Film review – My Bloody Valentine (2009)

_MG_3104_04347RTo use the current Hollywood vernacular, My Bloody Valentine is a “re-imagining” of the 1981Canadian slasher film of the same name. This new film is the sort of re-make, sequel and revamp where the basic concept and characters have been retained but it is essentially a whole new film. As in the original version, a small mining town is being menaced by a crazed miner who wears an identity concealing gas mask and dispatches his victims, predominantly, with a mean looking pickaxe. After massacring a bunch of teenagers he is then supposedly killed. However ten years later the murders start again and it seems that the survivors of the previous massacre are the primary targets. But is it the same miner who is again doing the killing or has somebody else inherited the gas mask, boiler suit and pickaxe? The big mystery that the film wants the audience to ponder is who the killer may be. However, the real mystery to My Bloody Valentine is whether it is supposed to be hilarious self-parody or if it is a classic example of a film that is so bad it’s good.

The key element to My Bloody Valentine is its use of 3D technology and in fact without it the film would have little going for it. The entire story is structured around creating ways in which the 3D technique can be utilised to full effect. Doing a film about a murderer who uses a pickaxe in 3D is an inspired choice because it allows amble opportunities for the pointy end of the pickaxe to jut out of the screen at you. The murders are graphic, gruesome, and inventive and allow plenty of opportunity for spurts of blood and body parts to appear as if they are flying out into the audience. This is cinema as a theme park ride where the lulls in the action simply exist to separate each spectacle of excessive, cartoonish violence.

_MG_01431My Bloody Valentine could have easily played along side Planet Terror and Death Proof as the third part of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s tribute to Grindhouse exploitation cinema. The overly dramatic dialogue, which could have been lifted straight out of The O.C., combined with its deliriously over-the-top blood drenched carnage also evokes the Scream films. In fact, My Bloody Valentine director Paul Lussier was the editor on the Scream films as well as other films directed by horror maestro Wes Craven. However, while there are moments when it seems like Lussier is aware of how silly his film is, he never fully lets loose either. The rather bland ending should really have been a gloriously ridiculous spectacle of gore but it is rather subdued compared to most of what comes previously. Perhaps Lussier has deliberately played it straight to heighten the comedic value of My Bloody Valentine but it seems more likely that this is the accidental comedy hit of the year.

© Thomas Caldwell, 2009

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