In an industry that loves to remake/reboot past favorites, 1998’s Urban Legend seemed like the perfect revival candidate in the horror department. Yes, we got Urban Legends: Final Cut in 2000 and Urban Legends: Bloody Mary in 2005, but there’s room for improvement — a lot of improvement, in fact.
As the title suggests, Urban Legend leans heavily into the idea of true crimes being misconstrued and turned into local myths. In Pendleton University’s case, that myth is the massacre at Stanley Hall. When the campus is hit with a string of murders, the tendency to brand such tragedies as urban legends leaves the door wide open for the killer to pick off victims one by one.
While there is specificity in the 1998 original regarding the location and the killer’s motive, the Urban Legend concept is universal and ripe for modernization. Back in August 2020, Collider exclusively revealed that an Urban Legend reboot was on the move over at Screen Gems with Colin Minihan directing a cast that was expected to include Sydney Chandler and Katherine McNamara. The new movie was said to see college student characters navigating “a series of bizarre deaths that resemble urban legends linked to the darkest corners of social media.” Unfortunately, no subsequent reports followed and that was the last we heard of this new Urban Legend movie.
Eager for an update, I had to ask McNamara about the status of the project during our Collider Ladies Night conversation in celebration of her newest release, Charlie Day’s feature directorial debut, Fool’s Paradise. She began:
“It was sort of a new retelling of it, was what I can say from the script. Colin Minihan was the director of that. He’s just a brilliant, brilliant mind who has gotten to be a good friend. I would love for that to happen. That cast was gonna be fantastic. A lot of friends on that cast.”
While Minihan, Screen Gems, and Phoenix Pictures were able to assemble a rock-solid team for the film, unforeseen circumstances wound up doing the project in — the COVID-19 pandemic and drastic changes in the industry. Here’s how McNamara put it:
“The role was a role of a lifetime for me. It was so fun. But who knows, you know? It’s one of those things that the studio is no longer even that company anymore and it’s been moved around. It’s industry logistics where, in my dream world, it would happen, but I booked that job a week before the pandemic, so it was a COVID casualty.”
Given Screen Gems is still busy churning out horror movies, most recently The Pope’s Exorcist and they also have Insidious: The Red Door right around the corner, one might assume the higher-ups know the potential value in the Urban Legend franchise. While it does seem like a long shot, one can hope the company will give Minihan’s script another shot, but one way or another, I’m willing to bet a new Urban Legend movie will be a reality soon enough.