So 2009 is already promising to be a banner year for horror fans. Having just seen the highly enjoyable My Bloody Valentine 3-D, I'm cautiously optimistic that Hollywood hasn't quite lost touch with what makes horror fans go "hmmmm". While my proper review is up at Fear Zone, I couldn't resist a blog entry about this utterly fun, fantastic film.
The key word here is FUN. Fun of the capital "F" variety. MBV Version 2.0 is a glorious throwback to the unapolegetic cheesiness of the simple slasher. I'm completely smitten with what director Patrick Lussier and screenwriters Todd Farmer and Zane Smith have done, handling the source material with respect while improving upon the original film. The 3-D technology, while central and used to opimum effect, never dominates. At the heart of this film are the characters and credit has to be given to leads Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith, and Jaime King - all of whom take their roles seriously and never make the audience feel like their slumming it while on hiatus from a TV series. Smith, in particular, really impressed me and I suspect this is just the beginning of more lead roles for the Dawson's Creek alum. And Tom Atkins? What can I even say that hasn't been expressed almost universally by genre fans everywhere? There was a moment during the new MBV when Atkins' presence on the screen transported me back to 1981, a flashback to sitting in a darkened theater with my own Dad watching a younger Atkins pull his beat-up pickup truck over to the side of the road to pick up a certain hitchhiker in The Fog. Nostalgia, man!
I had the pleasure of interviewing MBV's screenwriter Todd Farmer for Dark Scribe Magazine a few months back. His enthusiasm for the film was contagious, and it was so heartening to find someone who had as much passion for the often scorned slasher genre. What an added surprise then to see Farmer show his respectable acting chops in a terrific small role in the film, playing a sleazy truck driver who beds Betsy Rue's character. (There will be more than a few slasher gals and gays who will enjoy the added bonus of Farmer flashing his impressive derrière!)
It was so refreshing to see a remake that plays to the forty-something crowd that made the original film a cult classic in the first place. Some of the best set pieces from the 1981 film make cameo appearances here, with the clothes dyer, bloody hearts in candy boxes, and those creepy falling miner outfits all showing how timeless their appeal is. One bewilderment: why didn't they recycle the original film's infamous pipe-through-the-back-of-the-throat-kill? Imagine the possibilities of that jagged pipe coming at the audience in 3-D, the victim's blood mingling with the water and dripping onto their laps! But it's one small missed opportunity in an otherwise flawless redux.