Admittedly unconventional per Hollywood terms, she’s like the thinking man’s Jamie Lee Curtis.
Same goes for “Scar 3D,” a 2007 indie just now hitting Blu-ray and DVD from Phase 4 Films. Is it great? No. But for those drawn to such plasma-plastered efforts, it’s good enough.
Not even really front-and-center until the second half, Bettis is the mousy Joan, who reluctantly returns to her hometown, many years after she and a friend were tortured as teens in a funeral home by its twisted mortician, Bishop (Ben Cotton). Emerging with scars both figurative and literal, Joan survived; her friend ... not so lucky.
Now, impossibly, Bishop appears to have returned to menace Joan’s niece (Kirby Bliss Blanton) and her high school pals. Some of them will get free stomach stapling, although not the kind for which most women pay.
“Scar 3D” would not exist without the gore-drenched games of “Saw” and the copycat crimes of “Scream,” as it drains significant elements from both franchises. You can even add another rule to the latter’s famed list of fright-flick no-nos: Do not trust guys wearing berets, and that goes double if their job duties entail working with embalming fluids. And as for the former, we’ll let a line of dialogue from the killer get your mind wandering as to his diabolical methods: “You know, it is amazing what you can buy at Home Depot.”
Although Blanton isn’t bad, her fellow young actors are amateurish, adhering to the tenets of ’70s-style slashers all too closely. Bettis’ delivery grants the film most of its credibility, surprisingly shared by stand-up comedian Christopher Titus as her sheriff brother.
Shot in hi-def video, director Jed Weintrob’s film works pretty well in three dimensions, even if the home viewer must don the infamous blue-and-red cardboard glasses, two pair of which are provided. Like old View-Master slides, the image reveals multiple layers, with occasional ghosting. The bigger tradeoff is that the 3-D effects drain the picture of color, so it's almost like watching in black-and-white. (Get headaches easily? You have the option of watching the flat version, too.) Either way, I found it more eye-poppingly effective than bigger-budget efforts like, say, the fourth “Final Destination.” —Rod Lott