The remake of 1981 slasher movie, My Bloody Valentine, turns ten this week so we thought we’d take a look back at this fun horror romp that still stands up as an entertaining watch today.
Filmed in June 2009, and starring Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles, the premise is fairly simple. Ackles’s character Tom Hanniger causes an incident in his Father’s mine, on Valentine’s Day, that traps several workers. One of the men, Harry Warden (Richard John Walters) is the only survivor, having killed the others to conserve his own oxygen, but is discovered in a coma. One year later Harry wakes up and goes on a murderous rampage that culminates with him murdering several teenagers at a Valentine’s Day party in the same mine. Of those at the party who survived was a reluctant Tom, who clearly didn’t want to be back at the mine he felt guilty over, his girlfriend Sarah (Jamie King), Axel (Kerr Smith) and Irene (Betsy Rue). The action then jumps on to ten years later when Tom returns to the town of Harmony but trouble also follows.
On the surface, My Bloody Valentine 3D is very much a by the numbers horror flick, the deaths that take place are mostly predictable but there’s still enough in it to keep you smiling if you like horror films. One of the potentially jarring things about watching this film today though is the fact that it was the first R-rated film to be released using ReadD technology. Almost every scene features a 3D visual, which range from guns, tree branches, body parts and even naked people being thrust in your face. The film definitely benefits from being watched in 3D, assuming you have a television capable of this, and editions of the BluRay do come with glasses, but the effects are still of a calibre that you find yourself flinching and ducking at certain moments even in the flat dimension. The effects aren’t bad, but there are perhaps just a few too many of them, director Patrick Lussier, known for his numerous collaborations with Wes Craven, certainly took the 3D aspect to its limits.
The three leads all work well together, Ackles having worked with Smith before back when they were on Dawson’s Creek, and aren’t just dialling in the performances. Jamie King conveys genuine fear every time she’s placed in a deadly situation, and the love triangle between the three of them is believable. Perhaps the least believable aspect is how Axel became a sheriff when he’s clearly the most immature man in the whole of the town. Tom Hanniger is also clearly not Dean Winchester, by the time My Bloody Valentine 3D came out Ackles had already completed three years of the show he is most famous for, but there is no character bleed through, the same can be said when he appeared in Ten Inch Hero.
The leads are also supported by two veteran actors, Kevin Tighe plays Ben Foley an older worker at the Hanniger mine who knew Tom’s father, and Tom Atkins plays Sheriff Burke. They both play their roles without appearing weary by the overblown events and their characters deaths are standout moments. Atkins is especially well known in the horror genre, having appeared in The Fog, Creepshow and Halloween III. Most date night slasher films involve gratuitous nudity at some stage and My Bloody Valentine 3D is no exception to this. One scene involves actress Betsy Rue being naked throughout, and it’s very lengthy. Originally she was supposed to wear a towel but kept dropping it so, at her request, it was shot without. Although a long scene the nudity doesn’t become too much or uncomfortable as by the time Irene’s death occurs you forget she’s naked due to the terror she’s experiencing.
The film continues to build toward its climax, keeping the audience second-guessing the identity of the murderer, once it’s revealed that the original Harry Warden is dead and buried. Unlike the 1980’s version, in which the murderer was Axel, this time it is discovered that Tom is the one doing the killing although he’s not in his right mind over it. Tom spent seven of the years he’d been gone in a psychiatric facility and his return to town has triggered hallucinations and the emergence of a split personality, believing himself to be Harry Warden. The twisted expression on Tom’s face, as he escapes in the final scene suggests that the alternate personality has taken over completely.
The film’s success comes from the fact it embraces the cheesiness of the events it’s depicting and never tries to take itself too seriously, combined with great performances from all the cast. The deaths are expected but the level of gore and the brutality with which they are achieved ensures that they are entertaining. Definitely a film to give a rewatch if you want an evening of good old fashioned horror fun with enough modern special effects to not make it feel too silly.
Are you a fan of My Bloody Valentine 3D? Let us know.