04 March 2009

My Bloody Valentine 3-D

My Bloody Valentine 3-D
Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Tom Atkins
written by
Todd Farmer & Zane Smith
directed by
Patrick Lussier
Lionsgate, 100 mins., Rated R

**1/2 (out of ****)

Now this is what I'm talking about! A nice, solid horror film that is 100% pure enjoyment. And there's also the part where I'd rather watch this than yet another by-the-book romantic comedy, and when the girlfriend complains "but it's not very Valentine's Day-ish", I can show her the title and say, "Sorry, luv, but it says the word 'Valentine' right on the title - it's applicable." But anyway, point is: My Bloody Valentine 3-D is friggin' sweet. And yes, I know I'm a little late to the party, since the flick was released over a month ago, but I just got around to seeing it recently, so I figured I'd put in my two cents, eh? I also want to say that this was my first time screening a film in 3-D, and to proclaim the experience awesome beyond all reason is not an understatement. The only thing I could possibly think of that could top it would be watching a 3-D movie on the IMAX screen! Now that would be something to behold! (which I think they did for the Robert Zemeckis Beowulf, though I could be wrong)

Alright, moving on. Now, I've never seen the original My Bloody Valentine, and I know it's been released on DVD in an uncut version, so maybe I'll give it a check-out. Although, I do confess I was stupid enough to believe this was the third installment in the series, and just added the "D" at the end of it to up the points in the coolness factor. Before you point your mouses and laugh with a dozen "Har, Har(s)", keep in mind both the third installments for the above-mentioned Jaws and Friday the 13th 3-D flicks had the "D" at the end of it, so there...Alright, so I guess you had enough of this yammering, so I'm done now...

Years ago,
Harry Warden went nuts and killed a bunch of his co-workers and crazy drunk teens in a mine on Valentine's Day. So, overall, no big deal; business as usual. The cops, though, didn't favor that so well, so they shot him a bit just in the nick of time to save Tom Hannigan (Ackles), who promptly leaves town and his flame Sarah (King) behind. Ten years later, though, Tom's forced back to the small community of Harmony to sell off his father's assets - such as the mine. The towns folk aren't too happy about this idea, since the mine pretty much keeps business a smooth sailin', not to mention opens up the job market. Tom's presence also stirs up hidden feelings with the ex, Sarah, whose currently married to the town Sheriff, Axel (Smith), who has a few secrets of his own. Boy, I bet that's not gonna put a wrench in anyone's marriage. Anyhow, shit hits the proverbial fan when killings start popping up by a serial killer who not only looks but murders quite like the late Harry Warden - is he back from the dead to finish Tom? Is Warden a zombie? Will Tom live happily ever after with Sarah?

Now, about the 3-D aspect. It arguably makes the movie better than it actually is (which is pretty good, really), which is sorta cheating, but I don't care in account that it's just so friggin' awesome! The opening, from the Lionsgate logo, the credits, to the hand dripping blood to the top right hand of the corner (it was freakin' popping out at me! Like I could grab it! Coooooooooooll), the 3-D was spectacular. I'm quite grateful this was the flick I experienced it the first time with, and not, say...Jaws 3-D or Friday the 13th Part 3-D (both of which I heard were dreadful during their initial run). Hell, even the vehicles in Valentine were three-dimensional. Everything was three-dimensional! Concerning the kills in 3-D, the awesomenest - and I'm sure this has been discussed at length - was when our resident baddie stuck his mining tool up a guy's chin and out through the mouth; this type of 'ouch' isn't good enough, so what the miner does next is soooo cool: he kicks this dude backwards, which forces the guy's jaw to break off and FLY TOWARDS THE CAMERA!!! That was just about as awesome as the anticipation for Anakin VS. Obi-Wan in Episode III. I mean, I don't wish to underscore it's coolness, but - well, it's so worth the outrageous price of admission.

Hands down, the real reason I saw Valentine was actor Jensen Ackles. I love this dude; he's a terrific actor who deserves some kudos. As Tom, he unfortunately isn't given the chance to promote too much range, or really delve into anything juicy, but it's a horror gig, so I can't fault him for it. Point is, it's another opportunity to watch this awesome dude in action, so it's worth it. TV vets will recall this guy's amazing talent from the CW's hit show Supernatural, as well as a season-long arc four seasons ago on their Smallville program.

Jamie King doesn't have that many acting credits, but it feels like I see her name everywhere these days. Anyhow, she most notably made an appearance in Frank Miller's The Spirit to a performance that wasn't altogether all that fantastic, and cameo ed in Fanboys to the point that I didn't recall she was in it until I IMDB'd her. Point is, she's pretty good - I enjoyed her performance. Smith, as well, is above your average horror movie role. I'm currently watching this guy on the early seasons of Dawson's Creek (oi, now don't roll your eyes - I'm not watching it voluntarily), and already he's quite the exceptional actor (he's waaayyy better than this freaky James van deer Beak), easily holding his own against the might of The Ackles.

The script's not about to win any prestigious awards, and there's plenty of questions that arise (most importantly, why the frak did Mr. Warden start his killing spree in the first place?) but honestly, it's pretty easy to overlook 'em when you're just enjoying yourself. More specifically, I want to address the film's final 15 or so minutes, where the identity of the killer is in question, and it becomes a "Is it Tom? Is it Axel?" dilemma. Sure, there's some who thought the 'twist' was in-your-face obvious - perhaps I semi-saw it coming, but was denying it because I didn't want it to end up that way - but it was deliciously entertaining to watch Sarah make a heart-breaking decision. Pretty juicy stuff for a B-level horror film, yeah?
I'm also a sucker for these types of strained romances, where there's some actual barriers to plow through, and although you're rooting for our main protagonist, the person she's actually shacked up with isn't all that bad of a bloke. Structurally, as well, the script is quite solid - start off with a bang: bunch of people get killed, fast forward ten years in the future, insert angst, drama, killing, angst, drama, killing, repeat. Simple, easy to remember, and quite effective formula. Only downside, really, is it's cliche dialogue which is becoming increasingly overused in horror films today (look at the latest Friday the 13th installment for reference).

Funny thing - well, at least for me - is that I'm publishing this review just when the DVD got announced my Lionsgate. For those curious, the DVD & Blu-Ray hits retailers May 19th, with a standard edition, a Special Edition, and your truly awesome Blu-Ray edition. There will be an audio commentary (Yippie! I love those!) by director Lussier and co-writer Farmer; a "Deep Inside My Bloody Valentine" making-of feature; "Sex, Blood and Screams - The Special Make-Up FX of My Bloody Valentine"; deleted and extended scenes and a gag reel conclude the Special Edition DVD. The Blu-Ray will have all this and more, of course - including a digital copy to play on one's iPod.

Sadly, the three-dimensional awesomeness probably won't be so awesome at home [that reminds me: when NBC aired their 3-D "Chuck" episode, "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension", I was completely agitated that it didn't seem like the beautiful lingerie-wearing Yvonne Strahovski wasn't coming towards me. I mean, the probability of that happening in real life is sorta slim, so I was hoping the 3-D was damn well gonna work - and it failed miserably], so I'm glad I caught it at the theater. But that aside, I definitely will be picking up this beauty and, for that matter, the uncut original, if just to do a compare and contrast type of thing.

Walking into the theater, I was expecting a cross between that atrocious When a Stranger Calls and that pile of dog poo-poo Prom Night (2008), so it was quite a relief to find My Bloody Valentine to be a solid horror/thriller movie that's dazzling with pretty effects. Fine actors, serviceable script, and a extra dose of awesomeness. What's not to love? So, in conclusion, see My Bloody Valentine 3-D!

No comments: