Wiki Headlines
It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Film: Urban Legend

"Someone's taking all of these stories, and making them reality."

Urban Legend is a 1998 Slasher Movie starring Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Michael Rosenbaum and Loretta Devine.

After the vitality boost given by the success of Scream (1996), slashers returned to mainstream media and followers were sure to follow. Urban Legend is one of those followers, along with I Know What You Did Last Summer and Valentine.

The movie and its sequels Urban Legends: Final Cut and Urban Legends: Bloody Mary all share a similar premise: someone is killing young adults, taking cues from well-known urban legends.

These examples happened to someone who knows someone you know:

  • Adults Are Useless: And cops too.
    • While most of the adults play this trope straight, it is averted by Reese Wilson, the campus police officer. She actually lampshades this trope:
      Reese Wilson: You know what really chaps my hide? The way you pledged an oath to serve and protect — and then you don't give a rat's ass when something really happens!
  • Alliterative Name: Brenda Bates. A possible reference to Norman Bates...which fits perfectly.
  • An Axe to Grind: The killer prefers an ax. And as it later turns out, she fits the other sense of the phrase as well.
  • Asshole Victim: Michelle, Tosh, Damon, Parker, and the Dean.
  • Ax-Crazy: The killer most definitely is.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved:
    (Reese tells him that Damon is missing)
    Dean Adams: Missing? He's not missing! It's the weekend. He's most likely shacked up in some motel with a girl. Or a guy... farm animal... whatever! Weren't you ever eighteen?
    Reese: Not that kind of eighteen.
  • Book Ends: The film ends as it started after opening credits, with a group of people discussing urban legends.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: In the film's opening, a gas station attendant tries to warn Michelle Mancini about the killer in her backseat but is unable to do this due to his stuttering.
  • Car Cushion: Damon drops into one.
  • Crusty Caretaker: Pendleton University's janitor.
  • Cute and Psycho: Brenda
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: The killer hides in the backseat of a car. Twice.
  • Death by Mocking: Damon
  • Death by Sex: Given the fact that she is the sluttiest girl of Pendleton University, it was inevitable for Tosh.
  • Downer Ending: Brenda, the killer, not only gets away but is implied to have successfully killed everyone in the sequel.
  • Evil All Along: The killer is revealed to be Natalie's best friend, Brenda.
  • Evil Gloating: The killer enjoys taunting Natalie after each killing and during The Reveal.
  • False Friend: Brenda is revealed to be this to Natalie.
  • Final Girl: Natalie
  • Goth: Tosh
  • In the Hood: Killer dresses in a hooded parka.
  • Jump Scare: Plenty to go around.
  • Karma Houdini: Brenda is presumed dead after a climatic crash, but the final scene reveals she is very much alive and, due to her being presumed dead, seems to have gotten away with everything. (And as revealed in the sequel, got a job as a nurse, of all things.) It only stops from veering into The Bad Guy Wins territory because she failed to kill her final, main target.
    • Except she asserts in the ending that the story was told incorrectly, and Final Cut claims she killed eight students. She likely did win.
  • Kill 'em All: It's implied that Brenda succeeded in killing Natalie and Paul. Essentially confirmed in Final Cut, where Reese says eight college students died. It'd be 6 if Paul and Natalie lived.
  • Make-Out Point: Damon tries to score with Natalie at one. Then the killer shows up and kills him.
  • Menacing Stroll
  • Microwave the Dog: The killer does this to Hootie the dog in order to draw one of the victims out to kill him.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: In the opening scene, a woman mistakes a gas station attendant for this (or a rapist; it's not entirely clear) when he was really trying to warn her about the murderer hiding in the backseat of her car.
  • My Car Hates Me: Damon's car pulls this when he is being attacked.
  • Off with His Head!: Done, but not shown.
  • Oh, Crap: Natalie during the film's conclusion at Stanley Hall, upon realizing who Brenda really is.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Natalie runs into a row of these.
  • Really Gets Around: Tosh
  • Red-Headed Heroine: Natalie
  • Red Herring: The Stanley Hall massacre of 1973.
    • Not to mention that two prominent horror film killers have roles. Professor Wexler is one early on. Not only was he the sole survivor of the aforementioned Stanley Hall incident, he frightens students in his class by describing two well-known urban legends, one of them reenacted by the killer later for a murder, and the fact that he's portrayed by Robert Englund doesn't help him avoid suspicion. However, Wexler himself is later a victim.
  • The Reveal: Natalie and Michelle had played a prank by blinking the headlights of their car to an unsuspecting driver, disorienting and accidentally killing him. The same driver turns out to be Brenda's beloved fiancÚ whose death had caused her to snap.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Reese
  • School Newspaper News Hound: Paul

UntraceableHorror FilmsUrban Legends: Final Cut
Murder.comImageSource/Live-Action FilmsDanger Takes a Backseat
The Truman ShowFilms of the 1990sU.S. Marshals
Unmasked Part 25Slasher MovieUrban Legends: Final Cut

alternative title(s): Urban Legends
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy