Having mostly missed out on the 3-D horror trend of the 1980s due to prepubescence, the prospect of seeing blood, brains and boobs comin’ at ya from the big screen is the big appeal of “My Bloody Valentine 3D,” the latest horror remake.
From 1981, the original “My Bloody Valentine” was one of many slasher films rushed into production on the heels of “Friday the 13th”’s monstrous performance, co-opting any day on the calendar not already taken. Unlike the others, “MBV” had virtually all its gore cut by a skittish MPAA before its release, which has only helped to build a cult around it.
The remake has no such deficiencies. In fact, during an sequence in which a full-frontal-naked blonde is stalked and tortured by this film’s gas-masked, miner’s-helmeted killer for several minutes, I wondered how it managed to get away with an R.
It certainly doesn’t get away with a fluid story, as the setup involves at least one layer more than necessary. In the small mining town of Harmony, Pa., Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles, TV’s “Supernatural”) and Harry Warden (Rich Walters, “Smart People”) are the only survivors of a tragic mine explosion. After awaking from a coma a year later, Harry goes nuts, donning his mining duds and taking a pickax to all the young people partying down in the tunnels. Tom’s one of them, and he barely gets away, but disappears.
Ten years later, he’s back in town … and so is Harry Warden, rendering Harmony’s name vastly ironic. Warden is keen on removing his victims’ hearts and sending them as valentines. Sheriff Palmer (Kerr Smith, “Final Destination,” TV’s “Dawson Creek”) is perplexed by the murders, and his wife, grocer Sarah (Jaime King, “The Spirit,” “Sin City”), sees old flames ignite for Tom, her ex-boyfriend.
But can those flames keep burning when suspicion falls on Tom for committing the murders? Or will they only be stoked by the sheriff’s extramarital affair and general grumpiness? And really, do you even care?
Director Patrick Lussier (“Dracula 2000”) doesn’t flinch when it comes to impaling and puncturing his disposable cast of characters, but the screenplay by Todd Farmer (“Jason X”) and first-timer Zane Smith is zip in the suspense department. “Valentine” goes through the motions, from one kill to the next, but in a manner that warns you of all the impending, supposedly scary moments. Therefore, it’s sapped of fright.
Unfortunately, it also doesn’t take full advantage of its 3-D technology. Some things are thrown at the screen which will cause mass flinching by audiences, but most of the film is like flipping through a View-Master reel: There’s depth, but nothing done with it. The effects in this summer’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D” were far better, yet both utilize the “Real D” technology. Lussier’s sequences appear overly manufactured and jerry-rigged, making them appear too fake to provide shock and awe. Still, I’d recommend spending the extra few bucks to see it over the flat format.
As far as slashers go, “Valentine” is neither a chore nor a failure, but its pulse is rather slowed.