Saturday, July 31

Some quick thoughts on My Bloody Valentine (2D Flat Blu-ray) (2009)

You've probably seen it already, so here's the outline from the IMDB: "Tom (Jensen Ackles) returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he's innocent."

Details of the wrangling between Tom, his "old flame" (Jaime King), her present husband/sheriff (Kerr Smith), and his infidelity with one of his wife's co-workers are thrown in for taste into the above plot sketch. Oh, and a decade prior Tom fucked up big time as a green coal miner and flambéed a couple of his fellow laborers that was the catalyst for the following massacre by one of the victims. You really won't care as this 3D re-imagining of the 1981 Canadian slasher of the same name lumbers through the histrionics of who struck John

To be honest, I've never quite warmed to this CG-laded hacker's nearly thirty-year-old source material. I can't place why, perhaps a lack of personal "spark", despite watching it straight through multiple times over the years. Maybe I'll come around, but for now I'll differ to fellow horror blogger extraordinaire Kevin over at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies for his thoughts on yesteryear's My Bloody Valentine. As Kevin points out, director George Milhaka focuses on simple follow-through, a measured pace, and character development above gushing arteries. This is certainly a spot-on assessment, and to director Patrick Lussier's credit, his "MBV3D" takes a valiant stab at refining its own important narrative tips.

Something clogs up along this ride of airborne pitchforks and the story arc involving the identity of the murderous miner quickly hits a wall with the climax arriving with that distinct "Oh, so this is the end" feeling. The entire midsection doesn't have any appetizing mini-revelations which most slashers use to hook the audience along to the conclusion. Everything kinda binds up into something you expect to conclude in a more "weighty" fashion than merely the secrets between the three principals being revealed. The fourteen deleted/extended scenes included on this Blu-ray (and DVD) might speak to My Bloody Valentine's structure being ironed out in the editing room instead of bolted down pat on paper beforehand.

I'm not meaning to make this offering sound terrible; it has a few redeeming points even at a lengthy 103 minutes. Horror favorite Tom Atkins gets a solid minor role as the town's retired sheriff who witnessed the original slaughter and put an end to it outside the law. Atkins's role and performance here is very natural and works as a perfect example of a pointed wink at aware genre fanatics not sticking out like a sore thumb. The wet red stuff is exceptionally wet n' red considering the R rating. The mix of borderline shitty CGI for the sake of 3D effect does distract though. The totally naked chick running around for a whole stalk sequence, 'nuff said. The pathos with the reveal of the killer's identity is a nice touch and is really the only thing to say about the particular actor's turn. And it should go without saying that the unchanged look of the pissed off miner complete with gas mask and head lamp is still as unsettlingly as it was in '81. Ultimately, not bad, not great...but still rather blah...    
I watched this on Lionsgate's 2D Blu-ray, bought at Wal Mart, which appears to not be available everywhere. All the extras are retained from the 2-disc 3D Blu, just without the three-dimensional version and a cover that lacks the "3D" after the title. Lussier certainly isn't known as a great director and the HD video shooting method only exacerbates this stigma. The director seems to frame most shots with too much useless room around the centered action. That might be a side effect of all the specialized conditions of filming, but the dull look of My Bloody Valentine along with the dull sheen of HD video doesn't make this Blu-ray worth it for the picture quality alone. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track fares better. Considering the glut of dirt cheap used copies of the DVD; it might behoove those interested to drop three or four bucks instead of buying this new on either format in-store.  


Buscemi said...

I saw this on opening day in 3-D and it was probably one of 2009's biggest disappointments. The worst part was that the end makes absolutely no sense at all.

It could have been a fun hunk of cheddar but instead it was a moldy piece of limburger.

Kevin J. Olson said...

Thanks for the shout-out, man! I appreciate it. I haven't seen the remake yet, and I'm not in any hurry to do so. Thanks again for the mention! you dare tread upon the staircase?

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