My Bloody Valentine 3D

My Bloody Valentine 3D

*1/2

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

In 1981, there was a low-budget Canadian slasher film called My Bloody Valentine. It had nine minutes of gore cut out of it but still survived. Many thought it lost, but renewed audience interest in horror films led to dark magics and now it has returned, in a new form, to stalk cinemas again.

The only clues that this isn't a 30-year-old film are technological. There are product-placed Nokia mobiles, a pocket video camera, and it is presented in Real-D. MBV3-D is another blow in the format war, but when IMAX has The Dark Knight and Real-D has Brendan Fraser and some glowing bluebirds, it isn't a stunning advert for the technology. There's the requisite pickaxe through the screen moment, a flame effect that jumps out, but nothing triumphant, nothing amazing.


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The mining town they've filmed it in has a nice looking bridge, and the mine itself is impressive, but it's a little disappointing that no part of them is singled out by the 3-D technology. The sense of scale, sweeping verticality, grandeur even, that IMAX manages isn't here, and while one suspects there are clever things to be done with Real-D, this doesn't do them.

Technology aside then, what does My Bloody Valentine 3-D have to offer? It's written by Todd Farmer (responsible in part for Jason X and The Messengers) with Zane Smith making his debut as the screenplay author. Suffice to say that there's nothing particularly noteworthy in the dialogue, though at times it does escape soap opera level emotional blackmail to hint at forthcoming slasher punishment for sexual immorality.

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Patrick Lussier's direction is competent enough, but it's never really noticeable. Despite helming the Scream series, painful remake Dracula 2000, extended sequel Halloween H20 and a whole raft of other films involving Wes Craven, nothing amazingly clever seems to be going on on-screen, though there's nothing amazingly clumsy either. The film has its startle moments, its musical tensions and all, but the best description is 'passable'. In fairness, the opening sequence is of outstanding quality, literally so, with newspaper headlines and pages zooming in and out of the screen, ably setting up the first part of the story.

It's in this prequel that we meet the major characters. Television veteran Jensen Ackles is Tom Hannigan, mine-owner's son, old flame, the usual. He's a genre veteran of sorts, with a major role in Supernatural, and regular appearances in Smallville and Dark Angel. Sarah, his old girlfriend is played by Jaime King, currently in cinemas as The Spirit's Lorelei, and previously fetishized as Marv's Goldie in Sin City. Kerr Smith as Axel Palmer rounds out the central trio; he, too, is young adult television veteran, with stints in CSI, Eli Stone, witch nonsense Charmed and Dawson's Creek to his name.

There are also Kevin Tighe and Tom Atkins (who are actual industry veterans who have been in just about everything between them) as the town's elders. They're in the prequel segment too, but it's in the latter part of the film that they really get the chance to shine. In some parts their presence seems more like that of Dick Miller in Trail Of The Screaming Forehead, there for genre recognition as much as to play a role.

Once the action moves to the modern day, Betsy Rue (in her first credited screen role) is Irene, the completion of a messy romantic square. This being a slasher movie, of course, it becomes even messier. Rich Walters (who stood-in for Frankenstein's Monster in Van Helsing) is suitably imposing as miner turned murderer Harry Warden. On the side of good, Edi Gathegi (fresh from Twilight) is not only a somewhat suspicious deputy but the small mining town's sole gesture toward ethnic diversity.

In that, and a number of other places, this is a slasher film by the numbers. Even the shock revelations about the characters are drawn from the Big Book Of Predictable Horror Movie Elements. It cleaves so closely to formula that it ought to satisfy audiences who aren't looking for anything special, but My Bloody Valentine 3-D is, bluntly, not very good; for a gimmicky remake it is tired and derivative.

While it relocates the action from Canada to Pennsylvania, making some chops and changes to the cast and the story, it is very much of its times; at once a genre cash-in with the worst impulses and habits of that ilk and a cynical remake of an obscure property compromised by a mixture of clumsy updating and homage.

Reviewed on: 15 Jan 2009
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My Bloody Valentine 3D packshot
On the tenth anniversary of a massacre in a small town, a series of bloody killings begins.
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Director: Patrick Lussier

Writer: Todd Farmer, Zane Smith

Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue, Edi Gathegi

Year: 2009

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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