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My Bloody Valentine 3-D

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With the advent of digital photography and projection, we're currently experiencing a renaissance for 3D technology, which can now present vivid dioramas to make past marvels like Michael Jackson's Captain EO look as rudimentary as an early Lumière brothers short. And with the January release of My Bloody Valentine 3D, 2009 is only just getting started. As a demo for the revitalized format, the film is an unqualified success, offering all the comin'-at-ya thrills that audiences might expect from a gory, pickaxe-centered entertainment. There are countless impalings, a gas explosion, runaway tree branches, shotgun barrels, really bushy cop mustaches—every showy 3D effect short of someone playing with a ball-and-paddle. Just don't get stuck watching it in any other format.


The latest victim of the seemingly unstoppable quest to pillage every horror hit, good or bad, from the '70s and '80s (next up: The Last House On The Left), My Bloody Valentine reboots the 1981 Canadian non-classic of the same name. After a prologue where a psycho in a gas mask and an excavation helmet drives a pickaxe through 22 people at a coal mine, the action picks up again 10 years later, when the few teenage survivors have settled into a peaceful small-town rut. Shortly after one survivor, Jensen Ackles, returns to town after disappearing on that fateful night, the town's impaling rate picks up approximately 10,000 percent. So it's left to a shifty young cop (Kerr Smith) and his wife (Jamie King) to stop the Valentine's-themed killings.

The only question that director Patrick Lussier and screenwriters Todd Farmer and Zane Smith seem to have asked themselves in making My Bloody Valentine is "What would look cool in 3D?" And that's a fine enough question as far as it goes, because viewers looking for visceral intensity could hardly do better than a pickaxe between the eyes. But save for a giddily gratuitous sequence involving full-frontal nudity, a little person, and a French bulldog, the film is strictly by-the-numbers slasher boilerplate. It won't endure past the weekend.