Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that this flick should go home with about nine Oscars or anything... but the screenplay, written by Zane Smith and Jason X scribe Todd Farmer (based on the 1981 work by John Beaird and Stephen Miller) has a lot of surprises, a decent mystery and a rare ingredient that some writers have toyed with only occasionally of late: "Character Development". Throw in some good directing by Patrick Lussier, who balances the suspense with the drama, some pretty respectable acting, real scares and an incredible and extended nude scene (enhanced with GLORIOUS 3-D) and you've got a scary movie that is actually worth your time to watch.
Of course, I wasn't so sure of that at first. The film starts by describing (through flashbacks and three-dimensional newspaper headlines) a deadly cave-in at a coal mine in a town called Harmony. The accident was blamed on the boss' son Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) and the sole survivor, Rich Walters' Harry Warden, appears to have survived by killing his fellow miners to boggart the oxygen for his damn self. One year later when the Wardenator finally awakens from his coma, he kills just about everybody else he can find in the town of Harmony. Before he's done, he suits up in his Coal Miner uniform, complete with gas mask, helmet and head-light and, of course, his murderous pick-axe, and chops up a bunch of partying teenagers who are drinking and rocking out in his very mines. Next on the menu are Axel (Kerr Smith) and Irene (sexy Betsy Rue) and Sarah (lovely Jaime King)... and of course, Sarah's boyfriend Tom Hannigan. Thanks to the quick thinking, yet aging, cops of Harmony, like Tom Atkins' Burke and Edi Gathegi's Martin, Harry is sent bleeding and fleeing down into the mines that bloody Valentine's Day.
Then we flash forward to ten years later. Yeah, we're less than 10 minutes into My Bloody Valentine 3-D and we've already flashed back one year and flashed forward ten years. No wonder one of the next people we meet is Ben Foley, who is played by Kevin Tighe from Lost!
After all these years, the media is still obsessed with Harmony on Valentine's Day and the press is bloodthirsty for a story should one present itself. This is in spite of the profane protests of the new Sheriff in town... who happens to be the aforementioned Axel Palmer!
If you think that's a surprise, Axel's also now married to Sarah, seeing as how Tom has been out of the picture for years now. But that's all about to change now, because big daddy Hanniger has just passed away, freeing up Tom himself to return to Harmony to sell the mine and potentially kill the town.
Even less fortunate for Harmony: it looks like somebody else has also returned to town and a new Valentine's Day Massacre starts immediately with Harry Warden's fingerprints all over it. When the locals start receiving Valentine Hearts, the damned things are still dripping with human blood and there's not a single chocolate candy in the box. Kind of... ruins the romance, really.
The accusations fly along with the blood and what may seem obvious at first becomes mired with many new and valid questions. Needless to say those affiliated with the mine are watching their backs and the clock as more and more people start dying in the mine and out of the mine. Needless to say the body count climbs like King Kong on a bender! Further, it all happens in amazing "Real D" 3-D! Yeah, My Bloody Valentine is, as the title might suggest, quite bloody! Yes, it can be gross, but the crew seems to know when and how to use the effects as assets to the film, not the film as a thread between more and more effects.
As with most 3-D films, this one has a fair amount of blocking that serves merely to look cool in three dimensions. Much like older 3-D horror flicks like Amityville 3-D, Friday the 13th Part 3-D and Jaws 3-D, things are thrown at, thrust toward or waved in front of the camera to take full advantage of all three dimensions. These may or may not work nearly as well when only two dimensions are available. However, unlike a lot of these predecessors, this generally doesn't feel gratuitous and has at least somewhat of a basis in the story.
Naturally, most of these reasons for 3-D are rooted in the Horrific, however I would be remiss if I failed to point out the greatest justification for wearing those 3-D glasses throughout the film's 101 Minutes, that being the extended and incredibly beautiful nude scene by the amazing Betsy Rue. Hey, it's one thing to see a guy's eye popped out in 3-D, but a scene of beautiful naked breasts in 3-D takes the proverbial cake, my friends. Coupled with beautiful naked everything else, and I am absolutely sold on 3-D! This scene lasts for a good five minutes of screen time... even longer than the similar sequence from The Toolbox Murders! While the film was good enough without such a scene, having Rue spend that much time fully frontally nude was almost worth changing the entire rest of the film. Nobody had to die, really, they could've just focused on her running around naked. Then they could change the name to "My Valentine", without the bloody parts and have it be a celebration of sex and life and femininity. Ah... well, maybe for the Special Edition!
Moving on (for now)... all of these gimmicks aside , the mystery in My Bloody Valentine 3-D is what makes the film worth seeing (along with the actors who help to make it happen). Is Harry Warden truly back or is there a copycat killer on the loose? Could it be one of Warden's intended victims or a soon-to-be-unemployed minor miner? Could this be someone mad at Sheriff Palmer and his affair with his remarkably sexy new Valentine Megan (Megan Boone)? Is it the result of the love triangle of Tom, Axel and Sarah (and, with Megan in the mix, a love rhombus)? Cliché though this may sound, I was kept guessing until the climax itself and remained appreciatively happy with the twist through the dénouement. Sure this outcome was one I saw coming, but the important part is that it is one of MANY that I saw coming. Neither does this film fall victim to the "EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT" philosophy, nor does it embrace the "obvious culprit who therefore cannot be the culprit" goof-up. When the last reel comes, the story simply works.
To be balanced here, My Bloody Valentine 3-D is far from your textbook example of filmic perfection. Considering the joke that it could have been (and avoided becoming), the film may seem better than it is. Nevertheless, there are a few poorly written (and thus, delivered) lines here and there. Further, a few of the leaps defy logic just a little bit and the audience is asked to buy into a few things that wouldn't ordinarily seem to work in a slasher flick. While Patrick Lussier generally embraces suspense over startles, there are a few "GOTCHA" moments that rely on the cheaper thrills. Still, most of the film succeeds well enough that the film's valleys never pique.
Yes, as surprising as this may be, My Bloody Valentine 3-D is actually worth watching. The most logical release would be sometime around (drumroll) Valentine's Day, but that's not happening, as the aforementioned Friday the 13th remake is being released on (drumroll again) Friday the 13th of February (also logical). The suits from Lionsgate were smart enough to realize that not even Harry Warden can stand up to Jason Voorhees in the eyes and wallets of the ticket-buying public. In the eyes of critics however, My Bloody Valentine 3-D is winning out. For example, on WorldsGreatestCritic.com it gets Three and One Half Stars out of Five! As a big and long-time fan of the Original My Bloody Valentine, I'm especially surprised to note that it edges out the original film and does a better job. This... this is weird, man! A gimmicky remake of a horror movie I dig is actually not only getting good reviews from me, but from most other critics. Aw, dude, this is even weirder... I'm agreeing with "most other critics". What the hell is this crap? Now I know what it's like to live on Bizarro World. 2009, man... Bizarro year! And here I was sure I'd need a gas mask for an entirely different reason. See you in the next reel, kids! Maybe I'll be wearing it then! After all, we've got more bad horror remakes on the horizon!
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For more reviews... of MINE!
HA! HA! HA! You get it? I said "Mine"!
It's... it's a play on words,
because of the coal mine in the film and the
other meaning of the word "mine", signifying possession
As in "Be Mine" like you see on all the...
Ah? You thought I was going on another tangent
But I brought it full circle!
It's a trait of... mine!