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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

My Bloody Valentine 3-D (review)

Scooby Slack

I was about ready to give My Bloody Valentine 3-D a passing grade, if just barely. I was ready to say, “Well, the plot is ridiculous and the dialogue is worse, and the acting ranges from flat and bad to histrionic and bad. But it’s worth a look for the stupendously goofy 3-D effects of axes flying out at you and blood splattering in your direction.” But then the movie did something unforgivable: it cheated at the end. In such a huge way that it’s the most stunningly bad thing about the movie. And it’s not like there’s not a lot of competition for the bad here.
There’s something so slasher-movie old-fashioned going on here, in how the first victims are the ones who’re having sex when maybe they shouldn’t be, in how the masked, ax-wielding killer isn’t interested in drawing out the pain and suffering of anyone — like we see in today’s torture porn — but just wants to dispatch his victims as quickly as possible. It’s brutally graphic, both the nudity and the gore, which is decidedly not like anything we’d have seen in a slasher flick 30 years back, but still: it brings (for a while) a kind of cheesy charm to the below-lowbrow proceedings.

Those proceedings? There’s a mad gas-mask-wearing homicidal maniac on the loose in the mining town of Harmony, who is either the reincarnation of the mad gas-mask-wearing homicidal maniac who went on a murderous rampage 10 years earlier, or is a copycat mad gas-mask-wearing homicidal maniac. The cast, refugees from WB and CW teen soap operas with a smattering of has-beens (hey, it’s that dude from Emergency!) get picked off at a regular clip, or hang on to maintain their red-herring status.

Who is the killer? When I was ready to send Valentine away with a small gold star, I was going to deploy an approving Scooby-Doo reference, as a way to acknowledge its deep ludicrousness. But I can’t do that now, because the joke I would have made would actually give away that secret. It seems that screenwriters Todd Farmer and Zane Smith (working from the script for the 1981 film of the same name of which this is a nominal remake) didn’t realize that their “clever” ending is straight outta old cartoons about stoner detectives who solve mysteries, and director Patrick Lussier (White Noise 2) isn’t clever enough to pull off this “twist” without realizing he should at least have been ironic about it. Roh-oh!

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watch at home

MPAA: rated R for graphic brutal horror violence and grisly images throughout, some strong sexuality, graphic nudity and language

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
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