Boobs, blood, bloody boobs in 3D make a poor ‘Valentine’

Iris Alden

In 1981, Canada revealed one of its finest exports to date, the low-budget slasher sensation “My Bloody Valentine.” The film is about Harry Warden’s murderous reign over a small mining community after he is trapped underground as the result of an accidental explosion. While the film was neither blockbuster nor a critical darling, it has since become both a cult classic in the slasher genre.

Jan. 16, 2009 marks the debut of the American remake, “My Bloody Valentine 3D.” Shot in the new digital HD 4K format and designed meticulously to make axes, severed limbs, and nipples pop out of the screen, the film is the first R-rated film to utilize the trendy, high-budget 3D technology.

On opening night, the theater was filled with anticipation. At last, it was time to put on the goggles and get ready for the 3D slasher awesomeness. The film started rolling, and it immediately delved into familiar territory: horny teenagers getting drunk. It didn’t take long for the blood to start pouring, or for the audience to start groaning at the disappointing fact that they’d just paid extra money for this crap.

To begin with, the whole “three-dimensional” idea didn’t really pan out. Back in the Renaissance, artists like Leonardo DaVinci discovered that they could create the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface through perspective, the principal that objects in the foreground are bigger than objects in the background. One might think that we would have developed better illusions half a millennium later, but “Valentine 3D” show-cased little beyond the old tricks of the eye. Instead of seeing a three-dimensional pick-ax, you see a really big two-dimensional pick-ax right in your face. It’s more distracting than immersing.

Every other element of the movie was right in line with the obnoxious and overwhelming characteristic of the 3D. While this did provide for a cohesive experience, it also made the film feel unbearably long, despite its measly running time of 101 minutes. Almost every actor’s performance was tarnished with phony melodrama, but this is to be expected when one of the lead males (Jensen Ackles) was pulled directly from the set of “Days of Our Lives” and the principal actress (Jaime King) made her debut on the runway.

The plot stuck to conventional slasher structure, making a final effort to set itself apart by adding a “who dunnit” element in the last twenty minutes of the film. The formulaic narrative would have been forgivable had the killing scenes been exciting, but they proved more cartoonish than terrifying. The film also did not help to endear itself by adding an entirely despicable sex scene that included 10-whole minutes with a shaved vulva in full view.

In essence, “Valentine 3D” (along with most contemporary American horror films) failed to tap into society’s deepest fears. In terms of their respective abilities to induce terror, slasher films have a steep advantage over supernatural horror films, simply because their subject matter presents us with a truth that has already been woven into the fabric of our society.
One can easily shake off stories of possession or vampires, but stories of murder are found every day in the popular media and can often be hard to ignore.

These fears are real and were once harnessed to create truly captivating cinematic experiences, like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween or even the comparatively modest “My Bloody Valentine.”