Urban Legends: Bloody Mary is the straight to DVD final chapter of the Urban Legends Trilogy. If anyone is thinking, “Well this doesn’t sound especially promising” well I’d certainly understand your skepticism. But I never disparage a straight to DVD release, and there’s nothing wrong with a solid franchise. Okay, Urban Legends isn’t exactly top-echelon Horror, but the original wasn’t that bad: The Face Cream Girl going crazy and Pacey from Dawson’s Creek daring to eat a of Pop-Rocks followed by a full can of soda pop. Good times. While I barely remember The Final Cut (the 2nd in the UL Franchise) and wasn’t really in a hurry to see the 3rd, Blood Mary had some surprisingly decent buzz. I even saw it on a couple “Best Horror of 2005” lists. So when I finally crossed paths with this film, I knew I had to give it a whirl.
Check out my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: On Homecoming night, Samantha, Gina, and Mindy are having a slumber party at Sam’s house due to being black-listed by the sexy football players. Since the dance and game are out of the question, the trio stays up and entertains themselves with Urban Legends…all leading up to BLOODY MARY. With nothing better to do and a whole night to waste, Sam chants “Bloody Mary.” Her friends laugh… “Bloody Mary.” More laughter. On the third and final “Bloody Mary,” the friends are kidnapped by three jocks and return soon thereafter, shaken but well. Sam begins having hallucinations and soon bodies turn up – is it all a high school prank taken to grisly extremes or is it Bloody Mary, who’s youth was taken far too early?
Well, I went in an open mind and I gave it a spin, but ultimately UL: Bloody Mary did not live up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a train wreck per say; there’s a good cast and a nuanced script that mostly suffers from biting off more than it can chew. I appreciate the attempt to shift towards the supernatural; diverting from the slasher framework of the first two films is ballsy, and Bloody Mary is one of the most enduring examples of Modern American Horror Mythology. UL: Bloody Mary is also clearly influenced by the wave of J-Horror remakes that were en vogue in the early ‘00’s; I detected tonal similarities to films like The Ring, Shutter, and One Missed Call. Unfortunately, this particular film is uneven in tempo and disjointed in presentation.
UL: Bloody Mary seems to be somewhat schizophrenic. One aspect of the film is a continuation of the Franchise’s bread and butter: Murders that bear the hallmarks of modern Urban Legends. We’ve the spider eggs in the face, the finger in a beer bottle, and an outrageously unintelligent jock pissing on an electric fence. We’ve also got the artificial sun-bather getting fried in a tanning bed, but that actually feels like a rip-off of the same scene in the Final Destination series (except with two girls and 4 boobies, FD did it way better).
The second schizophrenic personality in this movie is the titular Mary herself, although it must be noted: She’s not the Bloody Mary we all know and love. She’s just a ghost who coincidentally happens to be named Mary—who, coincidentally shows up the same night a female trio at a sleepover invokes her name three times. It’s not perfect by a long shot, but what really works to the film’s disadvantage is the way these two plotlines never really mesh. There are holes and inconsistencies and, well, poor storytelling. The filmmakers try valiantly to bring everything together under the Bloody Mary umbrella but, unfortunately, it just isn’t cohesive. So writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris along with director Mary Lambert were either ambitious or foolhardy. I can also imagine a meeting at Sony where some big decision-maker is like, “Well, we got this one script for Urban Legends 3 and we’ve got another scrip based on Bloody Mary and each one has some good things going on, so… Let’s just throw these writers together and see what happens.”
What happens is, Mary Banner (Lilith Fields) is a tragically misguided soul and the film itself is riddled with holes and inconsistencies.
And I can’t not mention the character of Grace Taylor (Tina Lifford), the heavily-afroed, bonged-out agoraphobic Black Power activist and 1960’s throwback, so… yeah, I’m mentioning it. What’s up with that? Ironically, this character is at once the best and the worst thing about UL: Bloody Mary. I hate that she’s such a blatant stereotype, but is she was a real person, I’d probably love her to death.
You can do worse, but not too much worse, because UL: Bloody Mary is a pretty bad movie. But it’s decent bubble-gum horror that won’t strain your brain and there are even a few seriously gory moments that will please most aficionados. They can’t all be winners.
2 out of 5
|Directed by||Mary Lambert|
|Produced by||Aaron Merrell
|Written by||Michael Dougherty
Michael G Coe,
|Music by||Jeff Rona|
|Editing by||Michelle Harrison|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Home Entertainment|
|Release dates||July 19, 2005|