My Bloody Valentine (2009)

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3D is such a carny trick. Its initial popularity in the 1950s was because TV was taking people from cinemas and they thought they needed something to bring people to their cheap, awful monster movies; through the odd gimmick film down the years; to the “squeeze every penny of money out of people, all the time, forever” attitude of movie studios today. When people say “it really adds to the experience” they’ve either been fooled by the PR or have something to sell you, because all it does is trick your eyes into thinking some stuff is closer than other stuff. Okay, I guess? And “My Bloody Valentine” could hold the record for most blood-drenched stuff which looks closer to you than other stuff, because boy does it happen a lot.

Saying all that, this movie and the 2011 version of “Fright Night” do an interesting thing, and it’s treat the earlier, more famous film as chapter 1 of their story. They realised the first hurdle to clear was the fact that everyone knew their endings, and that those reveals were central to the plot, so in the first 15 minutes, they basically tell the story of part 1 again (in the case of “My Bloody Valentine”, it means a pretty exciting rampage from Harry Warden, part 1’s villain), before taking the most famous beats and spinning a new-ish story round them. I like this idea, and am surprised more movies don’t do it that way.

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Ten years have passed, and Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles, “Supernatural”) has come back to town after the funeral of his father to sell the mine he now owns. A lot of people blame him for the Warden murders, because an accident at his mine caused the cave-in that turned Harry from mild-mannered miner to psychotic spree killer – now, they really blame him, because selling the mine will effectively kill the town. Anyway, his ex-girlfriend is now married to the Sheriff, and the retired former Sheriff and his cronies are still hanging around. Basically, after the super-fun OTT first segment, we’re back in traditional slasher movie territory – a murder every ten minutes or so, the small town secrets, the relationships at breaking point, and so on. You know how these things go.

Now, the thing with slasher movies like this is, the killer should be someone you’ve already met (although, I suppose, the first “My Bloody Valentine” didn’t really follow this rule), and it’s handy to have at least a clue or two to keep the audience thinking in between the gore set-pieces. Red herrings are okay, too, although too many of them and it’s like glancing behind the curtain to see the movie’s cogs and wheels. The problem this movie has it that it flat-out lies to us. It turns out some of the scenes exist only in the head of one of the characters, but there’s not even the remotest indication that we’re watching a psychotic fantasy, meaning the reveal (when it comes) seems like a cheat.

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The gore is fantastic, and the pickaxe could be the ultimate 3D murder weapon. Eyeballs and jaws fly at the screen, and I imagine it probably would have been quite good fun to see with a large crowd. It’s really a total throwback to the 80s slasher movies in style, quantity of nudity (I feel bad for the poor woman whose entire screentime was spent naked, then naked with an axe in her head) and levels of gore. But even the crappiest slasher flick wouldn’t have pulled a trick like this one does, and that retroactively ruins the rather fun gore-filled old-school horror movie we’d watched to that point.

Respect to the filmmakers for trying to capture the excellent visual style of the first movie, and talk economics too. Also, there’s plenty of good old actors in this as the town elders, plus Kerr Smith makes a good Sheriff and Jaime King as the third corner of the little triangle is great too…I just wish one of the slasher remakes could have figured out that what made those films popular wasn’t that rigid slasher formula, and you really ought to work harder to keep an audience interested than flinging body parts at them every ten minutes or so.

Rating: thumbs down

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3 thoughts on “My Bloody Valentine (2009)

  1. Pingback: Black Christmas (2006) |

  2. Pingback: April Fool’s Day (1986) |

  3. Pingback: Prom Night (2008) |

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