While this movie automatically gets a great deal of disdain simply by virtue of being a remake, I actually thought it was one of the better of horror re-imaginings out there. It stays faithful to the themes and concepts of the original but doesn’t slovenly try and recreate what has come before. It’s got it’s own identity, much like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead remakes. It also helps that while I enjoy the original Bloody Valentine, it’s not one of my sacred cows. I was perfectly open to a remake and the team of Todd farmer and Patrick Lussier is definitely the right duo for the job.
I didn’t get to see this in the theater though. In one of the bigger marketing blunders in cinema, this film came out in January and was out of the theaters before February and Valentine’s Day ever drew near. As a result, my first exposure to this was on DVD and that’s really the wrong way to watch this movie. It’s not just the small screen, but it’s also the lack of 3D in a film that really needs it. Something about the 3D is what makes this movie shine and turns it into much more fun romp.
They waste no time getting us to the backstory, it’s told through a series of newspaper articles ahead of the credits and Harry Warden is mentioned by name. There’s also plenty of photos of Tom Atkins here, a nice touch. The shots of him in the hospital and the bloody massacre there serve to establish just what kind of a maniac we’re dealing with. It’s enough to even give reliable old Atkins a pause. I mean it by the way, this opening shot is ridiculously bloody with body parts strewn everywhere, nobody is left in one piece and hearts are drawn in blood on all the walls.
We shift over to a teenage party happening at the mine. This feels like a much more public party then the more intimate affair we saw in the original, but still it’s just a excuse to get our cast together and start introducing the characters.
The massacre from the hospital of course continues now in the tunnels, as a masked miner with a pickaxe slices and dices his way through the partygoers. Another stack of torn bodies litters the passageways and our teenage cast are Harry Warden’s next target. Even with some of the more egregious CGI, it’s gloriously gory.
Atkins and his Deputy arrive just in time to save the last of the teenagers, and 10 years later we pick up with the survivors as adults. One of them, Axel, has become the sheriff. We’re almost immediately treated to the sight of him cheating on his wife and fellow survivor Sarah. Tom on the other hand, has left town for a long time, even though his family still owns significant interest in the mine. His return to town is not met with any great enthusiasm. He’s an unwelcome pariah in a community of loose ends and the fact that he’s here to sell the mine doesn’t make anybody happy. To make things even more dire, it’s shortly after he checks in to his motel room that the masked killer makes his first appearance.
Even as Tom starts to renew old acquaintances , mostly negative, Harry Warden starts sending out the human hearts of his victims in candy boxes. There are more killings when Tom visits the mines and as a result the timing makes the prime suspect, especially in the eyes of his old friend Sherriff Axelwho married Tom’s high school sweetheart.
To convince Tom and the rest of the community that Harry Warden is not responsible for this new rash of murders, Sheriff Axel heads to the unmarked plot in the woods where vigilante justice buried the murderer. When they arrive they find the grave open and the mystery deepens. With nowhere else to turn, Axel takes Tom into the jail for questioning.
There’s not enough evidence to hold Tom and he decides to make his way back to the mine to do some investigation of his own. what he finds is the abandoned, boarded-up old cabin that Axel’s been having his affair in. There’s empty chocolate boxes there, ready for fresh hearts. Meanwhile, the murders continue, with Harry Warden showing up first at the home of one of the city founders, then at the grocery store where Sarah works and then finally at the sheriff’s home itself.
Sarah finds herself torn between Axel and Tom, but the inevitable truth is, one of them is responsible for these murders in the name of Harry Warden, and she’ll have to be the one to figure it out.
My Bloody Valentine 3D is the way remakes should be done. While it honors the themes and feel of the original, it does its own thing, playing in that movies sandbox. It brings back the villain brilliantly, the Harry Warden of this film is afar more active, faster-moving brute who kills in the bloodiest fashions possible. It does its best to keep you guessing who the actual murderer is, ramping up the tension until the only person that you can trust is the poor ingenue. Valentine is fun and even a little scary, the more I watch it The more I really enjoy it. If you’ve never watched this, I urge you to give it a chance, especially if you can score a 3D screening of it like I did at my local repertory theater during a Halloween marathon. Seeing it at least once in 3D will make you appreciate a great deal more, Even upon rewatches.