a critiQal film review My Bloody Valentine (2009)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: The town of Harmony would like to forget its horrific past. Ten years ago, after a tragic mining accident, Harry Warden awoke from his coma on Valentine's Day - and brutally murdered 22 people with a pickax before being killed himself. Now, after years of peace, there's a killer on the loose, again wearing a miner's mask and brandishing a pickax. Has Harry Warden returned from the dead?

630 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 9s)
  • ...this unapologetic slasher film delivers gore, nudity and frights - and a bit of nostalgia for the 80's heyday of Friday the 13th.

With so many horror films coming out each year, I tend to miss a few, no matter how interesting they look (like the Nazi-zombie flick Dead Snow, for instance). So when a movie comes along that actually prevents me from seeing it in theaters, it tends to fall by the wayside, nearly forgotten.

Such was the cast with January’s horror remake, My Bloody Valentine. While it looked interesting, the biggest thing was, of course, the 3D aspect of it. Since (as loyal visitors already know) I can’t see 3D, I was excluded from seeing this one in theaters – and because I never saw the original, this film just fell off the radar. It popped up briefly again when it hit DVD in May, but at that time I was into our Summer At The Movies ’09, so didn’t pay it much attention.

Recently, as we’ve started getting back into watching new DVDs, I noticed that My Bloody Valentine had arrived by mail via Blockbuster®. Would it be worth seeing on DVD, or should this one just be heaped with most of the other horror flicks – nice try, but no scare?

Jensen Ackles (of “Supernatural” (TV)) takes on the lead role of Tom Hannigar in this remake, and does a decent job with it. While he seems to be more of a TV actor than a movie actor, he does manage to bring the viewer along with him, giving them a reason to stick around and see what’s going to happen. Kerr Smith, who showed up in another horror series (Final Destination (2000)), does a decent job as the sheriff, even if he does look a bit too shady for the part. Of course, with accusations flying fast and furious as to the identity of the killer, this actually works for him.

A few other familiar faces pop up in My Bloody Valentine as well. Tom Atkins, Kevin Tighe and Edi Gathegi aren’t exactly household names (the only one that really rings a bell is Tom Atkins, who played Michael Hunsaker in Lethal Weapon (1987)), but they do bring a certain familiarity with them, putting the viewer a bit more at ease (to some degree or another) when they are on-screen.

Unfortunately, the plot itself seems to be a mix of the Friday the 13th (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) series. While it does bring a bit of a new setting to the genre (a cave – spooky!), it relies a bit too much on it’s predecessors to really give viewers something fresh.

Just like the slasher flicks in their heyday, My Bloody Valentine follows formula by bringing unnecessary nudity and extreme gory violence to the mix, making the film feel a bit nostalgic for the 80’s. Since the original came out in 1981, maybe it’s done as a homage. Either way, it’s a bit fun to take a trip back to the slash-n-hack films of the 80’s, and this one definitely delivers on both counts.

Unlike some horror films these days, My Bloody Valentine is a slasher film through and through, and is completely unapologetic about it. While the ending turns out to be a lot more predictable than one would originally guess (and leaves open the door for sequels, of course), the buildup provides a couple of unforeseen twists and turns without breaking from the slasher formula it seems to adore.

Not a bad flick, even when not in 3D. If you’re going in for something high-brow, this definitely is not for you. If you’re just looking for a good scare or two, and long for the days when A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Friday the 13th (1980) – with all of their gore and violent deaths – were the heights of the horror scene, than My Bloody Valentine should fit easily into your next slasher marathon.

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