Sometimes a movie is just bad. Sometimes a movie is pretty good. And sometimes it’s both.
Tom Hanniger, played by Jensen Ackles of TV’s “Supernatural”, returns to his hometown, a Pennsylvanian mining town, on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine’s night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. However, upon his return, he is suspected of committing the murders himself and only is old girlfriend (Jamie King) seems to believe he’s innocent.
This is one of these remakes of an old horror movie from 1981, and I can’t imagine who actually thought this required an updating, but here it is nonetheless. As interest goes, this was virtually not even a flicker in my psyche. I couldn’t have cared less. Really, what could I possibly have to gain from seeing such a film but a headache and the distinct feeling that I had been robbed of my money and my time?
So imagine my surprise when I actually found myself entertained by this dubious bit of celluloid. Oh, don’t get me wrong, as a horror movie, it was no “Descent” from a year or so ago. And it was certainly no classic like the original “Halloween”. But in some ways, its mostly active pace and gleefully melodramatic, occasionally preposterous acting and sometimes way over the top scenes of old school gore found a way to reel me in.
There’s an opening scene where the blood and carnage is so exaggerated that I couldn’t help but laugh. And that was right after laughing at the goofily acted lines of a conversation between the sheriff and one of his officers. They stand there talking in the midst of scene of far more bloodied and dismembered bodies than any one psychotic human could possibly have the time or inclination to create. It was hilarious. And yet, in a good way.
And let me remind you, this is in 3D. Oh, yes. And 3D has come a long way. This is some awesome, new high-tech 3D and it’s pretty impressive.
However, just as I think the movie is going to be chock full of this great cheesy acting and over the top-ness, the second act kind of slows down and settles into a more serious tone and seems not to make fun of itself anymore. That’s too bad, because the sheriff of the town after the “ten years later” part is none other than that guy, Jack from “Dawson’s Creek”. I laughed the second I saw him. Not that his acting was bad, frankly everybody was decent. I just enjoyed it more when people seemed to be chewing up the scenery early on.
The 3D effects are great and there are some wonderfully entertaining uses of it. But once again, the middle act seems to slow down and the 3D stuff kind of peters out for a while. Highpoints would have to be a flying pick ax toward a car windshield and a man’s jaw being torn off and flung right at the movie screen. That’s putting your 3D to some excellent use, right there.
Then the third act gives us a “which of the two main characters is the killer” guessing game. And it’s pretty effective, too. I wasn’t sure who they were going to pin it on, until it started getting obvious. It was ok.
So, this thing starts out better than it ends, and the middle certainly slowed down. I’d say wait to rent it, but the irony is that the 3D really adds to the enjoyment, and renting it eliminates that integral factor. I’d say catch a matinee if you’re looking for a fun, old school horror movie. It’s certainly better than I expected.
–Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, in glorious 3D!