Blood and Boredom

The first horror flick with the new 3-D technology looks cool, but the movie itself stinks

It's been a while since we've had a 3-D horror film. Freddy Krueger, Jason and Jaws all had their journey into the medium back in the days of the paper glasses with the blue and red lenses. However, the technology has come miles since then--now we get to wear cool-looking shades!--and My Bloody Valentine 3-D is the first horror film in the new 3-D cinema age, following a series of family 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 pickax, and the thing always seems as if it's about to poke you in the eye or the upper thigh. Blood and body parts seemingly whiz by your head; there are moments when the film qualifies as a fun amusement-park-like ride.

Unfortunately, the movie doesn't offer cool effects from beginning to end. It tries to tell a story, and the 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 bad.

The movie kicks off with the aftermath of a mining disaster, where the lone survivor only made it because he killed his co-workers 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 removed and sometimes put in candy boxes for Valentine's Day. The high school students who survived the original massacre include the now-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. Tom, the supposedly dead miner and the sheriff (who has some motives for the killings) all become main suspects; the movie does a fair job of keeping us in the dark until the very end.

For a 3-D film, this flick is awfully flat, thanks to some cardboard performances by the leads. King is no Jamie Lee Curtis, for sure, and Smith and Ackles--while both blessed with movie-star looks--fail to distinguish themselves as performers. Tom Atkins, a veteran of such horror films as Halloween III, Creepshow and The Fog, also has a key role in the film. At first, I thought that was cool--until I realized that not only did I not like Atkins in this movie; I disliked him in the old-school stuff, too. The new killings have some novel twists, and one potential female victim runs around fully naked for a few minutes. Betsy Rue doesn't just do a jiggling bedroom scene; she runs around outside for an extended period of time, with 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 pickax, the killer has one of those mining helmets with a light 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?"

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