Bloodthirsty fans of the classic slashers of yesteryear should be sated by MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009), a gory trip that’s not just a remake but a retro-amalgam of the greatest hits from the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. The HALLOWEEN-influenced, eerily Canadian 1981 original holds a modest place in many horror hearts despite its notoriously trimmed violence. But even those who haven’t seen it will get the feeling that this VALENTINE sports an amplified blood-and-guts factor, one that brings with it the distinctly outlandish brutality and hulking-masked-killer archetype of a FRIDAY THE 13th installment combined with the polished chase scenes of post-SCREAM teen horror.
As if this gore-ucopia didn’t have enough spices already, its premise and structure are also indebted to such cheeky mystery-slashers as HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME and APRIL FOOL’S DAY. A decade after traumatized miner Harry Warden goes on a pickaxe massacre, guilt-stricken Tom (Jensen Ackles) returns to his quaint hometown only to find that a string of similar murders has started up. With Warden believed to be long dead, Sheriff Axel casts suspicion on Tom. It seems his old flame, Sarah, is the only one who truly believes he’s innocent. The movie’s horror-expert filmmakers imbue VALENTINE with the reliably enjoyable entertainment-trumps-logic of slasher films, especially in the way everyone in town--including the police--seems way more interested in proving or disproving Harry Warden’s involvement than actually stopping the in-progress murder spree. Similarly, beloved genre vet Tom Atkins (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) is on hand to deliver a coolly understated retired-cop performance. But peppered in are some nifty subliminal visual flourishes and at least one off-the-wall sequence (think little people, fully naked, fleeing; and a box-spring-as-cage). The 3-D version is uncommonly well-integrated, subjecting viewers not only to hair-raising projectiles, but to an effective immersion into the mise-en-scène.