Friday, June 26, 2009

Turk Theater Presents - My Bloody Valentine (2009)

When I started this series I had every intention of watching interesting, intelligent films and conveying my thoughts to you, Gentle Readers. Unfortunately for us both, my insatiable thirst and morbid curiosity for horror movie crapshoots is as persistent as ever. Today's foray into the typically unwatched lead me to slasher-movie remake My Bloody Valentine 3-D starring Jensen Ackles (Supernatural). Except, not in 3-D. Because who the hell owns 3-D movie glasses anymore?

So, in this episode Dean Winchest-I MEAN-Tom. Sorry. Tom Hannigar works for his father's outdated coal mine in a quaint, mountain town that is only named once and isn't worth remembering. One day down in the mine, there's a BIG EXPLOSION... killing next to no one and putting employee Harry Warden into a coma for awhile. Of course, Harry wakes up on Valentine's Day and goes on murderous killing spree, killing everyone in the hospital, removing their hearts while drawing V-day hearts and valentine clichés in blood on the walls. Meanwhile, a Valentine's Day party just happens to be going on back at the mine. Tom just happens to show up with his girlfriend Sarah (they hold hands as soon as they get out of the car AND they're TOTALLY the loves of each other's lives, like, for real) to meet with their two friends, an asshole with a thing for Sarah named Axel (played by Kerr Smith) and his girlfriend Irene, who speaks like she's constantly on the verge of sleeping with someone. In short time, Harry Warden shows up in a mining suit and mask to murder some one-liner characters for reasons unexplained, nearly killing the main characters in the process, possibly intending to kill Tom. And then it doesn't matter because the cops show up and shoot Harry Warden several times, the cave collapses, and Tom is traumatized. It's a sad night in whatever-white-bred-town-this-is.

Ten whole years later, on Valentine's Day, so much has changed for this group of friends. Tom returns from places unknown wearing a sweet coat to sell his father's mine. Axel (now Sheriff Axel) and Sarah have gotten married and formed a family in Tom's absence while Axel grows a puberty beard and cheats on her in a crappy cabin in the woods ("Why can't we ever go someplace nice, like, a motel"). And, Irene... well... the only thing we see of Irene (ok, we see all of Irene for 10 straight minutes) is her riding a large, unfaithful trucker like a bucking bronco, screaming "I look SO HOT RIGHT NOW," while staring at herself in a ceiling mirror inside what I can only assume is the motel mentioned above. Infidelity seems to be a theme. And then someone wearing a miner's suit shows up and the movie proceeds down various twists and bends and, actually, fairly decent performances from our main characters. Axel, Sarah, and Dean-I MEAN-Tom try to figure out whether or not Harry Warden is still alive and who his potential copy-cat may be.

Trust and love are also themes. And, for all the film's flaws, I was impressed by its ability to carry Valentine's Day as a motif outside of a "jilted-lover-revenge-story." The love-triangle between Axel-Sarah-Tom actually influences the story line and even helps skew the perspective from which we view the film. For instance, you're generally supposed to root for Tom's character, however as the movie progresses your opinion of Axel may very well prevent you from seeing things that make Tom more suspect. Sarah is forced to make an important decision in the end concerning trust. I won't tell you what happens, however. You'll have to trust me and take that plunge for yourself.

The film follows like your typical slasher-flick a la Halloween. Harry Warden/The Miner is an unstoppable killing machine fueled seemingly by sheer force of will and whose motivations aren't exactly spelled out. The thrill Harry Warden presents as the "monster" is heightened by the fact that he probably could be stopped. He falls down, winces, and has his weapon taken away frequently, affording his victims some opportunity to best him. This contrasts a film like Halloween distinctly, where Michael Myers (not the comedian/actor) simply will NOT stop his slow gait no matter how much damage he takes and whose motivations can only be assumed because he doesn't speak. Michael Myers's approach is ultimately more frightening, but Harry Warden's is probably more appropriate and effective for a movie with a 3-D gimmick.

Final Verdict - Not a complete waste of time. The plot is fun and fast-paced enough to stay entertaining and the performances are decent for a slasher flick, but it's not going to make horror movie history. Well, outside of being the first wide-released 3-D horror movie in years. Just go in with some friends and a clear sense of humor.

PS - I didn't even mention the facts that 80% of the victims in this movie were white women and the only minority characters present were a Latina maid named Rosa (Sherriffs must get paid well in bumfuck) and Axel's black partner whose sole job is to look at people disapprovingly. I tend to harp on that enough, though. Maybe just being direct about it is better.


Jason Heat said...

I will always remember Jensen Ackles from the most convoluted season of Smallville ever where they wanted to reveal that a mystery character was actually Bruce wayne, legally couldn't, and then had no idea what to do.

And it shows.

Ozkirbas said...

I actually really like Jensen Ackles as an actor. Given, aside from this movie (in which his performance was probably the strongest of mains) I've only seen him from one particular source. I'd certainly be interested in watching that Smallville season just to see him with a different writing and directing staff.

Jason Heat said...

I have it on DVD if you so desire.