Horror genre steadily weakens, reaches new low with ‘My Bloody Valentine 3-D’
February 26, 2009
I am convinced that the horror genre is in a terrible slump. What looked like a promising resurgence in the early to mid-2000s that took elements from old-school horror (from “Shaun of the Dead” to “Grindhouse”), may have died shortly after. Any enjoyment or fright we used to feel while watching is no longer present. Cookie cutter horror like “My Bloody Valentine 3-D” is a prime example of what the genre has now become.
A remake of a 1981 Canadian slasher film, it begins 11 years prior to present day, when a mineshaft collapsed and trapped six miners. As help finally comes, five of the miners are found dead, having been killed with a pick ax. The remaining miner, Tom Harry Warden, went into a coma. A year later, he wakes from coma, and returns to the mine where a party is going on (why party in such a dangerous location?), and kills everyone, except Tom (Jensen Ackles), Axel (Kerr Smith) and Sarah (Jaime King). Fast forward 11 years, and Tom has returned to town at the same time murders are occurring. He is now under suspicion for the killings by Axel, who is now the sheriff and married to Sarah. The rest of the movie is spent trying to find out who the killer is and creating tension with a love triangle between the three leads.
Some of the elements that make horror movies stand out from the rest are gore, suspense, scares and brutality. But “MBV” has none of these qualities. Like many horror flicks these days, you know when the kill is coming, because camera shots and music tell you. The structure mainly works from kill to kill, with uninteresting melodramatic gaps in between. Kill, break for plot, repeat. You can pretty much anticipate each character’s demise, as their deaths depend almost entirely on their own stupid decisions. There is a significant amount of blood, but not much of the good stuff (organs, brains, etc.).
The 3-D aspect of “MBV” does not do much for the film. One would think it would bring about a whole new viewing experience, but there is no difference between the three-dimensional antics here and that of “Spy-Kids 3-D” (except the violence level, of course). The effect is all a gimmick to get asses in the seats. It only takes a killer one or two times to stick a pickax in your face before the effect gets stale (the same goes for squirting blood as well). You also get treated to prolonged awkward shots of actors holding out objects to show how 3-D the movie is.
Speaking of the actors, performances range from atrocious to subpar. Ackles has the emotional range of a carrot, while Smith tries to pull off the rebel act, but just makes the character come across as a loser and incompetent. Lead actress Jaime King is the only decent actor, who pulls off a believable character.
Maybe this would have been better if it actually gave a crap. “My Bloody Valentine 3-D” is a half-hearted slasher movie, neatly wrapped in 3-D digital package. Everyone involved seems to take the whole thing so seriously, while the movie is pretty unintentionally laughable. Victims trip on God knows what while they’re being chased. People go to see what that strange noise is. Yeah, it’s that bad.
José Cruz Jr. is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.