Review: MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D

Posted by Peter Hall - February 3rd 2009 @ 12:14 am

Directed by Patrick Lussier, 2009
Written by Todd Farmer and Zane Smith

I’m not of the crowd that believes a movie – any movie, not just MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D – is campy or corny or popcorn or fluff and that it is a requirement of the viewer to turn off some theoretical switch in their brain to enjoy said applicable filmmaking.  I am of the stance that one should not excuse a movie for its behavior, that one most apologize for a low brow road as if the movie unwittingly committed an offense.  I don’t care how low the talent, how mild the budget or how high the schlock, the filmmakers knew what they were doing and if they did it right there is no burden on the viewer to disable a mythical intellectual barrier.  If a movie works, it works.  The transition from its goal to your enjoyment will be natural.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  They failed.  End of story.

There is no lowering of the shields.  None of this, “Well it was stupid, but if you just take it for what it is, it’s not bad” logic.  This is not an if/then equation.  You take it for what it is.  And though I’m sure I made the very statement at some foolish point in my life, I especially don’t want to hear the, “So bad its good” argument.  A movie may do many tangents poorly, but if it does one thing right, the one thing we all know it set out to do from the beginning, it can supplement all manner of shortcomings.

This is why I know one month into 2009 that MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D will end up being one of my more respected horror films of the year.  It is king at one thing and one thing alone: entertaining pick-axe swinging, gas mask wearing, black rubber stalking mayhem bursting forth into the third dimension.

We all know what to expect and it sure as shit isn’t a layered labyrinth of deep characters coming face to face with their mortality and unimportance in a withering small town based an antiquated economy.  The only layers one should expect from MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D are of the geometric plane variety, the only labyrinth that of the mine shaft, and characters only deep enough to have a pick axe go in one side of their body and out the other.  Anything else is dressing as far as I’m concerned.

Is it representative of the best possible outcome of a remake of an ’80s slasher that was itself a confessed grab at a lucrative market?  No, not by a long shot.  But it’s an eye catching (and thusly refreshing) blend of traditional golden era horror priorities and modern day industry mandates.  Plus, it’s got Tom Atkins in it.  Case closed right there.

Patrick Lussier and company waste no time in giving the movie a riveting send off, diving unexpectedly into the slaughter right out of the ball pen.  What would normally be treated as an offhand flashback is a full fledged, balls out opener that introduces the viewer for the breed of entertainment at hand.  Unfortunately, after the opener things bog down a bit as Jensen Ackles returns to town following a decade absence, a return that coincides with the re-emergence of the gas masked serial killer.

The problem, other than a script proven in the horror department and mediocre in the drama, is that the main triangle (Ackles ex-love Jamie King and her now-husband Kerr Smith) anchoring it all together is heavy on the supposed drama.  Watching Ackles and Smith slug it out without actually slugging it out ain’t exactly Frost vs Nixon.  It’s regrettable how much time is dedicated to this unpolished back-and-forth, particularly when there are third dimensions to be shattered.

As a two dimensional film, MY BLOODY VALENTINE would be straight mediocre, but it’s not a two dimensional film, now is it?  Despite some ill equipped theaters exhibiting it without the marketed bonus plane of existence, this was meant to be seen in 3-D, a medium in which it entertains tremendously.  Will it hold up on late-night cable runs without the viewer wearing a dorky pair of glasses?  No, it will not and should not be sought out under said circumstances.  Will I have a movie night with this sucker when it hits Blu-Ray in the intended format, grabbing four eyes for everyone in the room?  God yes.

Lussier may not be a pioneer, but MBV3D will be a trend (re)setter.  It’s fun as hell, light hearted yet soaked in a serious shade of red.  Plus I just absolutely love the look of the killer, always have, and Patrick Lussier loves it even more.  He stages that jet black suit, inhuman facial apparatus and probing head lamp again and again as the perfect looming slasher, towering over the audience like a cyclopean obelisk of imminent death.

I dig that.  Sure more can always be asked for, but more shouldn’t be expected.

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rss 5 comments
  1. February 3rd, 2009 | 12:30 am | #1

    I actually saw this in theaters a couple of weeks ago, largely because I wanted to see how far this newfangled third dimension stuff has come along. Not bad. I’ll give the movie props for some fairly inventive deaths, but the ending is…well…is there a word that means retarded more than retarded means retarded? If there is, then pretend I said that word.

  2. Brian
    February 3rd, 2009 | 9:53 am | #2

    I loved this. Maybe it makes me a wimp, but I thought it was a nice change to see a modern horror movie that was gory without being mean.

  3. Birdy
    February 3rd, 2009 | 9:58 am | #3

    Gah! I rarely go to the theater due to health concerns, but I was going to make a go of it to see this movie–but my town, despite having a brand new “top of the line” theater, doesn’t have the capabilities or desire to show it in 3D.

    I said a lot of rather nice things about the theater people’s mothers when I found that out.

    Luckily, my future brother-in-law has blu-ray, a huge TV, and a love of horror films, so I’ll still get to see it when it comes out on disc. I’m excited, if impatient.

    And if they pull any crap and try to release it in 2D, I’m going homicidal. >.>

  4. February 3rd, 2009 | 4:11 pm | #4

    This is brilliant: “We all know what to expect and it sure as shit isn’t a layered labyrinth of deep characters coming face to face with their mortality and unimportance in a withering small town based an antiquated economy. The only layers one should expect from MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D are of the geometric plane variety, the only labyrinth that of the mine shaft, and characters only deep enough to have a pick axe go in one side of their body and out the other. Anything else is dressing as far as I’m concerned.”

    Maybe I’m cynical, or set my standards too high, but I still believe that, despite Lussier’s intent, one should always set out to make the best movie possible. Of course, having Todd Farmer write the script isn’t doing anyone any favors.

    Great review.

  5. Jentz
    February 19th, 2009 | 4:37 am | #5

    If you don’t believe in the ‘so bad, it’s good’ stance, you might want to read Susan Sontag’s essay “Notes on Camp” from the 1960s. People can enjoy terribly made films – the way they’re scripted, shot, acted, etc. – because the unappealing qualities become humorous and, therefore, often ironic. Why else would people hold Troll 2 in such high regard, as one of the worst movies ever made but also so enjoyable to watch?

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