My Bloody Valentine: The Remake

As remakes of slasher films go, My Bloody Valentine is the best one so far. To be fair to this film I’m trying to curb my comparisons between it and the original. I’m also keeping this mini review bare bones because I don’t want to spoil the surprises. The audience screamed, begged for certain characters to be spared, and yelled “Run you stupid bitch” at Sarah on more than one occasion. It was this audience participation that really gave me flashbacks of seeing slashers in theaters back in the 80′s. The numerous jump scares, gory deaths, and sick humor made MBV 09 a good time. Plus, it was great seeing Tom Atkins on the big screen again.

The downside is I don’t think I would have enjoyed the film as much if I hadn’t experienced the audience participation. There is something missing from the core of MBV that keeps it from being anything other than a popcorn film. Why Harry Warden goes on a killing spree isn’t fully explained. I mention this because one guy in the audience shouted “Why is this guy killing people?” during a hospital massacre.

I’m not a fan of slasher remakes but I did enjoy MBV 09 (can’t call it 3D because it wasn’t here). It has some problems but the scary bits make up for weak subplots. I know a lot of slasher fans will condemn MBV outright, but give it a chance before you throw it under the bus.

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12 Responses to “ My Bloody Valentine: The Remake ”

  1. To say I didn’t enjoy some of it would be an outright lie. It has some good moments. Sadly, though, they’re all primarily relegated to the kills themselves – those and Tom Atkins in every scene he’s in. Having him grace the multiplex again in a rather juicy supporting role is indeed a real treat.

    But let’s face it – this film is empty. The dialog sucks, the acting is atrocious (save for Atkins, who’s coasting) and it feels like another “post WB/CW exercise” in trying to oversex and gloss up the genre too much for its own good. The characters in the original MBV are warm, believable (where’s rugged, realistic looking blue collar guys in this film? Where’s unattractive big boys like Hollis?), and most importantly – LIKEABLE. There’s nary a smidge of that carried over here. People are stupid, annoying and uncharismatic to the point that you’re cheering for them to get offed. Now, I tend to have no fault with this aspect when applied to some general slasher fare – pretty much every F13 flick ever made has subscribed to this discourse more or less, with the usual stock of sheep waiting for the slaughter in each outing – but not the original MBV. Perhaps I just hold it too near and dear to accept such an application when applied to this remake.

    Like I said, some of the kills were ok. The gore was indeed fun to behold in 3D, but still somewhat overhyped, IMO. I think what has happened in the post-PG-13 tweenification of horror films in the current day and age is that when something like this comes along that really doesn’t cater to that demographic and tries to swing for the fences at all, people really become enamored with it – perhaps even for blindly wrong reasons. The same was true of “Hatchet,” in my estimation. It’s like “wow – here’s something new that doesn’t totally suck ass – this film is truly awesome!” But it isn’t. It’s just ‘ok’ at best.

    Was it fun? Yes, to a point. But I completely agree with you in that had I seen the film in an empty house without all the hooting and hollering to help elevate it over the mediocre within the moment, it would have been truly abysmal. Even the 3D with an empty house would be a chore to sit through. But with the 3D and an interactive crowd, it’s a good time. Take away those elements though, and aside from a few good kills (Atkins death, in particular, is pretty spectacular to behold), it’s completely forgettable.

    What hurts me most of all is that, to most people growing up from here on out, THIS will always be “My Bloody Valentine.” Forever and ever, amen. That little Canadian slasher that could from 1981 will remain in the shadow of this slicker, sillier update. Especially if it goes full-franchise with more entries to back this one up, which early word-of-mouth suggests, unless the grosses prove to be really underwhelming. But I’m guessing Lion’s Gate is crossing their fingers on this one, hoping they’ve got another “Saw” cash-cow waiting in the wings. And Lussier/Farmer/Smith seem to already hint they’ve got a sequel ready to go, should they get the go-ahead.

    And the ending to this film certainly suggested that much, too. The original’s ending is so chillingly effective that this one’s “here comes the sequel” approach just felt that much more groanworthy as a result.

    Make no mistake – I’m happy that R-Rated horror might continue to make a comeback with this film. I just hope some standards are also raised to accompany other films – remakes or not – that may trickle out in the wake of MBV3D. Slasher films don’t have to be complex, no. But as “Inside” recently proved – you can take things a little more seriously and that can go a long way with even the most moderate of ingredients. MBV3D would’ve been even more fun and memorable if it took itself even the slightest bit more seriously, which is something the ’81 original does very well. And I’m talking everything – dialog, old-fashioned charisma, characterization, atmosphere and just plain overall sincerity to boot. That can mean a lot in any film, even for a simple stalk-and-slash exercise that most might immediately dismiss.

  2. I agree with almost everything William B states in his write up. From what I’ve gathered from reading reviews online is that what a lot of folks are taking with them is the experience of watching it in 3D and/or the crowd they saw it with. I was a lucky one that saw it in 3D and in a pretty packed theater, not to mention the theater was older, with no stadium style seating and I had to drive to a neighborhood I would rather not return to to see the film. However, that being said, here’s something I took from that experience.

    The audience was not into this movie at all. I don’t know what they were expecting, but I heard one guy telling his girlfriend after the movie ended that “This wasn’t like the previews at all. It wasn’t funny!!” And I began to question myself at when and where “R” rated horror became the funny horror? Most of the audience just wanted to laugh at jokes that weren’t there. And no one cheered for anyone, the crowd was pretty lame, except for the surprise kill when Todd Farmer made his cameo.

    I don’t want to keep going on and on, but I also did not like the performance of Jensen Ackles. His performance reminded me too much of Freddie Prinze Jr. in IKWYDLS, actually the whole movie had that “feel” to it. And also Valentine’s Day is in February, but not one person was cold, and the leaves on the trees were solid green.

  3. In response to the original poster, in my opinion Harry Warden went on the initial killing spree because killing the five men to preserve air and survive awoke some sort of bloodlust / drove him insane, paving the way for his killing spree.

  4. I love the movie, I thought it was a great homage to the orig.

    I think the reason why Harry Warden was killing people in the opening. ….

    1. Is because he’s pissed that he spent years in a coma, he woke up and snap,

    2. Remeber he was a ass to Tom and blames him and the community for letting the(accident) happen, Its common sense that he would want revenge.

    I can’t wait for the DVD release of this film, I want to see the alternated endings. I also hope there will be commentaries.

  5. “Preserve air”? You mean he doesn’t eat them in the remake? It was always my impression from the original that he ate the other miners to some degree to survive. I mean he is holding a severed arm and looks batshit crazy at the camera, stuck down there for days and days with nothing to eat. That makes more sense to me in the long run, as far as character motivation for a killing rampage.

    I haven’t seen the flick, obviously, want to, but daddy duties are keeping me in this weekend. Having said that, “Burning Metal” may have doomed all hope for me though… please tell me that there’s really not a Prinze Jr. like perfomance in this movie. Shudder, truly terrifying.

  6. ***SPOILERS AHEAD***

    I saw this in 3-D opening night and the theater was packed. Originally, we tried to see the 8:00 showing but it was sold out and had to buy tickets for the 9:45 show…it was very difficult to find some empty seats that were together once we got in the theater. I loved the movie, but the original still holds a special place in my heart… ;-) Although, I think that the pacing in the middle was a tad slow and they should’ve spread some of the earlier killing sequences throughout the rest of the movie, rather than having it start RIGHT up. But hey, they had to grab the audience’s attention. The 3 things I liked most about the movie were:

    1. The opening party scene where everyone starts getting massacred by Harry Warden after he awakes from his coma. Great stalking sequence…I love when victims have to hide from the killer when they’re RIGHT there. Reminded me very much of the scene from TOURIST TRAP when Tanya Roberts and Jon Van Ness are hiding from Chuck Connors amongst the various mannequins lined up along the hall. Although, I still think this scene was a little too early for the movie, especially after the hospital massacre – which probably could’ve shown more. But they did take a different route from the original and this was their way of paying homage while still taking a new direction.

    2. Irene’s chase scene! Betsy Rue was very likeable to me for some reason and kinda reminded me of Jaime Pressley. She played the slutty best friend role very well and had some pretty funny lines. The fact that she did her entire chase sequence NUDE blew my mind. I’m surprised the MPAA let them get away with that, not to mention all the gore that’s in the movie. It’s probably a good idea they shot an alternate clothed sequence (from what I’ve seen in previews/trailers), and I’m interested in seeing that on the DVD along with an unrated version of the film…cuz you just KNOW everything gets an unrated release nowadays. Too bad such wasn’t the case for the original back in ’81. But we have it back to ALMOST how it was originally intended!

    3. The supermaket chase sequence. One word – INTRUDER!

    All in all, I thought it was a nice throwback to ’80s slasher flicks, despite some obvious modernized aspects of the film…but hey, it’s 2009. We’ll always have the original, but the remake was pretty damn good too!

  7. I was very pleased with this new MBV, it was an enjoyable slasher through and through.

    I am a huge fan of the original, and I won’t say the new one is better but its another strong entry in this holiday slasher series, now bound to be a franchise due to this new film’s success. But it does surprise me how much some retro slasher fans are trashing it, as though it’s existence is somehow a major offense to them and the original, and that baffles me.

    The original MBV is easily one of the most enjoyable of the retro slashers, but its no great work of drama, it’s a by the numbers body count film. The love triangle never worked for me, I don’t watch slashers to be emotionally moved by a romantic love story. The scene with Sarah and T.J., “I really fell on my ass out there”, is cringe worthy every time I see it. The acting is bad across the board. I absolutely hated Hollis and Howard, two of the most annoying victims in slasher history.

    I know MBV benefited from older, working class lead characters, but they all acted like horny teenagers anyway, all they wanted was to drink in bars or junkyards and play juvenile pranks on each other and have a dance. I actually felt the remake had more substance with the characters, they were struggling with work and keeping the town alive and the mine open. It wasn’t just let’s have a party.

    I’ve also heard complaints on the new one for characters who freeze in the face of danger or don’t run fast enough. Hello, it’s a slasher movie, we expect and want that. Consider Sarah in the original MBV, she frequently froze in the face of danger (and her squealing friend even more), she cowers almost the entire time, and doesn’t really fight at all with the killer. Very lame final girl if you ask me. In MBV 3-D, Sarah fights tooth and nail for her life time after time, now that’s a final girl I can really root for.

    As a retro slasher fan, I delight in bad or awkward performances, if I didn’t I wouldn’t like any of these movies. And despite my criticisms of the original, I love it like an old friend, warts and all. Hell, I’m putting together a retro slasher hoodie and the original MBV covers the entire back. Just don’t believe all the hate on MBV 3-D. We can get cynical if we forget the reasons we love this subgenre in the first place, flaws and all.

  8. LOL people seriously are starved for entertainment these days. stay home, save your money, and watch better films on DVD

  9. Its interesting to hear about the opinions for sure. But I am not going to spend money to see this, I’ll wait until I can watch it on the satellite. I’m glad lionsgate put out the special edition of the 1981 version, but people have to remember if you keep supporting remakes they will make money and more and more will be made, good ro bad. Since you don’t know if a movie is good or bad unless you pay money to see it, why take a chance on buying a movie ticket? if you don’t like it you’ve wasted your money. its too risky in my opinion.

  10. a bit off topic, but i forgot to add I would much rather see horror fans purchase DVDs from Synapse, Blue Underground, Code Red, etc than going to the theater. Its important to help dvd companies out financially so they can continue to bring out the classic 70s and 80s gems

  11. I do both.

  12. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Support the idea of remakes of movies you like (the original), so the original can get better DVD releases ala MBV and F the 13th.

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