Nothing about My Bloody Valentine really screamed that it would be a great movie by any means. Not the trailer, not the critical reception, and especially not the fact that it was a remake of a 1981 film with the same name and plot. No, nothing about this film was remotely exciting…that was until they threw in the 3-D angle. How many movies can you name that has a pick axe fly at the audience in 3-D? Well now you can name one, as that’s all My Bloody Valentine 3-D was—one giant flying pick axe after another. Although a gimmick that wore on over time, the film still managed to be a strong Valentine’s Day contender, as at $15 million to make the film would go on to make nearly five times its budget back in theaters alone—and that’s even taking into account the ridiculous number of rentals this title will get.
Ten years ago in the town of Harmony, an inexperienced coal miner caused an accident that trapped and killed five men and sent the only survivor, Harry Warden, into a coma. When Harry woke, exactly one year later on Valentine’s Day, he wanted revenge and brutally murdered 22 people with a pickaxe before being killed himself. Now, after years of peace, something from Harmony’s dark past has returned. Wearing a miner’s mask and armed with a pickaxe, an unstoppable killer is on the loose. As his footsteps come ever closer, the townspeople realize in terror that it just might be Harry Warden who has found his way back.
There’s a bit of Jason and Meyers mixed into the film to be sure, but as a whole this film doesn’t even try to twist itself away from the cheap slasher flick that it is. It plays out from the beginning how you expect and lead Justin Ackles, of Supernatural fame, does his very best to keep the film moving along at a brisk pace. Surprisingly enough, however, Ackles is hardly the star of the film as the supporting cast, consisting of other actors like Jaime King, Kevin Tighe, Edi Gathegi and…well, actually that’s all who I could pick out to be honest. There is a full range of talent involved here, however, and each of them take an equal part of the story up and nothing about the film is remotely weak because of the acting involved, so that was immediately a nice surprise. Although there was one unexplored area of the plot in terms of Megan Boone’s character which is never mentioned again and completely left my head until I started writing this review. She mention’s in the film that she’s pregnant and…then nothing ever becomes of it. Never mentioned again…by anyone. Such a strong piece of dialogue to just toss in for a throwaway.
Now the violence…yes that was chuckle worthy. There were so many moments that I simply laughed at the brutality on screen, whether it be from a pick axe through the mouth or the tearing off of one’s jaw, the gore on screen was such a ridiculous display that it stepped into the comical zone multiple times. Some of it was kind of “ow” remark inducing, such as the death of Tighe’s character (I’d have prefaced that with a spoiler but…this is a slasher flick, so immediately ninety percent of the cast is going to die), but for the most part this was simply a purely run of the mill gore fest that was as entertaining as it was ridiculous.
Now for the “twist” of the story…I do have to hand it to the writers. I haven’t seen the original (nor do I ever want to) so I don’t know how much of this story is new or not, but I genuinely was left guessing as to the identity of the killer until the very end. Granted it wasn’t a very interesting story regardless, but it did manage to keep the question of who it was in the air for quite a great deal longer than I would have pegged it for. While I immediately grabbed onto who the killer was from the start of the film, it threw such a great diversion into the mix that I genuinely didn’t see it coming up until the last few minutes of the film. Now, granted, you could chalk that up to one of those Derailed type endings that actually no one could have seen coming because zero clues were left along the way, but that’s not the point. The point is they threw you the bone right at the beginning, only to tear it out of your hands and leave you wondering who it was. I won’t spoil it for you, as that’s kind of an enjoyable aspect of watching this film.
There’s also the excessive nudity and violence (although the nudity is contained to really the first part of the film, it is incredibly graphic…so do with that as you will) to help keep the film lively and exciting and as run of the mill the whole affair was…I gotta say, I really was kind of impressed by it as far as cheesy horror flicks go. Few moments were genuinely scary and, perhaps even more surprising than anything, there is no unrated cut of this film—all of the full frontal female nudity and gore fit itself into an R rating without issue and I guess there was just no need to go any further with it than the film already did.
I’ve skated over the biggest part of this film, however, so I’ll address that now. The 3-D? Yeah, it’s a gimmick. It does add a different element to the film, but honestly I got tired of a pick axe in 3-D. That’s almost all that ever really jumped out at the viewer. There was a great moment with a shotgun pointed at the screen, but other than that? Pick axe. Oh and a mutilated jaw bone. But I was expecting something like 3-D blood flying at and sticking to the screen…but nope, none of that either. While the 3-D was nice and definitely added something to the viewing experience, I don’t know if I’d ever bother watching it as such again due to the discomfort caused by the included glasses. Maybe if they devised a more comfortable method (paper 3-D glasses draped over my regular glasses = discomfort) I’d have enjoyed it more, but as is I was struggling to keep it from feeling as if the paper wasn’t slicing into my ears.
Overall it’s a solid slasher flick if you’re into that genre. Recommended for those that are, but if you’re not? Yeah…you’ll find nothing here. It’s a fun outing, but nothing that’ll genuinely scare the crap out of you. Although that whole gas mask tube thing is pretty freaky…but I got more scares from the commandos in Killzone 2 video game than I did from the Harry Warden boogey man in this film.
Lionsgate continues to impress on Blu-ray, even with their less than amazing films. The film arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray 2-disc case (second disc is pure digital copy, which is in 2-D) as well as four pairs of 3-D glasses and inserts advertising the format as well as instructions on how to redeem the aforementioned digital copy. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and surprisingly there are no fancy 3-D slipcovers or lenticular images or…anything. Very, very surprising.
Video arrives in an AVC encoded 1.85:1 1080p transfer and for all intents and purposes it’s a nice looking transfer, although you can’t really tell until you get into the 2-D version of the film (which is also included, naturally). The 3-D version simply adds too much color distortion to get a really good grasp on the clarity of the film, but the 2-D version sported all the right details and color levels in the right place. It’s what you’d expect from a modern looking film, although even if the picture was a bit harder to make out in 3-D, I’d still prefer it in that format. Sure, it’s gimmicky, but it does add something to the overall experience.
Audio is an impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that floods the room with screams and gory gushing sounds, although keep in mind there’s a great deal of talking in the film so that’s going to take over dominance in the front channels more than anything. Still, in the mines especially, there is a lot of cool little sound effects to bounce around the room. Also included is a French DD5.1 track as well as English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles.
Extras start off with a Audio Commentary with Director Patrick Lussier and Co-Writer Todd Farmer that is as exciting as you could get from a film like this. Plenty of talk about the production of the film, actors involved and…well, it’s a by-the-books track but if you enjoyed the film it’s a solid listen, if a bit boring simply because my interest in this film was waning even by the end of my first viewing, let alone the second viewing with commentary. Next we have Deep Inside (7:18) which is our quick-making of, Sex, Blood, and Screams” (5:47) covers the SF/X of the film, a series of fourteen Deleted and Extended Scenes, a quick Gag Reel (2:16), an Alternate Ending (1:03) that really isn’t all that alternate (some juxtaposition of Harry Warden and…that’s it). Finally there’s the Theatrical Trailer (0:38, 1080p), which is our only high-definition extra (although with two cuts of the film on the disc, that’s understandable).
Overall My Bloody Valentine is a solid release, but only worth keeping around if you’re really into the genre. The extras are rather disposable and really nothing was added to my enjoyment of the film because of them. Worth a Rental, although whether or not you’ll get the 3-D glasses is another thing.
My Bloody Valentine 3-D arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on May 19th.