Did somebody shout “fire” in a crowded theater?

Did somebody shout “fire” in a crowded theater?

Rated 2.0

It’s been a while since we’ve had a 3-D horror film. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Jaws all had their journey into the medium back in the day of the paper glasses with the blue and red lenses. The technology has come miles since then—now we get to wear cool shades!—and My Bloody Valentine 3-D is the first horror attempt in the new 3-D cinema age after a series of family films and concert movies.

As far as the 3-D effects go, it is easily the best 3-D slasher film ever made. The main killer brandishes a pickaxe, and this thing always seems as if it’s about to poke you in the eye or upper thigh. Blood and body parts seemingly whiz by your head, and there are moments when the film qualifies as a fun amusement park ride.

Unfortunately, the movie, a remake of the 1981 Canadian movie of the same name, isn’t just special effects from beginning to end. It does try to tell a story, and that story is only marginally better than, say, the theme park bullshit plot that was Jaws 3-D. In other words, My Bloody Valentine 3-D is not a very good movie. It is actually quite a bad one.

The movie kicks off with the aftermath of a mining disaster, when it’s discovered that the lone survivor only made it because he killed his coworkers to conserve air, which, when you think about it, is really quite creative on his part. The miner wakes from a coma on Valentine’s Day, returns to the scene of his crime, and kills some high school kids before he’s put down for good … or is he?

Cut to 10 years later, when folks start getting dispatched in a manner similar to the original miner killings. They get butchered, with their hearts subsequently removed and sometimes put in candy boxes for Valentine’s Day. The high school students who survived the original massacre include the grown up Sarah (Jaime King) and Axel (Kerr Smith), who is now the sheriff. Tom (Jensen Ackles), a fellow survivor who came face-to-face with the killer, has been gone for years. He returns to town and looks up Sarah, his old flame.

Tom seems like a nice boy, but the new killings coincide with his arrival. So Tom, the supposedly dead miner and the sheriff, who has some motives for the killings, become the main suspects, and the movie does a fair job of keeping us in the dark till the very end.

For a 3-D film, this one is awfully flat dramatically thanks to some cardboard performances by the leads. Jaime King is no Jamie Lee Curtis for sure, and Kerr Smith and Jensen Ackles, while blessed with movie star looks, fail to distinguish themselves as performers. Tom Atkins, veteran of such horror films as Halloween 3, Creepshow and The Fog, has a key role in the film. At first, I thought that was cool, until I realized that not only did I not like Tom Atkins in this movie, I disliked him in the old school stuff, too.

The new killings have some novel twists, including one potential female victim who runs around fully naked for quite a few minutes. Betsy Rue doesn’t just do a jiggling bedroom scene. She runs around outside for an extended period of time, all of her glory presented in detailed three dimensions. Her nude appearance is going to give some porn pushers a lot of ideas for the new 3-D medium.

In addition to his pickaxe, the killer has one of those mining helmets with a flashlight mounted on it, and that light beam provides for one of the cooler 3-D effects. There’s no denying that more than a few moments in My Bloody Valentine 3-D will make you go “Oooh … ahhhh!” It’s just that most other moments will make you go “Ahhh … who gives a crap?”