My Bloody Valentine 3-D (2009)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film  |   Release Date - Jan 16, 2009 (USA)  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

It's about time that solid technology caught up to the time-honored 3-D horror craze -- and with My Bloody Valentine 3-D, the experience of being jolted in three dimensions is solidly revisited thanks to a heaping dose of nostalgic slasher-film sensibilities. Gloriously gory and presented with an eye for in-your-face audience enjoyment, Patrick Lussier's revamping of 1981's underrated classic is a return to form for the genre and a fun kick in the pants for those who like to laugh before, while, and after they are scared. With brutal kills left and right, plus a fairly decent mystery to keep things somewhat interesting, this is one remake that justifies its existence thanks to the all-new arena for which it gives new and old audiences alike the chance to have a wild interactive experience that's hard to ignore.

The plot is set in the small mining town of Harmony, whose past is haunted by the memories of a murderous killing spree by Harry Warden, the lone survivor of an accident caused by the inexperienced heir to the mine, Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles). Trapped and forced to kill his other fellow workers in order to survive, Warden was rescued, but lay comatose for over a year before awaking with a bloodlust for revenge. After slicing his way through a 22-person body count with a pickaxe, Harry was thought to have died from multiple gunshot wounds as he descended into the bowels of the mine. Ten years later, Tom returns home only to find that his sweetheart, Sarah (Jaime King), has settled down with his old womanizing pal, Axel (Kerr Smith), who is now the sheriff of the quaint community. As the town reels from the news that Tom might sell the mine, a string of murders forces many to think that the once-presumed-dead Harry Warden could have his own bloody Valentine to give to the citizens of Harmony.

While the original's own history with violence is fraught with years of censorship (rectified by the uncut DVD release upon the remake's release), its descendant revels in the gleeful gratuitousness of its onscreen bedlam. In addition, fans of the slasher mold will appreciate the skin on display just as much as the inventive methods that this murderous miner utilizes for all of his juicy kills (never mind the inclusion of genre vet Tom Atkins in its cast). Its bloody bravado notwithstanding, the film does have its drawbacks -- packed with an insane opening and a steady stream of solid slayings, the picture does lose steam in its third act. While screenwriters Todd Farmer and Zane Smith deserve kudos for trying to expand the love triangle/mystery aspect, it just doesn't hold a candle to the more engaging moments of the film. By the time the killer's identity is revealed, the production is basically out of tricks to keep anyone's interest anymore. Instead of saving the coup de grĂ¢ce for the finale, Lussier and company throw all of their chips in early and don't know enough to cash out in a manner that will have them walking away with the pot and two models on each arm.

Still there's a lot to enjoy in this shameless slasher. Not only is it commendable for bucking the horror trend of grimy torture-filled sludge, but the theatrical presentation really does add a delectable dimension to the proceedings that could be lost in future living-room viewings. In the end, My Bloody Valentine 3-D is unabashedly fun stuff for die-hard thrill-seekers looking for a little more action for their moviegoing buck. Sure, its tension could be tighter -- and most definitely, a flick like this should never leave its costumed killer behind after the killer's identity is revealed -- but it does its job nonetheless. 3-D schlock? Gory garbage? Most definitely, but it sure is a fun ride while it lasts.