Urban Legend

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Details At A Glance

Category Horror Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - Jamie Blanks (Director), Michael Rosenbaum (Actor), Silvio Horta (Screenwriter)
Running Time 95:38 minutes Other Extras Cast Filmographies
Featurette - Behind The Scenes (6 mins)
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Jamie Blanks

Columbia Tristar
Starring Jared Leto
Alicia Witt
Rebecca Gayheart
Joshua Jackson
Loretta Devine
Tara Reid
Michael Rosenbaum
Robert Englund
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Christopher Young

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly

Plot Synopsis

    Urban Legend is a very decent horror movie, only slightly let down by its ultimate resolution, which I personally felt was quite a disappointment and somewhat inconsistent with the events leading up it. Nonetheless, there are plenty of decent scares, and a lot of tension whilst you are trying to figure out who the killer is. You see, there is a killer loose in Pendleton College, but this is no ordinary killer. This killer bases their kills on urban legends, such as the one about the killer in the back seat of a car at a service station.

    The cast is a well-balanced ensemble cast, and pretty much anybody could be the killer - at least until they die. I certainly didn't pick the ending at all, and got plenty of scares along the way.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. It is immaculate and is of reference quality. I could not fault this transfer in any way.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear. There are a lot of scenes with dramatic differences in brightness, such as with flashes of lightning, and these are all rendered perfectly, with no blooming. The amount of detail revealed in this transfer is spectacular at times, with every little nuance of detail being immaculately rendered. Shadow detail was excellent, with plenty of details visible in the darker scenes, except where the director didn't want details to be seen. There was no low level noise.

    The colours were perfectly rendered, with spot-on flesh tones, and perfect colour saturation.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. There were no film-to-video artefacts seen. There were no film artefacts seen.


    As with the video transfer, the audio transfer and design of this movie is immaculate, and is of reference quality.

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, and the English Audio Commentary track, in Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded sound. The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to both the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and to the English Audio Commentary soundtrack.

    Dialogue was always very clear and very easy to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems, even with dialogue that was ADRed.

    The score by Christopher Young was perfectly matched to the movie, with the appropriate shocks being delivered at the appropriate times, and with the music enhancing the moods of various scenes.

    The surround channels were aggressively used, but in a subtle fashion. There was lots of ambience and lots of music placed in the surrounds, as well as the occasional special effect. Split surround effects were utilized at times for more precise sound placement in the soundfield. The overall effect of this soundtrack was to envelop and immerse the viewer in the movie, without ever becoming distracting or calling attention to itself. Top marks for this surround design.

    The .1 channel was moderately active, and was an excellent enhancement to the soundtrack. Once again, it was superbly integrated into the overall soundtrack.


    This disc has an excellent selection of extras. The Dolby Digital City trailer is on this disc.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    We miss out on;


    The menu design is a minor disappointment in that it is quite hard to select specific scenes, despite the appropriate theming of the menus.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Filmographies - Cast

    A reasonably comprehensive listing of who has been in what.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes

    This is a typical promo featurette and is of limited value.

Audio Commentary - Jamie Blanks (Director), Michael Rosenbaum (Actor), Silvio Horta (Screenwriter)

    This is a great commentary track. All of the voices are mixed into the centre channel, with the movie soundtrack playing softly in the background. The commentary is led by Jamie Blanks, and they all appear to be having a great time watching and discussing the movie. There is a wealth of information provided, from specific scene considerations to general anecdotes. This commentary is well worth the time spent listening to it.

    The only downside is that they refer to deleted scenes as if they were present on the DVD as an extra - unfortunately, they are not present, neither on the Region 4 disc nor on the Region 1 disc, so it appears as if they had to be left off for some reason, which is a great shame.
[Addendum 11th September 1999: I have been told that the featurette on the Region 1 version of this disc is longer than the featurette on the Region 4 version of this disc, and that it contains the deleted scenes referred to in the audio commentary.]


    Other than feeling slightly cheated by the outcome of the movie, I felt Urban Legend was an excellent horror movie.

    The video quality is superb, and is of reference quality.

    The audio quality is superb, and is of reference quality.

    The extras are excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
12th August 1999
Amended 11th September 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer