Urban Legend: A humorous or horrific story or piece of information circulated as though true, especially one purporting to involve someone vaguely related or known to the teller.
Stop us if you’ve heard this kooky urban legend before: In 1998 a middle of the road programmer called Urban Legend hit mall cineplexes nationwide. It materialized during the wake of the slasher-horror revival brought about by Kevin Williamson’s and Wes Craven’s magnificent genre-busting film Scream and it featured what was to become the tropes of the revival; a fresh and good looking cast ready for their WB close-up, meta-pop culture commentary from so-hep it’s almost painful characters and a decidedly over the top and campy reveal of just who the villain was perpetrating the series of grisly and bloody killings based off of popular urban legends. Wanna know the real sly and wicked twist to this dastardly campfire story? The Jamie Blanks directed scare-fest turned a tidy profit at the ever-important box office, ensuring two sequels; now that’s scary. Even as the original film’s talented cast (including such future heavyweights as Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart and Joshua Jackson, not to mention a fun cameo by horror legend Robert Englund) scratched their well-coifed heads in utter puzzlement over the first endeavor’s unexpected success, the film was already well on its way to building its sizeable fan-base that would ensure it would live on in late night USA network showings for perpetuity.
Screen Gems announced back in the halcyon days of February that they were actively pursuing a full-fledged remake of the Urban Legends property with director Colin Minihan (It Stains the Sands Red, Grave Encounters) tapped to do the writing and directing honors on this new iteration. Mike Medavoy and Benjamin Anderson will handle production for Phoenix Pictures and those rascally big wheels over at Screen Gems – namely Michael Bitar and Eric Paquette – will keep an eagle eye on the film for the redoubtable studio.
In a statement, Screen Gems reported that the remake “will center on a diverse cast of college students as they navigate a series of bizarre deaths that resemble urban legends linked to the darkest corners of social media.” So this new take is different than original Urban Legends scribe Silvio Horta’s story, but still comfortably the same, too. I suddenly feel a Kevin Smith style argument on reboots versus remakes versus sequels versus re-interpretation of the original film. Is there a number to call for the meta-police?
Our broheim’s over at Collider (accept no substitutes Gentle Readers, lest it be dear old Vents Magazine) just reported this week that the Urban Legends remake is still very much on track and has in fact moved on to casting talented thespians Sydney Chandler (The Golden Rut) and Katherine McNamara (The Flash) as its two leads. Scuttlebutt also has it that dynamite actor Keith Powers (off of a striking turn in Straight Outta Compton) is doggedly being pursued for a major role, too.
So that’s my scary Urban Legend for today and while it doesn’t quite live up to some of my favorite bromides – alligators in the sewers, the unseen killer in the backseat of a car, Corey Feldman’s confusing career and confounding acting choices (just joking, Corey…We love you at Vents!) – the remake/reboot/ sequel/re-interpretation should still hopefully be a bloody and fun ride. Just keep those Pop Rocks away from any open bottles of Frostie Cherry Limeade Soda and we’re Jake.