Sunday, February 9, 2014

#1,273. My Bloody Valentine (2009)

Directed By: Patrick Lussier

Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith

Tag line: "Are you ready for your heart to be broken? He's going to do it"

Trivia: The film was shot in Pennsylvania, because it allowed the production crew to take advantage of the state's tax incentives for filmmaking

As much as I love 1981’s My Bloody Valentine (which is my all-time favorite ‘80s slasher), the 2009 remake is every bit as good. Originally in 3-D, My Bloody Valentine is a nice combination of old and new, borrowing elements from the original movie while, at the same time, updating the story for a new generation.

Eleven years ago, a mining accident, the result of a mistake made by the owner's son Tom Hanniger (Jensen Eckles), led to six miners being trapped underground for days. When rescuers finally reached them, only one was still alive, and he was in a coma.

But there's more to the story. Upon further examination, authorities made the horrifying discovery that this lone survivor, Harry Warden (Richard John Waters), in a panic to conserve oxygen, had murdered the others by striking them in the back of the head with his pick-axe!

The following year, on the first anniversary of this tragedy, Harry Warden woke up from his coma and went on another killing spree, butchering the hospital's employees before heading home to take out a few of his former co-workers. If it hadn’t been for Sheriff Burke (Tom Atkins), Tom Hanniger himself would have become one of Harry’s latest victims. Shot several times, Harry Warden stumbled into one of the mineshafts and disappeared. He never resurfaced, and was presumed dead.

Jump forward ten years. After being away for the last decade, Tom Hanniger is back in town, preparing to sell his family's interest in the mine (his father recently passed away, making Tom the sole owner). Some of the community’s elders, including Sheriff Burke and Ben Foley (Kevin Tighe), are none too happy that Tom is selling. To further complicate matters, the love of Tom’s life, Sarah (Jaime King), has since married his former friend, Axel (Kerr Smith), the town's new sheriff!

As if all that tension wasn't bad enough, Harry Warden is back, slaughtering unsuspecting townsfolk with his trusty pick-axe. But is it really Harry Warden, or is someone else responsible for these killings?

Thematic elements aside, i.e. - two former friends in love with the same woman, the key similarity between 2009’s My Bloody Valentine and the original is its high level of gore. Like the ’81 version, this remake features some very messy kills. As mentioned above, Harry Warden likes to bury his pick axe into other people’s skulls, which we see, in graphic detail, several times throughout the movie.

This, however, is where the similarities end. For one, the Valentine’s Day dance, a key plot point in the ’81 film, is nowhere to be found in this movie. Also, the characters themselves are much more complex. The love triangle involving Tom, Axel, and Sarah is further complicated by the fact Axel is carrying on an affair with Megan (Megan Boone), who works for Sarah at the local grocery store. Even the small-town vibe is different in this film, with the entire community up-in-arms because Tom is about to sell the mine, which could result in massive layoffs. Ultimately, these changes make the most recent My Bloody Valentine a darker movie than the original, while also providing viewers with a glimpse of small-town America that is less than flattering.

For sentimental reasons, I still prefer 1981’s My Bloody Valentine to this version, and I always will. But as remakes go, 2009’s My Bloody Valentine ranks right up there with 2013’s Evil Dead as one of the best I’ve ever seen.


Dell said...

I prefer this to the original, but that could be because the only version of the original I've seen is so heavily edited it's neutered.

Dell said...

I prefer this to the original, but that could be because the only version of the original I've seen is so heavily edited it's neutered.