'My Bloody Valentine 3-D': Wet One, By Kurt Loder

A remake that was actually worth making.

Nothing buffs up a cheap horror flick like 3-D — especially a horror flick of the slash-bash-and-bleed variety. And especially if the three dimensions are rendered in RealD, which is to the old 3-D projection process of the 1950s as a bunker-buster is to a slingshot.

Without RealD, the new remake of "My Bloody Valentine," the 1981 Canadian slasher film, probably wouldn't be worth walking across the street to watch. As it is, though, the movie's pretty entertaining. The director, Patrick Lussier, who started out editing Wes Craven tinglers, knows exactly what this sort of picture needs to deliver — gore and nudity — and he brings it in buckets. The movie wastes no time getting wet: Right near the beginning, there's a pickax attack that sends a guy's eyeball rocketing off the screen and into our laps. Lussier doesn't overdo this sort of 3-D cliché, though — he has kickier things in mind. You want to see a girl's smile widened with a shovel? A long sequence involving a naked victim-chick? A midget yanked up on the tip of an ax and planted in the ceiling? Check, check, and check. (The original "MBV" was gutted of nine minutes by the MPAA before it could be released in the U.S.; this even more arterial remake arrives with an R rating. A fully restored version of the 1981 film was released on DVD last Tuesday.)

The movie also has a story, you may be mildly interested to know. It's similar to the one in the original film, but not slavishly so. It's set in a small mining town called Harmony, where 10 years ago a young miner named Tom Hanniger ([movieperson id="333856"]Jensen Ackles[/movieperson], of "Supernatural") accidentally caused a tunnel collapse that killed five men and put a sixth, Harry Warden (Rich Walters), into a coma. A year later, Harry came out of it, in a foul mood, apparently, and started hacking up doctors, nurses and other slow-moving folks into raw, gooey chunks. (Lussier is artful in staging this scene: We don't see the full frenzy, only the meat-strewn aftermath, and our only sight of Harry is when the camera pans over to a blood-spattered hulk sitting silently slumped in shadow — an efficiently chilling tableau.)

Not long after that, a gaggle of teenagers decided to throw a party — down in the mine, of course. This didn't turn out well, since Harry decided to attend, too. Now a decade has passed. Tom has disappeared, and his old sweetheart, Sarah (Jaime King), has married his best friend, Axel (Kerr Smith), who's currently the county sheriff. Then one day Tom reappears, and he and Axel are soon butting heads over Sarah. At which point a bruiser with a gas mask, a pickax and a Darth Vader wheeze turns up and starts making everybody's life far livelier than they could possibly wish. Harry, is that you?

Lussier exults in the fundamental cheesiness of the gore genre, and in among the cast he's inserted one actor who'll be familiar to aficionados. Tom Atkins, a veteran of such '80s films as "Creepshow" and "The Fog," is an emblem of B-movie authenticity. His performance here has a vintage stiffness that makes you wonder if he might secretly be auditioning for the Brian Donlevy role in a remake of one of the old Quatermass movies. Not a bad idea, actually — "The Creeping Unknown" cries out for revisitation. Maybe Lussier should pay a call. And bring along some of that RealD stuff.

Don't miss Kurt Loder's reviews of "Che" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," also new in theaters this week.

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