For the sequel to the creative but utterly underwhelming “Urban Legends,” director John Ottman and the writers basically ape “Scream” by taking the premise and much of the film’s general concept to the world of filmmaking. This time around “Final Cut” centralizes its story on a film school where a bunch of wannabe directors and actors are being knocked off by a serial killer with a fencing mask. Granted, I’m not a fan of the “Scream” films, but often times “Final Cut” feels like a poor man’s version of the Wes Craven series. A bunch of glamorous young folks in their thirties play aspiring Hollywood artists/college students, all of whom are being offed one by one by a masked killer in some of the most grotesque and anti-climactic ways possible.
The sequel offers no actual link to the first film save for the return of Super Security Guard Reese (as played by Loretta Devine), and an Easter Egg in the closing credits. The attempts to somewhat mimic the whole Hollywood artifice of “Scream 3” by setting the majority of the horror film among the setting of horror movie set pieces, make the film less tense and atmospheric and more desperate to garner at least one fright from its audience. The entirety of the plot involves film students competing in a hallowed film competition, and the competition going one step too far. The entire slasher motif feels forced and is often a limp series of fake scares and really bad stalk and slash sequences. Director John Ottman creates zero tension or suspense, and he fails to muster up suspension of disbelief.
Especially when a character dies, and then later re-appears as his twin brother. It seems like a really bad attempt at a red herring, when really it’s just lazy casting that insults its audience. The entire cast, for the most part, are forgettable with one dimensional characters all posing as nothing but broad cliches, and fodder for the killer. One thing I’ve learned after watching “Final Cut,” is that I never actually tire of seeing Anthony Anderson get killed in slasher films. He just seems to warrant a brutal murder. That’s sick, isn’t it? The entire motivation for the killings and why it suddenly inflicted a psychotic breakdown is ridiculous, and aims to really convince audiences that it is a logical element in the killer’s motivation to murder people viciously
The final explanation is much too convoluted, while the villain takes a long time explaining themselves and mocking the heroes a la “Scream” saving time for a face off that’s anti-climactic and dull. “Final Cut” tries to mimic “Scream” while completely sidestepping the urban legend concept, which is a shame because there are plenty of tales of folklore out there that could serve as the basis for a horror film. “Urban Legends: Final Cut” is a flat and uninspiring slasher flick from the “Scream” age that just misses on every level. It’s a shame since the first film presented a glimmer of hope for a unique slasher series.