Synopsis: The town of Harmony would like to forget its horrific past. Ten years ago, after a tragic mining accident, Harry Warden awoke from his coma on Valentine’s Day – and brutally murdered 22 people with a pickax before being killed himself. Now, after years of peace, there’s a killer on the loose, again wearing a miner’s mask and brandishing a pickax. Has Harry Warden returned from the dead?
After watching the original ‘My Bloody Valentine’ I suddenly got this urge to see the remake. I can’t explain this unfathomable desire which grabs hold of me sometimes, despite my knowledge that I should be running in the opposite direction. But my curiosity often gets the best of me, and I feel compelled to devote some of my time (if not my hard-earned money!) to filling my brain with junk food entertainment.
I had read a number of reviews before making my purchase, and decided that, if I was going to see the stupid film and compare notes with the original, at the very least I should go the novelty route, which could at least add a whole new dimension to my evening of hacking, gutting and general slaughter.
(Ahem… my lawyers have asked me to indicate that my comments are in no way related to the GI Joe character with a similar name, and they made me promise that I would never see or review the live-action films. That promise will not be hard to keep, I assure you… ).
Anyway, the disc contains both the 2D and anaglyph 3D versions, so that’s an extra plus: if ever I get a craving to watch the movie again, I won’t have to wear the stupid glasses – they’re awkward and ruin the colour scheme of the film (which, in this case, is mostly “mud”, but still…). I can’t wait until they make 3D without glasses; it might actually be fun then.
The 3D effects were alright, overall, giving a pleasing depth to the proceedings, but they tended to be gimmicky. For instance, they’d have someone punch a window and we see them punch towards us, an effect that doesn’t feel natural in visual storytelling – especially when you know the reason why it was done (i.e. not for artistic reasons, but for cheap thrills).
This version of ‘MBV” in some ways tries to be more realistic than the original was (and, thankfully, it has the budget to do it!), but then it goes and offers us all these cheap thrills like gratuitous nudity and gimmicky kills, serving only to dumb it down – which is rather unfortunate, because it consequently falls neatly in that “very average” category of horror cinema.
The music was also run-of-the-mill for the genre. Consequently, I found it annoying because it was filled with those startling booming sounds that came out of nowhere for no real reason (cut to newspaper: “Boom!” WTF? ). This motion picture score was unable to create a true atmosfear (sic) so it depended on shocks, on artifice, to make up for it. I won’t be buying THIS CD, that’s for sure.
One of the things I found lacking in the film is the omnipresence of the Valentine’s Day theme from the original: it’s no longer taking place in Valentine Bluffs, the town isn’t getting ready for their big Valentine’s Day celebrations, it doesn’t even clearly indicate that it’s taking place on V Day (although it could be assumed, based on the fact that it’s ten years later, after a February 14 massacre, that they mean it quite literally). While this is a hoaky aspect of the original film, it rightly serves to play up the novelty side of the film – which is named ‘My Bloody Valentine’ for a reason.
One change I did like is that the writer played around with the origin and, consequently the development, giving it a slightly more realistic spin. They managed to make a nod to the original film in the intro, which was a good way to link the two, I found. However, after the credit sequence, it got into the action a little too fast for my taste – even more so than the remake of ‘Friday the 13th’ did (which is comparable in some respects).
As with the original, the love triangle is equally irritating; neither guy is a catch and you have to wonder what the girl is thinking by staying with one and pining for the other. At least it’s true to the original, but this is something I would have done without. I’m sure die-hard fans wouldn’t agree with me on this one, though.
Unfortunately, it follows in the 1981 version’s footsteps by also being all too obvious about the identity of the killer. While they messed around with the original concept, it was quickly narrowed down to two possible characters and, due to the original, the filmmakers would have been foolish to choose one of them so, it had to be the other. They didn’t even try to surprise us. Sheesh.
*MAJOR spoiler alert*
*MAJOR spoiler alert*
And then there’s the ending.
The final confrontation was anti-climactic because, not only could we guess who the killer was, but he remained in his civies, uncostumed and unmasked, thereby ruining the iconic quality of the film. So, basically, we were offered a regular-looking guy trying to off the remaining protagonists. except that he’s supposed to be crazy. Whoopteedoo.
Think about it: if Jason Voorhees showed up to a mass killing in casual wear, he’d be far less imposing. That’s why they stuck with his look from the third movie onward. That’s why all the iconic villains have their look – because it makes them stand out from the crowds and gives them a more imposing, more frightening allure.
Honestly, if not for this terribly unsuitable ending, I would have given ‘My Bloody Valentine (2009)’ a higher rating than the original. Granted, it’s not an award-winner – but, in the genre, it’s alright. And it tried hard to be more credible and to develop its characters, which is a remarkable improvement over the 1981 version.