Look, I'm not one of those "remakes are bad, mmmkay?" stuffed shirts. I dug the redux of Dawn of the Dead, and if you catch me in a weak moment, I might even 'fess the same for the retread of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. At the same time, though, what do you really expect out of a flick written by the guy behind Jason X and hammered out by the director of Dracula 2000? As much as the extras ramble on about wanting to make My Bloody Valentine 3D a taut, unrelentingly tense, character-driven horror movie, it's a spookhouse at the county fair -- a blood-spattered campfest with eyeballs and pickaxes leaping out at you in 3D. If you're in a theater with a hundred other people, sure, it's a hell of a lot of infectious fun. In a living room with two or three other guys and the cardboard 3D glasses making everything look lifelessly green...? Not so much.
Oops. Tom Hanniger (Supernatural's Jensen Ackles) scored a plush gig at his father's mine without really knowing what he's doing, and he catches the blame for an explosion that trapped five miners under a couple tons of rubble. Dunno how many survivors there originally were, but when the rescue team finished carving their way through a month and a half later, there was just one left: Harry Warden, who was still alive and kickin' after butchering everyone who was left to preserve his own air supply. Flash-forward a year later. Harry slaps back on his old helmet and mask to carve his way through a gaggle of teenagers who figured it'd be a winning idea to party in that old abandoned mineshaft. Stab. Slash. Impale. You're, like, eight minutes into the flick and have already racked up a higher body count than most '80s slashers do in an hour and a half. The sheriff (Tom Frickin' Atkins) guns Harry down just before he can sink his pickaxe into Tommy Boy, and the sleepy little mining town of Harmony is safe again. Fade to black. Roll credits.
Oh! Wait. Leap
My Bloody Valentine blows its load pretty early on. All but one of the most cacklingly twisted kills are churned out in the first few minutes, and once the flick's finished with its flashbacks and sets up shop in the here and now, there's a really long scene with a chick darting around completely naked the entire time, cowering as the miner whacks a dwarf into a fluorescent light with a pickaxe. C'mon, it's a hell of a lot of campy fun, and with so many other horror flicks these days either unrelentingly grim torture porn or neutered to score a PG-13, it's great to finally see something take a stab at recapturing the same sort of depraved rollercoaster ride of an '80s slasher...and in 3D too!
'Course, My Bloody Valentine makes the same misstep as an awful lot of vintage slashers: it's agonizingly boring whenever someone isn't being carved apart. Even worse, there's really only one memorable kill after the carnage in the motel room. Other than a yanked-off jaw being flung towards the camera in 3D, it's just routine impalings and folks stumbling onto oodles of disemboweled corpses. Even with so much of the flick set against the backdrop of a mine, there are hardly any tense, claustrophobic setpieces this time around. Aside from a late night chase in a supermarket, My Bloody Valentine sticks mostly to "boo!" scares that really only work in 3D.
The acting's like something out of
What's good...? Tom Atkins. Boobs. Blood. My Bloody Valentine doesn't flinch away from the splatter, and to make sure everything packs a wallop in 3D, there isn't that sort of obnoxious hypercutting in the editing. It's not unrated on DVD and Blu-ray the way...oh, pretty much every other horror flick is on home video, but even with that overbearingly campy sense of humor and the cartoonish kills, My Bloody Valentine still earns its hard, blood-spattered R. I've gotta say that the scenes in the mine look phenomenal, although too many stretches of the rest of the movie look like cheap, poorly lit sets.
My Bloody Valentine 3D isn't a movie...it's an experience. Y'know, it's meant to be seen in a theater packed with frothing-at-the-mouth horror fans recoiling as a pickaxe is swung at 'em in 3D. That sort of hyperkinetic energy kept My Bloody Valentine screaming along even when the pace drags and the gags get more and more routine. That just doesn't carry over on Blu-ray, no matter how many sets of not-nearly-as-good 3D glasses are piled into that shiny blue case. The movie's pretty much completely green in 3D on video, and trudging through My Bloody Valentine without those 3D effects is like flipping the lights on at the Jaycees haunted house at the county fair: there's nothing remotely creepy about it in the dark anyway, but turning on the lights just shows how low-rent and lousy it really is. 'Sjust too bad it's this remake clawing its way to Blu-ray instead of the original. I'd shell out twentysomething bucks for that, but this remake...? Skip It.
This dual-layer Blu-ray disc piles on two versions of the movie. One is in anaglyph 3D, and there are four magenta-and-green glasses tucked inside the case. The 3D effects work remarkably well on Blu-ray, although there's some unavoidable ghosting, and the image is so slathered in green that virtually every other trace of color is drained away. There's also a flat 2D version, but My Bloody Valentine leans so heavily on its 3D gimmicks that once that's chucked out the window, the movie's borderline-unwatchable. On the other hand, its original palette is kept intact in this flat cut, and there's so much depth and dimensionality to the image that it's more like 2½D anyway.
Technically, My Bloody Valentine is teetering on being flawless on Blu-ray, but the distractingly cheap look of the flick and lack of color in the 3D version sap away a lot of the fun.
Like pretty much everything out of Lionsgate these days, My Bloody Valentine piles on a 24-bit, 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Sometimes the low budget does seem to creep in -- the dialogue in the hospital after Harry Warden goes batshit sounds hollow and poorly recorded -- but it generally comes through pretty well otherwise, and none of the screams are marred by so much as a flicker of clipping or distortion. The mix is packing a foundation-rattling low-end thanks to a couple of colossal explosions, the throbbing bass and massive stings in the score, and the hefty stack of kills. The surrounds flesh out an unsettling atmosphere in the mine, especially as one shaft starts to crumble early on. Scares like a tree branch plowing clean through a Jeep and a basket knocked over in a supermarket after hours are reinforced effectively by the rear speakers, and there's even some scattered directionality to the dialogue. Horror flicks pretty much always attack with spastic, hyperaggressive soundtracks, and My Bloody Valentine's sounds pretty damn great.
Also included is a French dub in Dolby Digital 5.1 alongside subtitles in English (traditional and SDH) and Spanish.
The only high-def extra on My Bloody Valentine 3D is a theatrical trailer, not that there's really all that much of interest besides.
A second disc in the set serves up a 2D digital copy of My Bloody Valentine for iPods and that whole crowd.
The Final Word
I kinda had a good time with My Bloody Valentine 3D back when it was making the rounds theatrically. It's a terrible flick, sure, but piling into a packed theater with eyeballs and pickaxes being flung at me in 3D...it's an experience even if the movie itself really isn't so much. None of that carries over to Blu-ray, tho'. The 3D version is pretty convincing on home video but is heavily tinted green, and there's borderline-nothin' redeeming about the flat version of the flick with that novelty gutted out. Even with four sets of glasses packed in, this Blu-ray disc just doesn't come close to duplicating the theatrical experience. My Bloody Valentine at least belts out more in the way of blood and boobs (and Tom Atkins!) than pretty much every other straightahead slasher from the past few years, but even that's not enough to distract from just how stilted and clunky this whole thing is. I mean, I'm about as big an '80s slasher apologist as they come, and even I'd have to shrug and say Skip It.
Why Not? A Few More Screencaps...