This lowest-common-denominator remake of a minor slasher classic succeeds on purely technical terms — it’s the first R-rated movie to be made in digital 3D! — but, despite the depth effects, it’s a serious snooze. Horror aficionados and completists should definitely see this in a 3D theater, because the quality of current 3D DVDs and Blu-ray Discs leaves a lot to be desired (we’re talking red-and-blue glasses, folks), and nobody should sit through a flat version of this.
Director Patrick Lussier must have learned something about terror from his tenure as Wes Craven’s film editor, but it’s not in evidence in this film, which goes through its repetitive, pickaxe-wielding motions without generating shock or even surprise. Maybe that’s the fault of the screenwriters. In a strategy that seems borrowed from Scream, the film is structured as a whodunit, but because there’s only one character who really falls under suspicion, it tries to fool you with a clumsy narrative feint that only works if you believe that the people in this movie are terribly, terribly gullible. That wouldn’t matter so much if the film were full of style and verve, but it’s a fairly logy affair built around the kind of love triangle that builds to a which-boyfriend-is-the-real-killer climax copied from any number of this film’s psycho-stalker forebears.
There’s a chase scene set after hours in a nearly empty supermarket that’s come in for some critical praise, but the truth is the sequence is no better than de rigeur for this type of film — masked killer, pretty girls, wooden door, open window, etc. — and I can’t give Lussier points merely for adhering to genre formula. The best sequence, by far, is set in a motel room and the parking lot outside and stars a very nude Betsy Rue as the only victim who puts up much of a fight — giving the film’s standout performance, she’s the only actor who seems to have deciphered her script pages to find something remotely resembling a character to play. Otherwise, these are decidedly sub-Scream shenanigans.
If you really need a 3D fix, consider waiting for next month’s Neil Gaiman adaptation, Coraline, directed by Henry Selick; if it’s 3D horror you’re jonesing for, hold out for Final Destination Death Trip 3D, which has the potential to be significantly better than this and can hardly be much worse.