Another day, another horror remake ... and yes, another horror remake that doesn't surpass the original - what a shocker. In fact, the only way that the remake beats the original is in terms of gore - mind you, the uncut original's gore was mighty impressive for 1981 sensibilities in the slasher genre.
Annoyingly, the original movie was absolutely cut to ribbons in the UK until recently - but thankfully YouTube provided me with the means to see the original's uncut gory glory.
Anyway - with that in mind, the remake only just pips the original in terms of gore ONLY.
Everything else about the original is superior - the story, the plot, the characters, the coverage, the pacing, the direction, the writing - all superior in the original.
What's so wrong about the remake? Well, first off - the digital veneer of cheapness to the visuals doesn't help, and is constantly annoying, a major release such as this should at least be able to afford crew who are capable of making digital look it's best, rather than making it look like any old DV.
Next up - the first 15 minutes essentially crams in two massacres - it's like watching a shit version of the 1981 movie in 15 minutes, and then following it up with 80-or-so minutes of crap (mostly). This makes for an odd structure to the movie, as well as sets up a cast of piss-poor characters acted by a bunch of Dawson's Creek type rejects who are either half-arsed eye candy, purely annoying, morally bankrupt, or deathly boring and empty.
While I didn't see it in 3D, you can tell where the 3D would have been employed - and that's the only other good side of this remake - you can see how the effect would work quite well thanks to staging action in different planes - so that the foreground and the background appear almost layered on top of one another ... if that makes any sense.
Anyway, even this aspect isn't handled to it's full potential - in a movie where you get a gleefully gory shot or an eyeball skewered on a pick axe thrusting into the camera - why on earth are two axe-to-head kills later in the movie missing axe-into-camera 3D fun?! Indeed, some of the kills are annoyingly cut short (or flat-out not seen at all).
Plot wise, it's below the worst of Dawson's Creek or any of those teen dramas - full of a bunch of 'douchebags' cheating on each other, moaning about who is fucking who and being thoroughly dull - do we care? No we don't, now hurry up and die via a pick axe that should be getting thrust into our face every 10 minutes, but which isn't.
Heck, it barely feels like a remake of the original movie anyway - the story has been jumbled around, elements picked out for binning or for dumbing down/ham-fisting ... put it this way, I found myself glancing around the room as I waited impatiently for another kill to happen - the meat in the sandwich, so-to-speak, was insanely bland.
Then the final act 'reveal' happens ... and again you're thoroughly bored - the fantastic image of a gas-masked miner doesn't even feature in the final sequences. Why do that?! The image of a pick-axe-wielding mining maniac is superb for a slasher movie - it worked wonderfully well in the original - but here it's been handled so poorly.
Plus, quite frankly, the acting is shit - slashers aren't known for great acting, but the classics aren't known for boring dullards. Friday the 13th for example, you enjoy watching those kids on screen, you enjoy their banter, and you believe in them ... same goes for Halloween, same goes for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the same for the original My Bloody Valentine, to name but four.
Who'd have thought a movie about a psychotic miner wearing a gas-mask and swinging a pick-axe could have been this dull and toothless?