Film Review: My Bloody Valentine 3-D

NEW YORK -- If there was ever a reason for gore film fans to fork over a few extra bucks, it's this remake of a 1981 Canadian horror picture that has pretty well lapsed into obscurity for all but cultists. "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" is likely to eventually reap a similar fate but not before it attracts plenty of attention thanks to its relentless and literally in-your-face pile-on of blood, body parts and viscera.

While the concept of adding 3-D to the horror genre is hardly new -- "House of Wax" premiered more than half a century ago and the '80s saw a brief albeit not too successful mini-revival -- Patrick Lussier's film is the most accomplished example. The 3-D effects come fast and furious, rendered with a technical skill and humor that gives this otherwise strictly formulaic slasher picture whatever entertainment value it possesses.

The plot hews fairly closely to the original, beginning with a prologue providing the backstory of Harry Warden, a coal miner in the ironically named town of Harmony who murdered his fellow miners after an accident in order to preserve the dwindling air. Waking up a year later after lapsing into a coma, he goes on a killing spree before being shot dead by the local sheriff (Tom Atkins).

Cut to 10 years later, when Tom (Jensen Ackles of TV's "Smallville" and "Supernatural"), the young miner responsible for the accident, returns to Harmony, where he quickly finds himself caught up in tensions between his old girlfriend Sarah (Jaime King), now married to Axel (Kerr Smith), his former best friend and the town's new sheriff.

At the same time, Harry, again wearing his miner's uniform and gas mask, returns to wreak murderous havoc, efficiently dispatching a series of victims with his trusty pickax and leaving Valentine's Day greetings, complete with actual human hearts.

Along the way, viewers are treated to a succession of eyeballs, blood spurts, fireballs, bullets and more thrust in their faces. Those seeing the picture in the flat version will no doubt wonder why so many objects keep flying toward the camera.

The three leads actually manage to invest their roles with some depth, but the real acting treats come courtesy of veteran character actors Kevin Tighe and Atkins, whose presence provides a comforting bridge to horror films past.

Special mention must also be made of supporting actress Betsy Rue, a real trouper who treats the target male audience to one of the longest and most unabashedly gratuitous full-frontal nude scenes in horror film history. Her partner in the scene, incidentally, is co-screenwriter Todd Farmer, whose wife is given a special shout-out in the end credits for letting her husband get naked.