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My Bloody Valentine 3D(2009)
Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he's innocent.
For more about My Bloody Valentine 3D and the My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray release, see My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 6, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue, Tom Atkins, Todd Farmer
Director: Patrick Lussier
» See full cast & crew
My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray Review
Another 3D exclusive -- but exclusive to a store, not pricy hardware.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 6, 2010
Be mine 4 ever.
With the release of My Bloody Valentine 3D, the Horror genre has now seen films with a killer in just about every get-up imaginable. There have been men in goalie masks, Captain Kirk masks, human flesh masks, clown masks, whatever-those-were-in Scream-masks, and the list goes on. Cowards. Afraid of letting their victims know who they really are. For shame. As long as it looks "scary," though, and as long as they wield some sharpened weapon (it's never a blunt instrument or a firearm), it's cool. They sell tickets. But they still haven't made a movie with a killer wearing a Martin Liebman mask. Now that would make for a blockbuster. Anyway, My Bloody Valentine 3D features its hero (all the killers in these sorts of movies are the real heroes) wearing a miner's outfit and sporting a mask that looks more like something an F-22 pilot might wear, but that's beside the point. He hacks, he stabs, he scores! er, he kills his victims with a pickax and he does it in 3D style. Awesome!
The small mining town of Harmony goes into shock when several of its own are buried alive during a cave-in. When the lone survivor, Henry Warden, is pulled from the rubble, he is hailed as a living miracle -- until it is discovered that he murdered his colleagues for a better chance at survival. Believed to be in a vegetative, comatose state, Warden becomes an afterthought -- until he awakens and kills everyone in the hospital and returns to the mines where several partying teenagers are slaughtered. Ten years pass, but the survivors of that massacre are still dealing with the after-effects. Axel Palmer (Kerr Smith) is now the town sheriff. He's married to Sarah (Jaime King), former girlfriend of Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles), son of the mine's owner and missing since the bloody events of that fateful night. Though long thought dead and buried, Henry Warden seems to have returned, wearing the same outfit and wielding the same deadly pickax, chipping away at everyone in sight. With the town on edge, the mine set to be sold by a suddenly-resurgent Tom, and its population dwindling rapidly, the only question that remains is, "who was that masked man and why is he killing everyone in sight?"
This snoozer of a recycled Horror picture has little going for it outside of its 3D presentation and some good-natured fun. The picture manages to create an aura of mystery surrounding the identity of the killer, but otherwise, My Bloody Valentine makes for a completely generic Horror experience that never differentiates itself from its many hundreds of peers, save for the entire 3D thing, though even that is not entirely new to the genre. Although the movie does well in featuring copious amounts of gore -- with several elements far more pronounced in this proper full HD 3D presentation -- it stumbles under the weighty problem that is a rather uninteresting plot, but not one entirely devoid of meaning and structure. It plays with ideas such as post-traumatic stress and hallucinations, but never really explores those issues past a painfully superficial level that only allows for the plot to move on to the next killing or revelation. No matter, though, because the movie is certainly not meant to make audiences think; it's a straight hack-and-slash picture with a story that at least tries to keep things interesting but, ultimately, does nothing more than bridge the gap between one death scene and the next. It also features interchangeable and forgettable characters, and whether they live or die remains beside the point throughout the movie; they're but classic Horror fodder. The film's three primaries distinguish themselves just well enough to set up the end of the film, but otherwise, the rest may as well just walk around with signs hanging around their necks that says "pick(ax) me."
That the movie plays with an over-the-top cheerfulness amidst the massive amounts of on-screen carnage is its one saving grace. Sure it would be nice if the characters were well-developed, if the plot was a bit more cohesive, and if there was a greater sense of realism and urgency to the picture, but its ability to mesh together the playful and the horrific allows for the incredible violence to remain front-and-center without overwhelming the audience. Most everything about the movie seems exaggerated for both subtly comedic and extra-gruesome effect. Eyeballs pop out, heads are severed at the mouth, and bodies are mutilated in ways that would make Jigsaw jealous, but through it all lies the sense that it's all presented in good fun and with a mischievous wink-and-a-nod that ensures that the audience understands its angle. Likewise, the cast never takes things seriously, instead having fun with the knowledge that most of them will meet some grisly end. The film plays with just enough seriousness when it gets down to the business of revealing the killer or fleshing out some semi-important plot developments that help frame the killer's identity within a context that makes sense, but otherwise, the whole things seems more like a send-up of campy Horror than an altogether serious picture.
My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Here's the quick and easy review: My Bloody Valentine 3D blows its anaglyph predecessor out of the water, and in terms of raw 3D capabilities as compared to other Blu-ray 3D releases both live-action and animated, it falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. And now onto the more comprehensive review. My Bloody Valentine 3D is quite possibly the most frustrating full HD 3D release yet. Not because it's necessarily poor -- it's worlds better than the German release of Clash of the Titans -- but because it fluctuates between awesome and dull with most every scene. Lengthy and mesmerizingly deep imagery transports viewers to the sleepy mining town in some scenes, while the image falls somewhat flat in others. The definition of the 3D imagery is seamless here, but it's accompanied by ridiculously heavy ghosting there. My Bloody Valentine 3D is a film of visual contrasts; the dark mine scenes and various nighttime segments offer far less in the way of depth and detailing as compared to the brighter daytime scenes. The 3D effects work in the same way, with the image looking almost seamless by day and far more sloppy and prone to ghosting at night. With so few live action movies -- not travel docs, educational films, or concerts, but honest-to-goodness big-budget Hollywood flicks -- with which to compare My Bloody Valentine's full HD 3D presentation, it's difficult to judge Lionsgate's transfer on its relative merits. Nevertheless, and even without viable comparisons, it's obvious that this transfer could use a little work; just how well it's going to comparatively look in a year or two when there's a steady stream of live action 3D titles against which to judge it remains to be seen.
Things certainly start off very well. Lionsgate's logo looks fantastic in 3D, as if it were tailor-made with a third dimension in mind. The spacing between the varied sizes of spinning gears is nothing short of astounding, and while there's some light ghosting on a static background image, the rotational effects appear smooth and distortion-free. The logo's one of the best 3D elements in the transfer. As the film gets rolling, there's no question its unique opening sequence was made for 3D; newspapers and various text scroll around the screen, coming towards and moving away from the viewer, with some splashes of additional objects being thrown about the screen -- an ax animatic destroys an object, showring the screen with debris -- tossed in for good measure. As the film switches to live action, blood-red titles nicely hover over the screen. As noted above, the darker scenes -- of which the film's lengthy prologue is made -- don't fare as well in 3D; blacks can be somewhat overpowering, and when they absorb the screen, the absorb all illusions of depth as well, so many of the mine shaft sequences look comparatively flat next to the rest of the movie. Still, those few scenes within the mines where more light manages to permeate the frame look fine; combined with the film's excellent lossless soundtrack and the audible spaciousness it affords to the experience -- notably in the form of dripping water and other atmospherics inside the mine -- Lionsgate's video/audio presentations makes for a very real-feeling environment that has several senses going haywire and proves one of the finest combinations of sight and sound yet to be experienced in full HD 3D.
Daytime scenes, as a general rule, fare much better. Detailing is stronger, as is depth, both a result of the absence of the overwhelming blacks that destroy the potential for more pronounced and exciting 3D content in some scenes. An early shot inside a hospital that's home to a bloodbath is particularly well-constructed; the 3D elements allow for the badly mutilated bodies to be seen in all their glory, with one -- that of a person's chest ripped open -- practically allowing viewers to peer into the grisly remains and see what might still be remaining inside. Most of the film's gore looks quite good, even if some of the gimmicky effects -- an eyeball that wants to protrude from the screen but doesn't quite manage to to so, or an ax that similarly yearns to stretch beyond the confines of the screen but never quite finds its way out -- don't always work out. As the picture moves along, it showcases some exceptionally strong 3D imagery in its various daytime and otherwise well-lit sequences. Several shots within the confines of a wooded area impress a great deal, as both people and trees seem to stand out nicely one from another and against the bright but slightly overcast backdrop; leaves on the ground are nicely detailed, as is tree bark, and the sense of spacing between the varied objects appears believably real. As is the case with the better 3D transfers, it's the way the image handles the little details that often make or break the whole of the presentation; My Bloody Valentine delivers some mundane but nicely-realized moments with plenty of awe-inspiring wonder. Something as innocent as a character sitting in a truck with the window down and another character beside the closed door with his hand resting on the window cutout looks marvelously real, as if the viewer were standing a few feet behind them in real time and not sitting in the living room, hundreds of miles and thousands of hours removed from when the scene was filmed. Other mundane but critical elements -- the way overhead vistas of the town sprawl out with obvious depth, the way a bridge seems to extend out far into the recesses of the television screen, the way grocery store freezers and isles manage the same -- look great throughout the movie.
Unfortunately, the movie is littered with ghosting and transparency issues, and other than a casual observation that the 3D transfer just doesn't handle the darker scenes as well as the brighter ones, there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why the image sometimes appears smooth and slick and at other times a character seems to have a green line running down his nose, houses seem to have two roof lines, a shirt collar seems to have added transparent material, a character's hair suddenly becomes see-through, a miner's light looks like it has a little half-sized brother right beside it, or an over-under shotgun suddenly looks like some four-barreled monstrosity. There's no denying that such issues become a distraction. There's also no denying that they're easy to forget when the transfer's going good. These ghosting effects sometimes appear outside an object and sometimes within it; there's no uniformity as to how they look or when they happen, but they put as much a damper on the transfer as do the dark and flat scenes. That said, the problem is really no worse than anything seen on Galapagos or Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk; Valentine's longer runtime means more opportunity for error, but this Lionsgate release doesn't seem disproportionately "ghosty" next to those titles. As to how it stacks up to its anaglyph counterpart, well, there's really no comparison. Gone are the distracting pink and red highlights and in are much smoother details and far more realistic colors. My Bloody Valentine isn't the nicest looking move ever made, and its Blu-ray is reflective of the midlevel detailing and boring color scheme it employs. While the Blu-ray.com review awarded the old release with a slightly higher score, comparing the two outright on score alone is apples to oranges; the previous release looked good for what it was, but this simply blows it away while still introducing its own set of issues that lessen its overall score compared to other full HD 3D releases of its kind, again acknowledging that there's just not much out there with which to make a more accurate comparison.
My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
This full HD 3D Blu-ray release of My Bloody Valentine features the same 7.1 DTS-HD MA track found on the previous Blu-ray release. The audio is typical of Lionsgate's newer releases in that it plays aggressively with plenty of deep bass and surround use the engulfs the entire soundstage to chilling effect. Dialogue occasionally sounds muffled, though it seems to mostly be a result of actors mumbling their lines rather than a problem with the soundtrack. A fair amount of ambience is also present. The mine's alarm klaxon, for instance, rings out with a splendid and all-encompassing effect that seems to surround listeners in a realistic circle of sound. Some good, discrete effects may be found scattered around the movie; for instance, background effects heard during the set-up to a confrontation in a grocery store in chapter 11 further enhance the scene's creepy atmosphere and pending violence. Music plays crisply, and higher-pitched sounds -- such as screams -- are delivered with pinpoint precision. My Bloody Valentine 3D doesn't match the finest lossless soundtracks out there, but it gives the sound system a good workout and satisfies the aural sense nicely.
My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
My Bloody Valentine 3D offers up an assortment of short bonus features, all of which are carryovers from the film's initial Blu-ray release. First up is a commentary track with Director Patrick Lussier and Co-Writer Todd Farmer. The pair serve up a nice enough track, offering detailed comments on the support staff that worked on the film (and pointing them out as they appear in the film), shooting the 3D effects, filming locations and how some of the scenes were reworked to take advantage of the locales, the editing process, and more. Deep Inside 'My Bloody Valentine (480p, 7:18) is a basic piece that looks at the nuts-and-bolts of shooting inside a mine and moving on to look at the quality of the screenplay, the performances of the cast and crew, and more. Sex, Blood, & Screams (480p, 5:47) examines the making of some of the film's death scenes. Concluding the supplements are a series of 14 deleted and extended scenes presented in 480p standard definition, an alternate ending (480p, 1:03), a gag reel (480p, 2:16), and the film's theatrical trailer (1080p, 0:38). The digital copy included with the previous release is not included here.
My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
My Bloody Valentine is a generic little slasher that amps up the gore and dumbs down the characters while trying to add an aura of mystery by concealing the identity of the its killer until the final minutes. It works as a generic genre picture but is slightly improved by its easygoing attitude and fun veneer. Still, most splatter fans won't be granting it a spot on their top-ten list. As for its full HD 3D Blu-ray release? Lionsgate has ported over the same powerful lossless soundtrack and assortment of extras from the previous release while adding in a vastly superior 3D transfer and jacking up the price to a whopping $34.99 at Best Buy, where this title is sold as an exclusive. The disc commands a premium as one of only several titles currently being sold off-the-shelf, and it looks like a steal next to the outrageous prices being charged for bundled hardware exclusive discs. Still, coming in at just under $40 after taxes makes buying this a tough pill to swallow. That's a steep price to pay for a midlevel genre movie and a wishy-washy 3D transfer. My Bloody Valentine comes hesitantly recommended; there's not much else to pick from right now, but fans could sell off their anaglyph version to help fund this purchase or maybe even request it as a Christmas gift from a wealthy family member.
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