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MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D- THE PIT OF HORROR REVIEW -- [Posted 16th January 2009]


The word "remake" has these days been modified, at least where cinema is concerned, to such lofty terms as "re-imagining" and "re-invention." Hell, come to think of it, I even tried to coin "re-accomplishment" for Rob Zombie's Halloween feature from last year; it didn't catch on, incidentally. But Patrick Lussier's My Bloody Valentine 3D, a fresh take on the feisty 1981 Canadian slasher, is in a class of its own. And the stunning three-dimensional visuals are only a sidebar, not the mainstay of this winningly creepy horror romp.

The film moves at a strikingly rapid clip. For a moment, I wondered if the projectionist had mistakenly put on the last reel, and this was about five minutes into the screening. But he hadn't, because this film has a get-up-and-go agenda and wastes no time setting up a backstory and then engineering a fake-out second prologue. In the interest of exposition, the small mining township of Harmony, Pennsylvania suffers a terrible tragedy in which an inexperienced miner accidentally triggers a collapse which traps six miners. When the debris is finally cleared, only one miner is still alive. It is the comatose Harry Warden (Rich Walters), but it's quickly discovered that he used his pick-axe to murder the other five to conserve oxygen for himself. When he unexpectedly awakens in the hospital a year later, he escapes with several eviscerated corpses in his wake and turns up at the old mine, where a group of young adults are partying. He makes short work of most of them when the authorities show up and riddle him with bullets. Somewhere within that scenario, by the way, is where I originally thought the wrong reel was on the projector.

What looks like the movie's climax is merely the end of one more expositional piece, and we're maybe ten minutes into the total narrative. Segue to ten years later. The mine is about to be closed, since the owner has died and his son has no intention of carrying on. This creates unrest in the township, as the mine is its primary source of commerce. Characters are introduced, a few of whom carry on adulterous affairs which will shortly lead to their gory demises. Others are introduced to oppose the selling of the mine--and the probable loss of their lofty jobs. The horror begins again, though, when a miner dressed a lot like Harry Warden begins stalking certain citizens of the township.

It's important to note the carry-over elements of George Mihalka's original film. Here, the three main characters are Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles), Sarah (Jaime King) and Axel (Kerr Smith). The legendary boogeyman is the erstwhile Harry Warden. While in the original, Sarah and Axel are dating--which creates tension between Axel and former best friend T.J. (as Tom is addressed in the first film)--the two are now married. Here, the animosity level is heightened considerably with Tom's reappearance. He's the estranged son of the mine's deceased owner, we find out--and also the inexperienced miner who caused the clumsy mishap from eleven years ago. And he's been out-of-pocket for ten years. His popping onto the scene and his resolve to sell the mine certainly raises the ire of certain folks in town whose bread and butter depend on the survival of the enterprise. Needless to say, this motivation eventually points the finger at other characters who could be culpable in the crimes at hand.

Exponentially expanding the original story, scripters Todd Farmer and Zane Smith manage to weave a deliciously claustrophobic "Who's-Not-What-They-Seem" tension only hinted at twenty-eight years ago. And Farmer (who also scripted the Jason X--before certain parties rewrote it to hell--and had a role in that film) turns up himself as a trucker who gets lucky, then decidedly unlucky. All the elements are in place, but with creepy new additions, like a clandestine grave, an abandoned shack and even a grocery store at closing time. You'd never guess how scary that setting could be until this movie.

But what about the 3D? It's a process I'm at a loss to fully explain. I do know that it involves glasses which allows each eye to accept images from slightly different angles, and when the brain puts them together in that same instant, it creates a simulated depth perception. My Bloody Valentine 3D utilizes such a system called Real D Cinema, created by one Lenny Lipton. Fast answer, it is visually stunning and continually amazing. If nothing else, the 3D effects in this movie are worth the purchase of a ticket.

There has been a demand for a sequel to Mihalka's underappreciated film for many a year now. Given its lesser status, compared to the likes of remake contemporaries Black Christmas, The Hills Have Eyes and the upcoming Friday The 13th, it's now in the company of cinematic elder statesmen. And My Bloody Valentine 3D does its original proud in many ways, and it even leaves the door wide-assed open for a sequel. Like that's a surprise.

'MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D' A Film by PATRICK LUSSIER
Starring JENSEN ACKLES - JAIME KING - KERR SMITH - TOM ATKINS - MEGAN MALONE
Screenplay by Todd Farmer & Zane Smith. Source Material by John Beaird & Stephen A. Miller. Directed by Patrick Lussier.

[DISCUSS ON OUR FORUMS] [Review By Petch Lucas]
PITOFHORROR.com

SAW V

YEAR: 2009

STUDIO: LIONSGATE

COUNTRY USA

RUN TIME 101 mins (US)

CERT: USA, R

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