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My Bloody Valentine (Patrick Lussier, 2009)
My Bloody Valentine remakes a middling horror movie to unsurprising results. This mediocre fright flick is distinguished largely by its gimmick of having a stalker who flays his victims while suited up in mining gear. Unimaginatively, and disappointingly, he dispatches nearly everyone he meets via the same pickaxe, which limits the gory thrills somewhat, even with a body count that rises well into the double-digits. Although presented theatrically in 3-D, these effects do little to distinguish what is a workmanlike, but uninspired outing.
The most interesting thing one could say about this rather routine slasher film is to note the way that for much of its duration it plays out more like a soap opera than a horror movie. In the way that its heroine is placed between two men, one her high school sweetheart, the other the lout sheís married, it apes the structure of many full-blown womenís melodramas. By the end of My Bloody Valentine, it admittedly does its title better justice than the film that spawned it did. Both a romantic drama and a thriller, the third act finds the movie serving both generic masters, with it equally invested in the excitement over whether or not the girl will be chopped up and the anguish of whether sheíll pick the man with the mysterious past or her husband who has been led astray. One could imagine a film of this sort with a real emotional component working well (Scream and its first sequel came close at times), but this flounders, sadly. It all would be considerably more interesting if the acting were less pathetic. Ultimately, the genre hopping and intimations of true love donít quite manage to charge the movie emotionally, but these elements do give viewers something to worry about between murders.
Certainly, My Bloody Valentine is no great technical achievement. Besides scarcely taking advantage of the 3-D gimmick, director Lussier does little else to demonstrate his skill. Even though a large portion of the film is composed of chase scenes and bloody reveals, the most memorable sequence scarcely owes anything to Lussierís mise-en-scene. It features an actress who flees the malicious miner while stark naked. Given such a scene, itís obvious that My Bloody Valentine is not attempting to appeal to highbrows, but its general lack of ambition in the face of both a potentially exciting new technology and a script that suggests a potential emphasis on characterization is rather dispiriting.