Thursday, February 5, 2009

Movie review: My Bloody Valentine 3D

By Rick Morris

I will preface this review by saying that I'm not a huge horror movie fan -- not that I don't like them, because the ones I've seen have been pretty good, but the genre seems to mostly appeal to hard-core fans and I'm fairly lukewarm in that I can take them or leave them. But I was hugely impressed with MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D.

This remake of the 1981 classic takes place in a small Pennsylvania mining town. 10 years earlier, an accident in the mines killed several workers and turned survivor Harry Warden into a murderous maniac. His killing spree erupted again at a subsequent party that some young folks were throwing at the site. With the death of the mine owner, his heir, son Tom, has returned a decade later with the intention of selling the property.

The would-be transfer of the property is complicated by the start of another killing spree that, by all apparent accounts, is being perpetrated by Harry again. Notwithstanding evidence that he died at the end of the previous run of murders, he appears to be back -- either that, or somebody is imitating him with the miner's uniform and mask. And the few who survived the massacre at the party are squarely in the crosshairs. Tom had fled the small town after that attack, leaving behind high school sweetheart Sarah. She then ended up, in what we are led to believe may have been a rebound situation, in a marriage-and-motherhood scenario with another member of that high school crowd, Axel -- who has become the town's sheriff. Tom's return rekindles a rivalry between Axel and he and both men point the finger at each other for being responsible for the new run of murders, even while the specter of Harry's alleged return hovers over everyone in town.

Those who watch a lot of horror movies may find some of the twists and turns formulaic and perhaps even predictable. If so, that's fair enough. As someone not regularly exposed to the genre, I found the storytelling to be of decent caliber and I was impressed with how the movie built to a climax.

But the true star of this film is the technology. The 3D elements are simply spectacular, from the heinous amounts of gore to other action/chase scenes to the mundane made special. There is a scene early in the movie where Tom drives down to take a look at the mine and he parks at the top of a small hill. With the camera shot from lower down on the incline, the car points out towards the viewers in 3D such that it appears to be within arm's reach. For all of the attention that the movie is getting for the 3D blood/flying weapons -- and they're impressive -- and a 3D sex scene -- also, uh, well-done -- the simple elements of life in 3D come across in an unbelievable way.

The ironic title of the movie aside, this isn't a great date movie, especially around Valentine's Day -- but it's unbeatable for a couple of escapist hours with your friends. I had the pleasure of watching this with fellow FDH Lounge Dignitaries and longtime friends Jonny Adams and Mike Vili and we were all completely entertained. Two (severed) thumbs up.

Here is the trailer, which actually does a pretty good job of conveying some of the 3D elements.

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