No one is more exhausted with the torrent of needless remakes than I am, but I was shocked that Patrick Lussier’s treatment of the modern “My Bloody Valentine” is not only clever, but very entertaining. I was never a big fan of the eighties slasher classic, so it was a welcome treat to see Lussier treat the concept with respect, and add his own twist to it. “My Bloody Valentine” acts more as a tribute to the original film with a continuation of the storyline rather than actually try to re-capture the dark comedy of the original. This time around, “My Bloody Valentine” revolves the latter day town of Harmony that lives by the legend of Harry Warden, the psychotic pick axe killer who mutilated many during Valentine’s Day.
When a group of friends unite during the holiday in their old town to party in the local abandoned mine, they’re viciously attacked by the masked killer known as Warden, who proceeds to massacre the group of friends in the most gruesome way imaginable. There’s almost a mean streak to this Lussier remake, which undercuts the sleek direction and brisk pacing of the slasher film, adding a balance that is a welcome change. Lussier’s 2009 remake has a great sense of carnage to it that compliments his eye for detail and beautiful photography. What helps “My Bloody Valentine” feel different from other slashers is that the teenager aspect is only the prologue, and we’re then introduced to an adult cast, consisting of thirty somethings and seasoned genre veterans rounding out the supporting cast. The film thankfully doesn’t try to convince us star Ackles is in high school, as we’re now experiencing this new horrific situation with adults that have their own personal demons, and grudges.
This is what builds up the mystery and keeps us trying to figure out who is draped in the miners uniform murdering locals with an axe and shovel. Jensen Ackles as Tom Hanniger is one of the many friends attacked by Warden who miraculously survives Warden’s chaos thanks to a squad of police that shoot Warden and put him in a coma. Years later as Tom goes back to Harmony to claim his inheritance of the abandoned mine, planning to demolish it, the town is in a furor with his plans to destroy their economic base. To boot Tom re-unites with his old friends, including ex-girlfriend Sarah Palmer, who is now married to Tom’s old class rival. Jaime King proves herself yet again as the scream queen and heroine of the picture, giving a very spirited performance as Sarah Palmer, the woman torn between two of her past lovers pushed in to this enormous murder mystery where the pick axe murderer continues rampaging across Harmony, as she and husband Axel try to figure out his identity.
King doesn’t slouch in the acting department, providing an urgency and horror behind every experience in the film, and manages to balance herself well as the courageous heroine and the final girl who is strong enough to survive, but humanistic in the way she responds to the carnage. The pick axe killer leaves no stones unturned, making their way across town and dispensing of many of the town residents in gruesome manners, including an shocking moment involving Tom Atkins. Lussier never shies away from the splatter and grue, opting for scenes that show how this killer is ensuring their victims suffer greatly before the release of death, and the victims are handed immense pain with the pick axe. The finale provides audiences with a clever reveal, and one that I hoped would lead to a sequel. “My Bloody Valentine” is a remake that actually tries to offer audiences an ode to the original black comedy, while also unfolding a storyline that’s entertaining and fast paced. As a slasher fanatic, this more than satisfied my appetite.