Urban Legend (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 2 Old 07-20-2008, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109941&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1998
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 99 Minutes
Genre: Thriller/Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/Portuguese/French Dolby True HD 5.1, Thai & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles:Arabic, Dutch, French, English, Indonesian, Korean, Thai, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, English SDH
Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, Loretta Devine, Tara Reid, Robert Englund
Directed by:Jamie Blanks
Music by: Christopher Young
Written by: Silvio Horta
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 22, 2008

"What you dont believe can kill you"

Film Synopsis:

When New England college student Natalie finds herself at the center of a series of sadistic murders seemingly inspired by urban legends, she resolves to find the truth about Pendleton's own legend, a twenty-five-year-old story of a student massacre at the hands of an Abnormal Psych professor. As the fraternities prepare to celebrate the macabre anniversary, Natalie discovers that she is the focus of the crazed killer's intentions in the ultimate urban legend-- the story of her own horrific murder.

My Take:

Urban legendwas a late comer to teen scream genre that became all the rage in the mid to late nineties. Like the other films in its class it featured a young cast full of fresh faces and a serial killer at the root of its plot. The story is about a group of college students who fall victim to a series of grisly murders which are based upon an urban legend that took place at Pendleton College 25 years earlier. The killings seem to surround Natalie (Witt) who is a quiet yet popular student who apparently has secrets of her own. The opening, which begins with the first murder takes place off of campus. I liked the way it was written as it definitely had me leaning more in one direction before it revealed what was really happening. The remaining core characters are quickly established and just as quickly they begin to meet their end. They are polished off in a variety of ways most of which involve an ax wielding menace wearing a parka coat with the hood covering the face. I thought that the screenplay was moving along well and I was genuinely interested in seeing who the killer was as well as the motivating factor behind them. The story takes you down a few roads that turn out to be dead ends as you try to figure out who the killer really is. I think that it revealed its hand prematurely when Natalie's secret came to light. After learning that I had a pretty good idea why she was the center of the killing spree as well as who the suspect was. As in most films like this some of the feats performed by the killer defy physical logic but they can generally be overlooked. Once the killer's identity and reason is revealed it felt like a let down in this case. That led to further disbelief in the killer's ability to have done some of the things that transpired earlier in the film. Urban legend had a couple of good moments but didn't achieve the level of suspense and fear of the more successful films in its genre.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for horror violence, gore, language and sexual content.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Urban legend comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 1.4 mbps.

Upon reviewing my notes I realized that the look of this encoding had many of the same attributes associated with my review of I know what you did last summer. Here are my comments regarding its video quality from that review:

The level of detail was excellent as images appeared nice and sharp with good rendering of subtle textures and fine minutia. Dimensional perception on panning and distant shots revealed solid lines and visible structure within objects. Colors had ample saturation with natural tonal reproduction and realistic looking hues. Fleshtones had similar attributes and conveyed the various complexions among the cast without compromise. This film has some dark elements that rely of the ability to make out movement and shapes in low lighting. I had no problem in that regard as there was plenty of detail in dark areas, backgrounds and shadows. Contrast and black levels looked solid and fairly dynamic overall. Grain was present and well preserved in appearance.

The Dolby TrueHD audio presentation had better presence and dynamic impact than IKWYDLS. I thought that it effectively utilized its music to underscore the onscreen tension/suspense and jump scares. Directional and spatial cues coming from both the front and rear sound fields helped to create an immersive atmosphere that was stable and articulate. Dialogue and front channel effects were securely anchored within the front soundstage during panning sequences. Low frequencies were not earth shaking but they were delivered with solidity and palpable distinction.

Bonus Features:

The bonus content consisted of a standard definition 10 minute Making of Feature, Directors Commentary track and Blu-ray Disc Live content. The making of piece took a quick look at several of the action based sequences in the film and how they were shot. It discussed the films post production work on the music score and finished up with a look at a deleted scene. It was detailed using behind the scenes footage with a running commentary by the director. BD Live features are included but will not be enabled until release date.

  • Director's Commentary

  • Making of Featurette

  • BD Live

Final Thoughts:

Urban legend is an average teen horror that does not offer anything fresh to the genre and has an ending that is rather disappointing. On the bright side Sony has brought it to Blu-ray Disc featuring audio and video quality that excellent for a 10 year old catalog title release. Fans of the film can buy this Blu-ray Disc with confidence.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

Sony VPL-VW50 SXRD 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 2 Old 07-20-2008, 09:04 PM
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Wow. Nice technical review Mr. Ralph.

"Dimensional perception on panning and distant shots revealed solid lines and visible structure within objects"

Blu-ray : 340
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