What happens when you remake a cheesy 1980s slasher flick into a 3-D slasher flick in 2009? You get a cheesy 21st century slasher flick. In 3-D. Ten years after a miner brutally kills 22 people on Valentine’s Day, the killings pick up once more on its anniversary. Tom (Jensen Ackles), one of the survivors of the previous killings, returns to the tiny town to sell his dad’s mine. But he’s met with either hatred or confusion from the townsfolk, including ex-flame Sarah (Jaime King); her husband, Sheriff Axel Palmer (Kerr Smith); and friend-of-Tom’s-father, Ben (Kevin Tighe). And everybody starts to not only think that Tom had something to do with the previous killings, but that he’s somehow a part of the new ones, as well.
There’s a reason that the trailers focused mainly on the 3-D aspect of the film and not much about the plot or characters: the movie would pretty much suck without it. So let’s talk about the 3-D first. It really didn’t make the movie any scarier, honestly. The pick-axes and whatnot in the face didn’t make me jump. In fact, it was almost annoying because they didn’t often use the effect to its full potential. There were a ton of moments wherein they could have done something, and they pull away or change the angle so that the 3-D isn’t effective at all. But what the 3-D does is put you in the movie with them and increases the tension because of it. It bettered the atmosphere, in other words. And what it did in the suspense department, as I said, weren’t really with the sudden in-your-face moments, but the slower, more drawn out moments. Like if a gun slowly pans across the screen and points out at your face. You have no idea if it’s going to fire or not, and that makes you nervous. So I felt the 3-D was better used there than anywhere else.
But in the scariness department, I do have to say that the film did have some tense moments. Now, would it still have been nearly as suspenseful without the 3-D? I strongly doubt it. But in the 3-D version, it was able to hold up some decent moments. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the gore. And my God, do we have some gore. This movie showed some things that the Saw films would only show in quick flashes. But the goriest stuff happens within the first 10 minutes. After that, it’s still there, but never to the level it was during the opening.
As for the story, it was awfully confusing. There were some pretty obvious plot holes, and then some other stuff that was never even explained, unless I was just too distracted by the 3-D in the opening montage-o-exposition. For instance, why the hell was the miner killing people to begin with? I know they said the miners were buried in a cave-in and he killed the others to have more air… but what does that have to do with following it up with a killing spree? Or with Valentine’s Day? And what is the fascination with the hearts? Where did that come from? It’s all incredibly random. Not to mention you can see the twist at the end from a mile away. It’s been so overdone to the point that it cannot surprise anybody anymore.
The acting was pretty awful, too. When they weren’t being killed, the actors and actresses were showing off their daytime soap opera talents. Granted, it wasn’t anywhere near the awfulness of The Spirit or Diary of the Dead, where acting just didn’t exist. This was more like they were just trying way too hard. Though I have to give it up to two performers. First, Jensen Ackles wasn’t that bad. He actually did a pretty decent job when he wasn’t trying to remind me of Freddie Prinze Jr. And then there’s Betsy Rue, who gives us at least 5+ minutes of full-body nudity. Her acting sucked, but she bares it all. And I mean all. It was so surprising, I don’t know if I were more surprised at the fact they actually showed so much for such lengths of time or the fact that it was in in-my-face 3-D.
Anyway, the only way I’d recommend seeing this movie is in 3-D and if you like old school horror/slasher flicks. It’s definitely a throwback with the cheesy acting and story and Final-Girl-Runs-Through-Woods sequence. And then the Why-The-Hell-Are-You-Going-In-There sequences. There were a lot of illogical moments, as well, all throughout the movie (with a serial killer on the loose, why the hell would you keep your gun specifically unloaded?). And, as I said, there are some pretty glaring plot holes. Unless you’ll just do anything for a gore-fix, if it didn’t come to 3-D in your town, I wouldn’t bother. That’s the only reason, I think, it was as good as it was. Granted, it wasn’t awful. It did have some pretty suspenseful and entertaining moments. But it’s no grand comeback of a genre.
Stop Saying Okay! Okay.