When I heard that the powers that be in Hollywood were remaking My Bloody Valentine, I actually WASN’T all that upset. The Original MBV (see our dual review here!) is a GREAT 80’s style slasher flick that was unfortunately largely overlooked due to the genre being over saturated with soulless clones. Even though the original still holds up amazingly well, and the recently released uncut version adds a lot more bite from a gore and brutality standpoint, it feels dated enough to warrant a….”heartfelt” (see what I did there?) remake. Fortunately for old school slasher fans, the remake does a decent job of retelling the story of Harry Warden, while staying true to many of the devices that made the original so memorable and sought after.
“Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine’s night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he’s innocent.”~IMDB
So we have a small mining town, tucked away in the middle of “the land time forgot” America. Great, because we all know those are the safest places when the town tries to hide a secret. Anyway, what little plot that imdb synopsis doesn’t fill you in on, the opening credits do. Is it just me, or does anyone else LOVE IT when the opening credits are actually useful? It seems like such a waste to just have some music playing and credits and titles going. MBV already gets a bonus half star for not wasting my fucking time by having me listen to a lackluster score while they rattle off names of actors and actresses who are in the movie for 30 seconds. We are off to a great start.
Speaking of actors and actresses, MBV manages to avoid a major pitfall that sinks many of the remakes us horror fans have had to endure over the last decade; casting. Jamie King, known for her titillating role in Sin City, does a fine job as being our “main girl” ala Laurie Strode. She brings a morsel of nuance to her character, and also doesn’t just rely on looking slutty and screaming, but I suppose that is because she is one of the young female stars of Hollywood who can actually act, which is paradoxically why she doesn’t a ton of work. (Who needs an attractive female lead who can act? Pfft, just be a mannequin like Megan Fox. Since I’m on the topic, fuck Megan Fox. Bitch seriously looks and acts like an android.) As for leading men, we get Jensen Ackles from the popular Buffy rip-off show Supernatural, and Kerr Smith who is a noted TV drama (Yup, he was on Dawsons Creek for spell!) actor. They do an OK job of fighting over the affections of Jamie Kings characters and driving the narrative forward, but ultimately there roles are not only secondary, but right on the verge of expendable. There are better suited actors for these roles, but I guess the casting called for the females to get some good looking guys to look at too, so we are stuck with these dolts. On the upside TOM MOTHERFUCKING ATKINS is in this movie, being as gruff, ancient, and downright legendary as he always is. If you don’t know who Tom Atkins is, kill yourself. Buy a gun, crash your car, drink crystal drano, whatever you gotta do to get the job done. I kid, I kid. But seriously, Tom Atkins is horror royalty, mostly thanks to his monumental performance in Night of the Creeps.
Patrick Lussier, horror director…semi-extraordinaire, is at the helm for this one. He is responsible for a long list of mostly “meh” horror movies such as Halloween H20, Cursed, Red Eye, The Eye, and White Noise 2: The Light. (which is MUCH better than White Noise 1, and highly recommended by me as a great little ghost story flick starring Nathan Fillion) Lussier seems to capture both the best in him and the worst with MBV. What I mean by that is, one moment he is staging and filming a great little stalk-and-kill sequence, while the next he hovers from a helicopter, shooting the same fucking bridge we have seen in the movie 6 times already. We get it Lussier, we are in a small town with one bridge leading into it, we haven’t left, give us a damn break with the establishing shots already. Lussier, I’m sure, was having fun with the possibilities laid before him with 3-D aspects, but still, some shots seem to linger on much longer than necessary, and some really feel like a complete waste of time. The movie clocks in at 1 hour and 41 minutes, and surely Lussier could have shaved 11 minutes worth of bullshit of it if he wasn’t so concerned with 3-d shots that linger and and footage of ONE FRIGGIN’ BRIDGE. Besides his love of arching, over water infrastructure, Lussier does show some flair when it comes to his kills, which are thankfully clearly shot, defined, and incredibly grisly. Some of these kills are hall of fame quality, and they are deserve to be rewound at least once to see how truly brutal they are. For a slasher movie, as long as the director films the kills good, everything else can be a distant second as far as I am concerned. It just hurts when someone directs a SLASHER movie, but doesn’t know dick about filming a murder. Lussier passes, but only with about a C+/B-.
From a technical standpoint, MBV is a great looking and sounding movie. The cinematography is crystal clear, and the aforementioned establishing shots look really good, all 81 times we see them. There are also some shots in the mine and surrounding wooded area that feel really alive. The use of color here is sometimes surprisingly vivid. The sound is also nice, nothing revolutionary, but nothing to complain about either, which is always a major plus. Also, no bullshit teeny-bopper-dick-sucking soundtrack. No Nickelback. No Creed. No Avenged Sevenfold. Just a nice, relatively tense score that amps up at the appropriate times. It is really refreshing when the first thing you here isn’t some horrible band that wrote a song “inspired by” the movie you are watching. Besides the audio and visual departments, the lighting is also superb, as many of the nighttime shots aren’t hampered by the “I can’t see what is going on, but I probably should be able to” disease. Lastly, the gore is very nice, striking a clean balance between practical effects accentuated by some noticeable, but unobtrusive cgi work that was probably required to get the 3-D affect to the blood and flying body parts. I said it before and I will say it again, whoever had a hand in designing some of these kills and bringing them to life, deserves some credit, because the opening scenes alone are filled with some very disturbing and visceral kills.
The 2009 remake of MBV supassed almost all of my expectations, which is saying a lot since I am a pretty die hard fan of the original. Besides some inconsistencies and strange directing decisions, and a third act that doesn’t quite cash-in fully of the previous two, MBV 2009 is a rock solid slasher deeply rooted in the history of the artform. It tries some new things, but just like a good student in an interesting class, it knows when to sit down, shut the fuck up, and play by the rules of the slasher movie bestowed upon them by giants of the sub-genre like Carpenter, Miner, Cunningham, and others. In a year that will remembered for the Friday the 13th remake/re-imagining/sequel clusterfuck, don’t sleep on My Bloody Valentine 3-D. It is likely the most fun and genuine throwback horror experience you are likely to have in ’09.
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