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‘My Bloody Valentine’: old-school horror



Published: Thu, January 15, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Rick Bentley

The movie includes first-rate 3-D effects.

The late 1970s and early 1980s was the golden age for modern horror films. The idea behind movies like “Chopping Mall” or “The House on Sorority Row” was to entertain the audience with over-the top acts of violence. But in recent years that philosophy has been replaced by a desire to titillate moviegoers with acts of torture.

Back when Freddy and Jason were prowling theaters, the idea was to scare movie-going couples enough to make them wrap their arms around each other. Now they just want you to wrap your arms around a toilet.

“My Bloody Valentine 3D” returns to those entertainingly scary days of yesteryear. There’s no way to watch this non-stop string of brutal attacks without seeing the absurdity in the whole thing. Toss in first-rate 3D and the movie not only pays a proper homage to the 1981 original but kicks it up about 1,000 notches.

Fans of ’70s and ’80s horror films will recognize the familiar plot. An isolated community becomes the target of a killer. He chops his way through young and old while the local law enforcement show up just in time to crack bad jokes about the victims.

The killer in “Bloody Valentine” is The Miner. He is a pick-swinging maniac made crazy after being the only survivor of a mining accident. It appeared The Miner was stopped after his first killing spree, but 10 years later he’s back to his old ways.

The question is whether the original Miner has returned or someone new has decided to continue the tradition.

Director Patrick Lurrier spent years working as an editor on such films as all three “Scream” offerings and “Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later.” The knowledge he gained from those movies comes through as he skillfully blends acts of violence with graveyard humor. Despite the brutality of the acts, such a mix requires a delicate touch: Swing too far toward the violence or the humor and the movie fails.

Lurrier doesn’t miss a step. Even a sequence with one of the longest gratuitous nude scenes in horror-movie history is played with a proper balance of tension and humor.

As with the scary films of two decades ago, the actors are really little more than props to get from one killing to the next. But Kerr Smith, who plays the local sheriff, is good enough to give the role some depth. His effort wasn’t necessary, but is is welcomed.

This kind of horror flick has never been about great acting, serious storytelling or even a plot. Such movies work if the violence makes you scream and laugh at the same time.

“My Bloody Valentine 3D” does that in spades. Actually, it does it with a pick ax.


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