Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Review: My Bloody Valentine (2009)

There are films that attempt either greatness or the emulation of greatness, and there are films that rely on a tornado's ability to construct an airplane in the middle of a junkyard. There is a clear choice that needs to be made about this distinction. Is it worse if a film tries and fails? Is it better if one succeeds through no fault of its own? Such questions cannot thrive outside of speculation -- I don't care what the filmmakers themselves claim to have been "intending." The decision lies at ground zero.

My Bloody Valentine is one, by my reckoning, that does try. It unfortunately ends up failing quite miserably, but oh how I cannot help but admire the effort.

More shocking than the pick-axe to the back of the head that caused that one kid's eye to pop out of his socket is that there is some meat to chew here. There is a (mostly) logical progression of events. There are characters with actual motivations, personalities -- dare I say it --density. There is compelling character development. There are even some genuinely gruesome kill-shots, something I haven't seen in a horror film for half a decade. I'm even considering dressing up like the killer for Halloween and breaking lightbulbs with a giant pick-axe. WHAT ARE THESE FEELINGS?!!

Whew... got those out of the way. Now let's rattle off some flaws!

Firstly, the film isn't scary on any level. At best, it is as suspenseful as Ron Howard directing a thriller that isn't Ransom (i.e. not very). Secondly, the acting of just about everyone is horrendous. I mean it. It's like watching a bad stage production and squinting your eyes in embarassment, watching anything but the stage until whoever is speaking just stops. The dialogue, terrible but gasping for air, definately cannot survive. There are also moments of unforgivable horror cliches: namely, get the hot bitch naked moments before she is iced. Or characters making dumb dumb dumb decisions on where to run, what noise to investigate, how late in the game to alert authorities, etc. Worst of all, the mystery surrounding the identity of the killer (I won't ruin it, but it's easy to figure it out) is handicapped by a trump that doesn't make any sense whatsoever (think of the "I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano" episode of The Sopranos... perhaps I have said too much...). Basically, shit that has been present in the horror genre since its incept date, and shit that has, for some reason, refused to evolve.

So that's that. Beyond what is obviously bad and oddly worth paying attention to, the film is pretty forgettable. And while I do believe that it is better to try and fail, I admit that it is far more aggravating when that is the case. And for something that isn't good, in fact sucks, in fact that I hate, merits slide out of my face with ease. GRAAAAAAAAAAH.


[Yes, I saw it in 3-D. No, it did not help.]

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