Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
There are a number of bad horror remakes, that’s for sure. This 2009 remake of the 1981 original is actually one of the better ones though. While My Bloody Valentine is not without its problems, the well constructed plot and the talented cast make it worth while. Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, and Kerr Smith all turn in fine performances and make for better than average slasher film characters. In addition to that, the plot is also better than average for a slasher. There’s a whodunnit type mystery at the center of everything that, for the most part, keeps you guessing. The main drawback here is there’s a little too much reliance on over the top gore and sex.
Now to be perfectly clear, there’s nothing wrong with some blood and sexuality but the issue here is that in several scenes they just seem to want to shock you for the hell of it. For example, there’s an elongated sequence where a man and woman have embarrassingly obnoxious sex and then she runs around completely nude with everything showing for the next few minutes. It’s not pertinent to the story or anything so it just comes off as gratuitous and kind of cringeworthy.
Similarly, several of the death scenes are just so gory that it takes a little away from My Bloody Valentine. But to the film’s credit, there is a good amount of well staged suspense and mystery. I appreciate that this isn’t just a huge bloodbath; there is a pretty entertaining plot here. The mystery of who the axe murderer’s identity is handled well. It’s certainly possible you could guess who it is, but the film does a decent job of throwing up several possibilities to try and keep you on the edge until the final reveal. I liked how twisty and psychotic the reveal was too as it added an extra level of creep onto everything. Most of the death scenes have well constructed suspense too.
They come up with some clever ways to build up the scare factor and most of them work well. They do a lot with visuals and a lot of the choices made here just feel so deliciously cinematic. That’s one of the key things with a film like this: you have to have fun and revel in the intensity of it all. There’s one scene towards the end that I particularly liked where the killer uses their axe to knock out lightbulbs as they approach their victims, making things darker and darker. That paired with the score and the performances all worked together to form a wonderfully intense scene.
So yeah there are several tacky scenes in My Bloody Valentine that, in my view, dumb things down unnecessarily – BUT there are MORE scenes like the one I just described that are well done. The director, Patrick Lussier must be commended for his choices because this is very well shot and is more visually memorable than most films of this type.
Now, I never got to see this in the 3D format that was available when it was released but given that I liked most of the visuals, I’m almost certain the 3D usage is well done. And as I mentioned, the three main stars do well by their characters. Ackles in particular turns in an impressive performance that I really enjoyed. I appreciate a horror film cast that’s game and really gives it their all, especially considering the fact that I’ve seen quite a few where the opposite is true.
The 2009 remake of My Bloody Valentine is one of the better horror reboots. Because of a decent script, good performances, and some smart cinematic choices, this is an overall pretty fun ride.
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