On Second Thought: “My Bloody Valentine (2009)”

IMG_5112There’s no escaping the remake. They’re everywhere. The moment you stumble upon some little gem of a movie, you turn around and there’s the remake. It’s there for any and all too see how and why Hollywood studios are completely out of ideas.

The Lionsgate film, “My Bloody Valentine”, only seems to keep the same story, but make it more illogical than before.

This horror remake stars Jensen Ackles (“Supernatural”, “Batman: Under the Red Hood”), Jaime King (“Hart of Dixie”, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”), Kerr Smith (“Stalker”, “The Fosters”), Kevin Tighe (“Complications”, “Salem”), Edi Gathegi (“Justified”, “Family Tools”), Tom Atkinson (“Apocolypse Kiss”, “Drive Angry”), Betsy Rue (“Lucky Bastard”, “Femme Fatales”), and Megan Boone (“The Blacklist”, “Welcome to the Jungle”),

The film was directed by Patrick Lussier (“Drive Angry”, “White Noise 2: The Light”) and written by Zane Smith and Todd Farmer (“Heavenly Sword”, “Drive Angry”).

The film originally opened on Jan. 16, 2009. (What??)

Okay, so technically it’s the day after Valentine’s Day, but this is how it worked out. A nice little trio of Valentine’s Day themed movies, or a “My Bloody Valentine” sandwich. Either way, I couldn’t very well pass up this chance to watch all three again.

As seems to be a thing a lot of remakes like to do is pay homage to the original. Why? I have no idea. It’s not like you’re bound to forget what you’re watching. This film kept some trademark actions that the original created. The smashing the lights with the pick axe was an okay inclusion. If there was any desired effect I think it was completely lost, but that has more to do with the ridiculousness of certain plot elements. This film also saw the inclusion of one memorable scene from the original. A character being killed and stuffed inside a dryer. Like the original, someone came and opened it and out unfurled the dead woman, complete with a showing of her horribly disfigured and burned body. On which one was better, I can’t say. The thing I’m glad about with this, is that it gave the filmmakers a chance to use practical effects and get as realistic as possible. This also lends to the trying to just be flat out gross as often as possible.

The following paragraph/section contains a major spoiler:

Now, normally I wouldn’t care, but I guess I want to be nice. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that talking about the ridiculousness of the chosen person to be the killer, is impossible without revealing the person’s identity. So, onward. The killer is Ackles. There. Whew. Glad that’s over with. Moving on.

It makes no sense how when Ackles is down in the mine and then he “encounters” the killer. This cannot be, primarily because of what’s revealed later. After it’s finally revealed, with a little help from Smith’s character, that Ackles is crazy, Ackles himself says Harry Warden is behind King. Turns out, no. Then through quick bursts, mainly flashbacks, we see Ackles committing all the crimes and what not. The one that made no sense was when he’s readying and then does, lock himself in the cage in the mine. He’s wearing the suit the killer does, but later is seen wearing his regular clothes. Umm… where did he stash the suit beforehand? Does he have extra ones left all over the town for when he feels like killing a few people? No. This approach isn’t new, but plenty of other films have managed this a lot better. There’s also the original, that did a much better job at misdirection than this film. This film pretty much put a giant spotlight on Ackles and stayed there. Not the best move.

There’s also the issue, that the film suddenly decides to throw out Smith’s character as the killer. Never once was there a reason too or anything in the story itself that suggests he is or has motive, but the writers decided this was a good idea. It wasn’t. If they had wanted this, they should’ve aimed for this much sooner. Just because a character doesn’t like another character, doesn’t automatically mean he’s the killer or even makes for a good suspect. As I watched this again, I noticed there were other slightly noticeable things that Ackles’ character did that were tip offs as to the films end. I will admit that maybe this is just because I’ve seen it and it’s all in hindsight, but still, they should’ve been markers I noticed the first time. They very well could be for someone else.

The dramatic conflict, which is pretty much needed to give this film any semblance of a plot, is boring. Also because some of the reasoning that various characters give for being angry at Ackles, makes no sense. When the central characters got their turn at having issues, you just couldn’t care enough. I think this may have more to do with the fact that not a single character, any likable qualities.

As with any modern horror movie, it’s all about the kills. Not so much that there are any that you can actually see onscreen, but more how much blood and gore will be witnessed. While it’s still fun to see how these people will bite it, the kills are meant to be simply gruesome. Forget effective, let’s go for overkill! That’s certainly what we get here, which is still pretty muted when compared to that of any of the “Saw” films after number three.

While I don’t exactly expect a lot of creativity to be put into this type of film, I occasionally hope that the characters aren’t overly stupid. Along with typical horror movie tropes and clichés, you’ve simply got jump scares and stupidity running around without being checked on. In the grocery store, after the killer has chased King and Boone all over, it turns out there was an alarm button in the back room. The same back room they both ran to, from which Boone was snatched through the window. After Boone’s character has been taken, and killed, the first thing King’s character decides to do is press this button. Why couldn’t she have done this in the first place? The layout, after moving one large item, hadn’t changed. She was pretty easily able to reach and press the button. But, hey, this is the same character (of all of them), that tripped over nothing when running down a grocery store aisle. Intelligence is clearly not in her favor. While I may loathe the way jump scares are utilized, I must admit, I was had by a few of them in this film. I’m a bit more ashamed than impressed.

One thing I can say I was surprised by was the use of 3-D technology. When watching this, like all the other times, I refused to watch it as it originally was intended. I hate 3-D. It usually sucks and adds nothing to the film, except a more expensive ticket. When watching the 2-D version, it’s pretty hard to miss all the moments that are so clearly meant for 3-D. What it does is just provide this film with every opportunity to have things shooting or flying out at you. They don’t have to be good or for any particular scare moment, but just look cool. I’m pretty certain, they would’ve.

While this film isn’t particularly good, there’s somehow some fun that can still be had. It’s a slasher film, with a bit of mystery, what’s not to love? However, unlike previous times seeing this, I really couldn’t help but think this story’s approach would’ve been better if done in the manner of the meta-sequel/remake “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”. Since the original, like this film, clearly hoped to have a franchise of some sort, this film could’ve easily revisited the original town some 28 years later. While this didn’t help the new “Sundown” film, it was at the very least, creative. Similarly, “Scream 4”, was better for having a 10 year gap between events of the third, and an even bigger from the events of the original film. But, alas, both films came out after this one, so creativity and originality be damned. It’s the thing that remakes are known for, and we keep eating them up.

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One thought on “On Second Thought: “My Bloody Valentine (2009)”

  1. Pingback: On Second Thought: “Playing By Heart” | Past, Present, Future in TV and Film

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