A New Tubi Horror Anthology
The Urban Horror Series is a 2021 anthology given an exclusive release on Tubi. The new rendering began streaming on November 10th.
Although new, there was little press or advertising on the feature. This is not unsurprising in that the film is a pilot project for the Tubi platform. However, given rare gems are often hidden, expectations were mildly high for this series. Unfortunately, not all excavations turn up jewels.
Foundation of the Film
Urban Horror series is a collection of shorts. There are a total of five tales stretching across the duration of an hour-long production, so each episode is very brief. However, brevity is not always a bad thing. Other anthologies are short in nature, such as Bite-size Horror (2017) or Love, Sex, and Robots (2019) that perfect this form. So brief tales of terror have the potential to be excellent.
But stories told in brevity must be handled artfully. Meaning, one must tell a complete story in a matter of minutes. Connection to the characters early on is essential, otherwise the whole thing comes off as being senseless. Such is the case with Urban Horror Series.
Each episode of the series gives the impression that it is missing essential segments of the story. In fact, every story appears to be missing a beginning. And thus, during the entirety of the episode, the viewer is left wondering what, how, and why, crucial questions films should answer no matter the duration.
One commonality that many anthologies of late seem to share is the absence of conclusions. Such a technique is effective if used to invoke deep thought. But, of course, this is not always the case and weakens the piece. But on a positive note, this series does seem to conclude their stories, though not all the conclusions are sensible.
Diving Under the Covers
This series is super cryptic but not in the good sense of the word. Urban Horror Series fails to do what Monsterland (2018) did cleverly. And by comparison, this offering is a dim bulb with little to reflect on. The acting is subpar. The thematic elements are simplistic. Tropes run rampant. The writers present well-known caricatures such as Black Widow, Vampires, and Eve but the nail in the coffin is the silent feature centering around a midnight clad slasher. The odd thing is the creators had the nerve to use the iconic Halloween (1978) thematic score. And the result was a cheesy knock off Michael Meyers. The track was the only thing that stood out.
Ultimately, the viewer forms no connection to any of the characters, so it’s hard to feel anything for their plight. At some point, you want the entire experience to be over and rooting for the villains or monster-like elements seems the right thing to do in this case. So, the only sentiment I can offer is whew.
Tying Things Up
The creators of the Urban Horror Series seemed to have rushed to release and there is not much fright. Anyone who watches this film is liable to do more yawning than cringing or jumping. This film almost definitely borders on bore-fest.
I wanted to enjoy this film but the plot is not sustainable. This film gets a B rating at best because it is inadequately put together. The poor execution is incomparable. Yet, as always, art is in the eye of the beholder, so if cheesy films are your thing, this pick is for you. But Urban Horror Series sits low on the list of horror greats. If I were to weigh in on its viewability, the anthology is not worth a second glance.
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