Directed by Patrick Lussier (2009)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Jan 19 2009
Spooky McPhee, Jeff, and I caught this movie at our local theater that, lucky for us, happens to have 3-D capabilities. We live in Nebraska, so usually we don't get to see cool stuff like this so when we get the opportunity there is a little more excitement in the air. I for one was incredibly excited to see this movie. I think the original is awesome and all the trailers for this remake made it look incredibly fun. Add to the fact that I completely slobber all over myself when I get to see a 3-D movie and that should have been ground for a sure fire winner. Yes and no...
MBV3D opens with a bit of back story showing that the deranged killer Harry Warden has awoken from a coma and gone on a hospital killing spree, cutting out the hearts of everybody in the process. You see, a couple years earlier there was a mining disaster and Warden was blamed for it. As Warden is escaping, there is a party going on at the now condemned Tunnel No. 5 mineshaft. It doesn't take long for Warden to show up in his trademark gas mask, mining outfit, and pick axe and begin slaughtering everybody. A few friends take off leaving their other friend Tom (played by some terrible actor named Jensen Ackles. This dude is awful) to deal with Warden. Just as Warden is about to kill our terrible lead actor, Tom Atkins shows up and shoots Warden, causing him to run off into the mine, thus saving the day. Then we fast forward 10 years. Screwed up by his near death experience, Tom has come back to town to sell the mine. But just as he comes back, the killing starts all over again. Has Harry Warden come back to finish the job? Is Tom out of his mind? Is it really the douchebag sheriff who bangs hot teenage ass? ZOINKS!
There are a couple major problems with the film. The first is that it is about 20 minutes too long. Frankly, the "mystery" isn't really that interesting and I had the killer pegged as soon as I saw the director zoom in to a dramatic "deer in the headlights" shot of a particular character. It's obvious who is bat shit crazy and thus, all the red herrings and boring focus on the mystery was rendered pointless. The film was shot on digital, using the Red camera *slobber* and though the picture looks great, the lighting not so much. I know the movie takes place in a mine, but many of the shots were needlessly dark and sort of washed out. Better lighting could have really enhanced this experience.
But you want to know about the 3-D! After all, that's the main reason most of us went to see this. There are two aspects to 3-D and only one of them is what people care about. The first is depth of the image. For example, say there is a standard dialogue scene. 3-D may project someone slightly in the foreground and as you look into the image, you'll see different layers in the background. This is ho-hum 3-D, not because it isn't cool but because your eyes get used to it after a while and you stop "thinking" that it is 3-D. The other 3-D is the "things flying toward your face" kind. This is the hook that everybody likes and what gets asses into seats. Stuff that gets your body to duck or flinch because it thinks you're actually going to get hit by something. MBV3D does have these moments. You'll see a pick axe fly towards you, bullets whiz by, etc., but I was fairly disappointed in the amount. There isn't a whole heck of a lot and since the film feels longer than Inland Empire at times, you get bored. But what was there was done pretty well, no doubt about it.
The movie does have a lot of blood, though much of it is of the "aftermath" variety. When Warden breaks out of the hospital, you don't see him commit his carnage but only see the results as Tom Atkins (awesome, by the way. He needs to be in more movies) walks around investigating it. There are a couple cool death scenes. Atkins' was especially entertaining and gives you one of the only instances where the filmmakers actually sent blood flying towards the screen in 3-D (isn't this a given? Shouldn't this be happening all the time in a movie like this?). There's a neat pick axe through the eye scene at the beginning where the eye pops out in 3-D.
If you were to ask me "Should I see this movie in 3-D?" I'd probably say "Yes" for the simple fact that I don't think this movie would be very good in 2-D. I don't think 3-D is a "gimmick" and consider it a genuine film making approach. The movie was designed to be seen in 3-D and the 3-D aspects do enhance the experience. However, I can't shake the feeling of disappointment. The filmmakers could have done so much more with it. Still, it's bloody and is about half fun/half boring with some cool 3-D effects thrown in to spice things up. It's worth a viewing in 3-D just to say you got to see it.