My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

Rating:

A New Take On An Old Classic, And It Works

Main Cast: Jensen Ackles and Jamie King

Director: Patrick Lussier

After a ten year absence, Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles, “Supernatural”) has returned to his hometown of Harmony. He left after a terrible cave in at the mines his family owns left half a dozen dead and one in a year-long coma. That would have been enough to leave anyone with deep psychological scars–especially since the cave in was pretty much Tom’s fault–but when the survivor, Harry Warden, woke up a year later and went on a murder spree, that was the last straw for Tom. So he’s finally returned home, but only in order to sign some papers and sell off the mine once and for all.

Unfortunately, he’s timed his return to Harmony with that of another well-known name: Harry Warden. Harry was believed to have died a decade ago, having been shot by then-sheriff Jim Burke just as he was about to kill Tom.

Meanwhile, Tom is having second thoughts about selling the mine, especially after seeing his old flame, Sarah (Jamie King, Silent Night), is married to Tom’s old rival, Axel (Kerr Smith, “Dawson’s Creek”). Axel is now sheriff in these parts, though, and he was never crazy about seeing Sarah with Tom, and now that Tom is back, and there are bodies piling up, Axel thinks maybe there’s more than meets the eye to this whole thing.

My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009) is an excellent remake of an already-good slasher movie from 1981, but this time with all the gore that one was missing added back in. And my God what a welcome change it is. This is a slasher movie, no two ways about it, so one of the most vital ingredients is that we get to see the killings, not just the aftermath. Give us the gore and the severed limbs and the unnecessarily graphic depiction of Jim Burke’s jaw being ripped off, it’s what we came for, dammit!

Written by Todd Farmer (Jason X) and Zane Smith, with direction from Patrick Lussier, My Bloody Valentine is the kind of remake I like to see. It pays excellent tribute to the original, including many key scenes shown now in a different way–but still totally recognizable as being lifted from the 1981 version–while also expanding and improving on that original story.

The characters are given more depth, and their relationships to each other made a little more concrete, as well as the paths their lives have taken since that fateful day. This isn’t like the original version where the younger Hanniger has been away for several years, then comes back and gets a job back at the old mine where, it just so happens, the gang all still works. Instead, we’re given a much more believable progression of their lives in those intervening years.

Stylistically, I’d have to say the original director was better at creating tension. Lussier’s no slouch, mind you. He went on two years later to direct the 3D Nicolas Cage movie Drive Angry, which was all kinds of entertaining. But for this particular movie, it wasn’t exactly the tensest viewing in the world. That could also be because I’ve already seen the original and spent a good deal of the movie comparing the two instead of just enjoying it.

One thing I definitely liked was the identity of the killer. There were so many clues leading toward one person only to have it be someone else. The fun part here was that all those clues led to a similar reveal as the original version, and I was definitely thrilled to see I had been wrong the entire time. It’s not often a horror movie–and a remake at that!–surprises me, so I have to give kudos when one does.

My Bloody Valentine isn’t a perfect movie by any means, but it has certainly taken what worked about the original, fixed a few major flaws that one had, and come back with an equally entertaining movie that works just as well. Good job.

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