Before seemingly every movie had to be in 3D, this little-appreciated horror film made great use of the gimmick. Granted, horror movies are an easy genre to utilize 3D, but this was nearly a year before Avatar was released and the full impact hadn’t been realized save for a few random movies like this and 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
It’s not a classic horror film, but it has some nice scares, is surprisingly solid in following the ‘invincible boogeyman style’ where the unstoppable foe continues hunting down unsuspecting villains and fun 3D effects.
The marriage of horror movies and 3-D seems like a match made in heaven – both make the audience jump and shift in their seat and are fun even in their most basic sense – so it’s surprising that there haven’t been more horror 3-D films released lately.
Enter a masked man ready to launch his pick-axe straight at you in the fun My Bloody Valentine 3-D, which makes great use of the 3-D format in a better than average horror film.
An accident in a mine shaft leaves a group of miners dead — not by the shaft’s collapse, but rather the actions of miner Harry Warden, who kills the others to conserve his air. After awakening from a coma, Harry goes on a murderous rampage, killing dozens of people before once again getting trapped in a mine shaft.
A decade later, Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles, Supernatural) returns to his old hometown and finds things have decidedly changed. His girlfriend Sarah (Jamie King, The Spirit) is now with his old rival Axel (Kerr Smith, Final Destination), the town sheriff. Worst, people are getting killed again and people are beginning to worry if Warden has returned to finish what he started.
Because there are no more original ideas in Hollywood, Valentine 3-D is based on the 1981 film, which has a better Valentine’s Day theme. In the original, Harry gets trapped because the mine supervisors abandon their post to attend a Valentine’s Day party. After making his escape, he warns the town never to celebrate Valentine’s Day and returns when they hold another party. It’s those little touches that turn a gimmick into a horror film franchise that can pump out sequel after sequel. The remake doesn’t stick as closely to Valentine’s Day besides a few token mentions.
Screenwriters Todd Farmer (Jason X) and Zane Smith adopt the Kevin Williamson style of writing a horror film where the characters are sharply written, funny and have a bit of depth so you care when they get killed off. And they weave in a nice mystery where everyone has something shady going on and could potentially be the one behind the murders.
Helpfully, the list of suspects gets shorter as the movies progresses. They also work in some nice odes to genre icons as the first two characters killed are Freddy and Jason (from Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th) and the film takes place on a Saturday — the 14th — to make the day before Friday the 13th. Nice touch.
The killer is a bit limited in his method of mayhem, but Director Patrick Lussier (an editor on the Scream films) keeps finding creative ways to kill characters off making sure to use the 3D to maximum efficiency.
Lussier limits his 3D use to the kill scenes, but it would have been nice to have seen him toy around with the effects for other scenes.
Horror films don’t need to be high drama; they just need some brutally creative death scenes and a clever hook to keep the audience’s attention. Bloody Valentine accomplishes that and then some thanks to the fun 3-D effects.
Rating: 7 out of 10