Having just recently seen and appreciated even more the original "My Bloody Valentine," I tried to go into this remake/reimagining with zero expectations and an open mind. I'm pretty hip to how remakes are done these days; that is, reference the original film, and if the director is remaking a slasher, keep the iconic villain in tow but alter him slightly. The remakes of today seem to owe nothing to the past, where faithful updatings like "Night of the Living Dead (1990)" changed so little, it was hard for them to miss.
More like reboots than remakes, and more modernized than the films they cull inspiration from, it's only right that they pull in the youngsters (despite this film's deserved hard R-rating) and rake in the cash. But when all of the dust settles and all of the unoriginal re-toolings have ceased, which ones will stand out? Which ones will be upheld for the next handful of generations to enjoy and recognize as true examples of their genre?
In blunt honesty, "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" won't be one them. Without the admittedly excellent 3-D effect, this would be just another by-the-numbers slasher film that thinks it’s such an original throwback to the glory days of the subgenre when, in fact, it often approaches hilarity and is carried by an aura of sheer stupidity because of it. "The Miner" character is one of the great things about the movie, though, and also one of the only reasons to see it aside from the aforementioned 3-D hook. I cared little about the characters (a great plus from the original was that the characters were very likeable) and their melodramatic sob stories. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to laugh at the dialogue or say, "Hey, this is really reminiscent of those '80s slashers we all grew up on." Some of the events that transpired went beyond the ridiculous and bordered on the inane. Perhaps it was all in good fun and purposely campy, but it drew me out of the picture as a result.
The film's problem of not knowing when to play it serious and when to laugh at itself was a huge mistake on director Patrick Lussier's part, as well as the fact that screenwriter Todd Farmer's dialogue and the cast's resulting performances were embarrassingly hit-or-miss. The altering of the plot from the original film was a big misstep also. Who cares about Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) selling his fathers' mine? Who cares that Axel Palmer (Kerr Smith) is cheating on his wife? None of these events are fleshed out enough for us to care whatsoever. The film is just one big setup for the next 3-D gag and the next satisfying gory set piece (of which there are plenty).
There has also been talk over the picture's ending(s). I found it very anti-climactic, because by process of elimination, the simplistic "whodunit" is easy enough to figure out. The "big" reveal isn't a mind-blower and the last few minutes of the film sticks rather closely to the spirit of the original (which is a plus), but it could have been written and executed so much better.
So why am I still awarding this film a three-and-a-half after all that? It's simple. The trailers promised a "carnival ride" of sorts and that is exactly what this film delivers. Despite its amateur direction and shoddy lighting, and despite the horrid script and mediocre performances, there is enough gore here to satisfy just about anyone and the 3-D is just so mesmerizing - especially considering the fact that it is being harbored by a "throwback" slasher flick - that the film can be recommended based purely on these merits. High art this is not, but "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" comes with my seal of approval to those who aren't looking for the Holy Grail of horror and simply want great 3-D in a superbly gory package.