Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005)



Starring Robert Vito, Kate Mara, Michael Coe, William Michael

Directed by Mary Lambert



This is probably one of the strangest films situations I've ever taken notice of, especially considering it's the third entry (in name only) to a relatively successful franchise. Go out on the 'net and see if you can find anything about Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, chances are you won't. Nothing on IMDB, nothing on Sony’s site (who are releasing it) or Phoenix's site (who produced it)…it's like it's a dirty little secret or something.

I can tell you after seeing it, though, it sure is nothing to give too much over-hype to, so I guess that side of it is relatively understandable. It's just odd.

The story (which was written by X2 writer Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris as simply Bloody Mary) starts back in 1969 at a high school in Salt Lake City. Young Mary Banner is at a dance with some of her friends and getting lots of attention from here newly acquired jock boyfriend. I assume it's supposed to be odd that the jock would date this strange girl, but in reality he'd be an idiot not to since she's damn fine. Anyway, she chooses not to drink the punch that is given to her, luckily for her since it contains some sort of pre-roofies date rape drug. When she sees the other jocks loading their barely-conscious girlfriends into a car, she realizes too late what’s going on and makes a run for it.

Her new jock boyfriend chases her down and just when he has her nice and calm and ready to come with him, grabs her too hard and she realizes it's not over yet. Pretty dumb move on his part. She bites his hand to free herself and he pushes her, gashing her head on a table and killing her. Or so he thinks. He puts her body into a trunk in a quiet little area of the school that apparently no one EVER walks by or goes into, and when she comes to she slowly starves to death inside. Uncomfortable.

Fast-forward some thirty years. Our lead character and her friends are discussing urban legends and they mention the one about Mary Banner (as well as the pop rocks and Coke thing, the arm in the vending machine thing, etc.) and Bloody Mary. How odd they should have the same name. They say her name three times, no mirror needed, and through some kind of bad visual effect that wasn't yet finished in the print I saw, she's back from the dead.

What follows is her revenge on the children of those that wronged her, and she deals with them utilizing urban legends for no other reason than that it makes for some cool deaths. Of them all, the spider laying the eggs in the girls face is the best, I think, simply because it's pulled off with a mix of practical and CG effects that gives it a moment or two of "kick ass!" exclamations from fans of nasty images.

Though it still felt a bit choppy in parts, since I'm pretty sure it wasn’t a final edit, the flick still moves along at a relatively good pace until the kills stop and our main characters learn just what Mary is trying to do and try to stop her. At that point the move slows way down, so much so that it's almost enough to negate the fairly interesting, if not excessively hokey at some points, story that came before.

The characters are pretty much your typical mix, with the lead girl supposedly some kind of nerd, though her (and her friends, none of which could get dates to the dance) are incredibly cute, at least for high school girls. This adds a bit of unrealism to the whole jocks vs. nerds secondary plot, but it's forgivable simply for the fact that you've seen it happen a million times before.

In end there's really nothing remarkable about Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, which is a shame because it's premise is one ripe with possibilities. Essentially it’s a throwback to the teen horror films of the dark ages we call the '90s, with some influence from more recent horror (notably the look of Mary herself, which screams out The Ring), but with a more intelligent script and more interesting characters. The film is due for a direct-to-DVD release on July 19th, but hopefully Sony will be nice enough to at lest throw and extra or two on it, if nothing else to appease the vengeful spirits.



2 1/2 out of 5

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