I'm your biggest fan. 3-D is the perfect way to remake an 80's slasher flick. In a word, My Bloody Valentine 3-D rules. With newer, higher-tech 3-D glasses, as soon as your eyes adjust everything starts looking more realistic. It's a mess-with-your-mind effect. The initial scenes cause a voyeuristic wax museum feel then soon become hyper-realistic. Sitting around a diner counter, actor Kevin Tighe looked so real I expected him to walk up, shake my hand and say, "Hey Salvo, how ya likin' the movie so far?"
Other things get more noticeable too-a blood-spattered wall, the character's complexions, fog on windshields, hell, even tire treads stand out. Gore has never looked more eye-poppingly gruesome, especially when someone's ribcage is split open. Okay, enough about 3-D, let's talk about the flick itself. It's a pumped-up remake of the drearily hacked together 1981 flick of the same name and it's a gazillion times better. The original was so dark that you couldn't even see what the hell was going on. Well, that's all been changed. There's nothing you don't see in MBV 3-D.
We get the folklore and dirty secrets of Harmony, Pennsylvania, its disastrous coal mine murders, and the boogey man legend of miner/killer Harry Warden. He kills his victims on Valentines' Day (or thereabouts) and gives some special people the hearts he has yanked out of other special peoples' chests, delivered in a nice candy gram. There's also the requisite soap opera love triangle between the sheriff (Kerr Smith), his wife (Jamie King) and the dude she still loves (Jensen Ackles) who returns to town after 10 years. But all this is mere filler. It's all about waiting to see if that pickaxe is gonna land in your forehead or not.
Chuckin' the pickaxe really works in 3-D. Those natural reflexes kick in and you find yourself ducking from the object hurled towards your vision. Pulling out all the stops, a shotgun points right at your face, guts and blood whiz by your head, the pickaxe drips blood in front of your nose-you get the idea. It's the House of Horror carnival ride you've never had.
Where Bloody Valentine really succeeds is in its buildup of suspense to scare the bejeezuz outta ya. What distinguishes this from all the lame remake slasher flicks of late is that it really captures the spirit of the '70s-'80s genre and just powerhouses it with superb special effects. Not slacking on the gore or nudity, everything is plucked directly from the slasher handbook. We are treated to one brutal slaughter after another. It was like a smorgasbord in variations on the pickaxe death theme. I counted at least five pickaxes to the head and a few other grisly deaths to boot (one includes a shovel). The motel scene alone is worth the price of admission for its tension, nudity, and gore.
Surprisingly they chose pretty good actors for this. Everyone stays in character whether being mad, sinister, good, stupid or heroic. Most importantly, everyone does a bang-up job being scared.
Director/editor Patrick Lussiter (Prophecy 3, Dracula 2000) plays this one off with all the right hooks, coming off like a veteran '80s slasher filmmaker. Even in the predictable scare tactics, MBV manages to make us squirm by prolonging the time till the next attack. Nail biters beware!
MBV has a lame-ass twist to the mystery of who the real killer might be and an extremely dumb ending, but I didn't buy a ticket to get my intellectual stimulus-I went for the pickaxe roller coaster ride and I got what I deserved; every bloody minute of it.
Starring Jamie King, Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith Kevin Tighe, Tom Atkins. Directed by Patrick Lussiter. Rated R.