My Bloody Valentine (2009)
My Bloody Valentine (2009)

Genre: Slasher Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min.

Release Date: January 16th, 2009 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Patrick Lussier Actors: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue, Edi Gathegi, Tom Atkins, Kevin Tighe, Megan Boone, Karen Baum, Joy de la Paz, Selene Luna

 


 

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unnel #5 of the Hanniger Mines collapses, taking the lives of several workers and leaving just a single, unconscious man retrievable. After Hanniger’s son Tom (Jensen Ackles) is questioned for negligence, it’s revealed that the other miners were not killed by the cave-in, but rather by the blunt force of a pickaxe. A year later, after suddenly awaking from a coma, the lone survivor, Harry Warden (Rich Walters), slaughters everyone at the Harmony Memorial Hospital. As the police wonder where the mass murderer could be headed, a group of partygoers gathers in the Hanniger mines, unsuspecting of the significance of that slaying ground.

Ten years later, with the town of Harmony still reeling from Warden’s 22-victim killing spree (he vanished after supposedly getting buried in the crumbling tunnels), county sheriff Axel Palmer (Kerr Smith) just wants the news reporters to give it a rest. Meanwhile, Tom, still plagued by memories of the terrifying incident, comes back to sell Hanniger Mining, which infuriates longtime employee Ben Foley (Kevin Tighe), who fears for his career and investments. Sarah (Jaime King), who managed to escape from Warden’s vengeance with then-boyfriend Tom, is now married to Axel, who is clearly jealous of Tom’s return.

And then, of course, people begin meeting untimely demises. Ultimately, the large cast of random or practically indistinguishable characters (mostly attractive young adults) merely serves as fodder for senseless butchering. It’s all very graphic and gruesome, though there’s a silliness wafting about the extremeness of the violence, especially when considering the moments of full frontal female nudity, gratuitously sustained in one memorable scene as a naked woman is chased through a parking lot and hotel room. Jump scares are constant, violins screech, and candy boxes keep turning up – containing freshly removed human hearts.

The mines, dripping with humidity, flickering lighting, rusty fencing, wooden beams, and shadowy alcoves, are a great environment for this kind of slasher – where people regularly trip over themselves and wander around unarmed and solo. Additionally, the hulking monster moves very slowly, vanishes frequently (and can somehow maneuver around entire buildings in a couple of seconds), and is ridiculously impervious to harm – all while getaway vehicles never seem to start up right away. The framing and styling of many of the horror elements are reasonably effective, though most often the creativity is dulled by manipulative music and panicky screams. And the impractical, rapid donning of a gas mask, helmet, and uniform turns out to be one of the more absurd inconsistencies.

Mimicking the original “My Bloody Valentine” from 1981, itself a rather uninspiring ordeal that failed to spawn sequels (like so many other horror franchises of the time), here the killer’s identity is a mystery. Many enemies are made and suspicious personas abound; everyone is a suspect and no one is all that sympathetic. But in the end, solving the crime and cheering on heroes is something of a lost cause, as most of the roles sport tepid character development or are just unintelligent enough to inspire disgust – or gratefulness when they’re removed from the picture at the sharp end of a pickaxe.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10