Pop-up horror

Adam Clarke wishes a certain unrelated-to-this-movie shoe-gaze band would release their third album already.

Well, I guess us Canadians can rest easy because they finally produced a follow-up to My Bloody Valentine. Yes, no more sleepless nights about the Cape Breton-shot slasher flick that featured a young Cynthia Dale amongst its cast of disposables.

Hey, wait a minute. None of you gave a rat’s ass about a sequel to or remake of My Bloody Valentine. What was I thinking?

The original film wasn’t that bad, especially when judged by the more forgiving standards of the slasher sub-genre. It had a “holiday” ripe for the horror treatment, an atmospheric finale and a villain who looked really creepy, particularly in the scene where he busts the mining lights one-by-one with his pickaxe. Oh, and the fact that everyone orders a Moosehead at the local watering hole adds an undeniably Canadian charm to the whole affair. So, as a semi-fondly-remembered horror flick, it was bound to be remade some day. Frankly, having experienced the debacle of Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake (the original is too good to be remade in the first place) I’m perfectly content to see filmmakers have a crack at a movie that wasn’t so great the first time around.

And this one’s in 3D!

Honestly, 3D is a tremendously fun gimmick. You could put any film in 3D and I would go. If somebody released Schindler’s List 3D, I would be there on opening day, screaming in terror as that red balloon came flying towards me. It’s a thrill when executed well and the My Bloody Valentine remake does exactly that, for about 30 minutes.

We open with a titanic amount of exposition regarding Harry Warden (Rich Walters), a miner who goes on not one, but two killing sprees—and experiences a lengthy coma in between—all in the first ten minutes of the film. After his second rampage, Warden is presumed dead, but not before traumatizing miner Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles). A decade later, Valentine’s Day is approaching and Hanniger has returned to that small American town once more to sell the mine, having inherited it from his father. Needless to say, the many miners in this one-horse town aren’t pleased by the news, and suspicion falls on Hanniger when someone in mining gear starts picking off local residents.

Again, despite the myriad contrivances of that setup, My Bloody Valentine 3D is pretty entertaining for a while. The 3D effects work well and the writers try to have fun with this pulpy genre. The film peaks with a splendidly ridiculous set piece involving the killer, a nude woman, a dwarf, her dog, and a trucker, but sadly loses any spark it had after that. It’s a shame really, as there was a lot potential to remake My Bloody Valentine as a sort of Jhonen Vasquez-style black comedy where irritatingly doe-eyed couples are gruesomely dispatched for 80 minutes. That would be ideal for single horror fans, because nothing says “I love you” like a 3D pickaxe in the face. As it stands, My Bloody Valentine 3D doesn’t have much to do with Valentine’s Day, or even the town mine, which you’d think would be pretty crucial to a killer dressed like a miner.

Further hindering the film are the performances. More than any other genre, slashers have seldom been home to great acting. Nonetheless, the leads in this film take the genre to an all-time low with Supernatural’s Ackles being a particular sore point, spitting out each line like the Teutonic charisma void he is. Not even the presence of semi-retired genre veteran Tom Atkins (Night of the Creeps) or character actor Kevin Tighe can redeem them or the film’s crippling lack of suspense. The mystery of this movie falls down to whether the killer is Ackles or the town sheriff, and when you write a mystery, you really have to do better than “is it him… or that other guy?” for a whole hour.

If you’re looking for an above-average entry in a slasher franchise (even a would-be franchise like this one), both Halloween 4 and Psycho II are easily found on DVD these days, and are far better than they have any right to be. My Bloody Valentine 3D, on the other hand, is only a little better than Jaws 3D, although it’s not creative enough to entertain outside of its 3D gimmickry. See the film in theatres with the glasses if you want to see it at all. Otherwise, you’re not missing much.

My Bloody Valentine 3D is playing at Avalon Mall’s Empire Studio 12. Call 722-5775 for showtimes.