Zombos Says: Very Good
Cinema in three dimensions does for the slasher movie what black and white does for film noir; it provides the best atmosphere and in your face vantage point to see all the gore, join in the screaming mayhem, and easily count the number of mangled bodies piling up.
Three 3D-enhanced images stay with me after watching My Bloody Valentine 3D: the sickening way one victim's shovel-sliced head, bisected at the mouth, slowly slides down the sharp blade toward the audience; the stark beam of the headlight darting about in the gloom of the movie theater as the gas masked, pickaxe-wielding, miner stalks his next victim; and the vivid Utz Potato Chip bags displayed prominently on an endcap behind Sarah and Megan as they run their hearts out--to keep them beating in their chests--down a grocery aisle. I could, of course, mention other images that come to mind, like gaping chest cavities, a blood-dripping, lifeless hand so close you can almost touch it, and one eye-popping surprise--courtesy of, once again, that über-utilitarian, death-dealing pickaxe, but it is a slasher film after all. So much carnage from such a simple tool is quite surprising; of course, clothes dryers can also be useful as vividly shown in this movie.
My Bloody Valentine 3D does not stop at the dozen or so pickaxe techniques for artfully--if messily--dispatching the careless townsfolk of Harmony, the place where ten years earlier Harry Warden went on a killing spree, in the Hanniger Mining Company's Tunnel No. 5, that puts a Cuisinart's slicing and dicing ability to shame. It heaps on the pounding, relentless music suitable for an unstoppable killer on the loose, who pickaxes hearts out of chests and stuffs them in heart-shaped candy boxes, with love, every Valentine's Day, and unabashedly oggles drop dead gorgeous, screaming in terror, women running naked in stiletto heels. For a remake of a minor Canadian slasher movie from 1981, director Patrick Lussier and writers do their best to bring back the unbridled yet simple construct of the slasher genre: violent graphic death, people running for their lives, more violent graphic death. They outdid themselves here.
With actors like Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) and veteran Tom Atkins, as well as a talented cast taking it all very seriously, the story is brutally lean and mean. Bridging the 1981 film's comparatively tamer carnage with its more flagrantly bloodier remake, an early scene, where body parts are liberally distributed in a hospital after Harry Warden wakes up from his coma in a bad mood, transitions neatly into the present, which in this case is ten years later. It is interesting how horror movies often rely on anniversaries and ten years later-styled storylines to pick up the tragic action, isn't it?
Tom Hanniger (Ackles) returns to town after a long absence, to sell the mine where he caused the tragic accident that started Warden on his killing-spree. With his return, the killing begins again, and the victims include those who survived Warden's butchery ten years before. In due time, secrets are revealed, and Tom and Sheriff Palmer (Kerr Smith) argue over Palmer's wife Sarah (Jaime King), who is showing rekindled ardor for Tom, her former boyfriend. As suspicion grows with the blood flow, Tom, Sarah, and Sheriff Axel return to the mine where it all began. They are not alone.
My Bloody Valentine 3D has the distinction of being the first horror movie to utilize the technique to its fullest; namely by highlighting gore and making sure to stick the audience's face into it, or toss it into the audience's lap as often as possible. Given the highly effective visual intimacy that cinema 3D naturally lends to the horror genre, can 4D be far behind?
And for those parents who brought their young children to watch a movie like this, I ask simply "What the hell were you thinking?" If anyone deserves a pickaxe through their dumb skulls, you certainly do.