,
Ontario, Canada--an academic institution that has no film school.
Moreover, the Canadian locale would signify the growing trend
to so-called runaway production, and pays homage to the early
second wave horror classic Black Christmas (1974), the first movie
featuring college students living in a big house, getting killed
one by one.
includes a surprisingly negative reference to George Lucas, a
former USC student. Perhaps it was in reaction to the over-hyped
and very disappointing Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
account the budgets available, and the directors' level of experience,
I much prefer Final Cut.