Friday, February 13, 2009

Film review: My Bloody Valentine 3D

Director: Patrick Lussier
Cast: Jaime King, Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith
Country: USA

Sometimes a movie comes along that is so slippery, it’s hardly worth slinging any critical mud. For all its flaws, and there are many, it’s impossible to deny My Bloody Valentine’s quality as a wonderful carnival ride of slash and dash horror generously drenched in gallons of gore – and it’s in 3D too.

As a subgenre in horror it turns out slashers have much in common with the seemingly superhuman killers that inhabit quiet American townships like MBV’s Harmony, stalking the same old stupid, fornicating kids – just when you think they’re dead and buried, the relentless buggers come back for one more slice ‘n’ dice. And the fact of the matter is, we love it. We love the predictability of the formula, the macabre gags, the shit acting too, but mostly what we love is the killing. When it comes to slashers we’re all voyeurs and not just for the inevitable gratuitous flashing of boobs… even in 3D and all its glorious gimmickry.

After being in a coma for a year after a cave-in at the local mine, sole survivor Harry Warden wakes on Valentine’s Day and embarks on a killing spree, smashing and slaughtering 22 men, women and children. Ten years later the killing starts all over again and while presumed dead, Harry Warden is Harmony’s prime pickaxe-wielding suspect.

Back in town as the mayhem gets going is Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles), son of the mine owner, back to sell his dead father’s business. While back he runs into high-school sweetheart Sarah (Jaime King) who is now married to town sheriff Axel (Kerr Smith) who is as much of an asshole as his name suggests. Survivors of the last rampage, Tom, Sarah and Axel all form cogs in MBV’s kitchen sink approach to the film’s plot.

Not satisfied with merely fulfilling the conventions of a straight slasher, director Patrick Lussier incorporates elements of whodunit, twisting turning suspense and some love triangle drama for good measure. Whenever the film gets caught up in these elements it stalls, thanks mainly due to some truly horrible acting from Ackles and Smith who huff and puff with all the bluster of an emphysema sufferer. Thankfully these moments are mostly momentary as the pace increase back to helter skelter with yet another memorable death-by-pickaxe bloodletting.

And I would be amiss not to lavish praise on the 3D experience of MBV. There hasn’t been a horror film that has ever taken advantage of this technology like this in my memory. Blood drips onto the floor of the cinema, axes, flames and body parts fly out the screen, and the depth perception all enhance the physical and emotion experience of every frame. Lussier basks in the fun to be had with 3D’s goregasmic FX.

Yes there’s a lot that is pretty B-grade tosh about My Bloody Valentine 3D, but if you can’t have fun watching the naked, hot local tramp chase her one-stop trucker lover and toting a gun, or a midget impaled on the ceiling, well, you’re just not much fun at all.

Happy Valentines Day people.

My Bloody Valentine 3D is on general release in Australia from February 12.