Friday, February 21, 2014

Quickie Retrospective: My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

My Bloody Valentine 3D
Director: Patrick Lussier
Written By: Todd Farmer and Zane Smith
Starring. Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, TOM FUCKING ATKINS, Betsy Rue, Kevin Tighe, Megan Boone
Rated: R

Stay the fuck away from my wife!

The horror remake craze went into full swing after 2003.  And while people scoffed, you couldn't deny it was getting butts in seats and branding new and rediscovery of interest in these properties.  It seemed the instant go-to for this was the slasher genre as a lot of them had recognizable names or a holiday one could easily identify with.  My Bloody Valentine was one of the more cult properties to have been picked up.  It was one that only had one film, not at all a franchise that kept have sequel after sequel to keep it in public conscience.  Maybe people remembered what the killer looked like, but I really doubt outside of horror circles many people remembered it.  So, yeah, I think it was a really ideal choice to be remade.
What Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier did with this is quite remarkable.  They made a remake in the best possible way.  They took the general idea of the original, but put their own spin on the characters and really made their own version of it instead of beat by beat telling the original again.  And they even pull the rug out from under fans at the very end.  You can watch the original and this film and they are two completely different experiences.  And in that regard, I'm actually able to love both of these films at the same time.  Not many a remake can you say that about.
One of the best facets of the modern My Bloody Valentine is that this movie is a slasher film through and through.  It's not afraid to go for it and be one.  The script also doesn't sit and apologize for being one or use meta stuff or winks at the audience.  Its is straight up a 1980s slasher just made with modern technique and sensibilities.  And its because of this awareness that the movie succeeds.  Is it the scariest movie ever?  Is it some sophisticated artful slasher?  Not at all.  What it is, is a damn good time.  This movie is a lot of fun to watch.  It's got some really awesome bloody kills, taking full advantage of and using the pick axe every way possible to put out someone's life light.  There are also some really great set ups for some chase scenes and action bits and a couple solid jump scares too.  But what's best, is this movie isn't afraid to be goofy or provide some genuine laughs.  There are some scenes that are just silly, but I fully believe they're done on purpose (how did Tom Atkins know to be at that house?).
Part of this goofy strength are our 2 leads' performances.  The friends at odds over a girl are now played by CW and WB Network superstars Jensen Ackles and Kerr Smith.  Ackles gives a bit of a weird performance that works, but its Smith that really steals this show.  Kerr is not afraid to get over the top ridiculous and campy.  I'm hoping its intentional, but he gives one of those gloriously bad performances that is incredibly entertaining.  There's a scene that I love where he's getting angry at Ackles for being in his house and he's all "In MY house!  Where I have sex with MY wife!".  I just absolutely love him in this movie, he's freakin' hilarious.
My Bloody Valentine 3D was also the first movie to bring about the 3D craze.  While its no Avatar or Gravity in that regard, it is some good old early 1980s type exploitation 3D.  Shit is constantly flying at and holding in front of your face.  The depth is really weird on it though, as some of the shots and sets look like models and miniatures when they're clearly real people and locations.  Its much better than this post converted stuff we get nowadays.  They shot it for 3D and knew they weren't making some masterpiece, so they just had fun and ran with it.
There was supposed to be a sequel to this movie after it proved to be a hit.  But like in 1980s, it has never come to fruition.  And it doesn't help the studio that owns it is starting to think its too good for horror as any little studio that comes into prominence ends up doing.  But, at least we got this one and its pretty awesome.  So, there's 2 separate takes on the My Bloody Valentine legend and both are pretty awesome.  I'd love to see the pick axe strike again, but I don't think that is to be.  But I salute this remake, that wound up being really awesome and honored the original and then some best it could.  I actually enjoyed it much more than the Friday the 13th remake I was anticipating more that came out the next month (I still like the Friday remake, just MBV I had more fun with).  This is totally that old school date movie horror film from that 80s that packed houses with teens and college kids on a weekend night.

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