My Bloody Valentine?
My Bloody Headache is more like it. I don’t know if it was those damned 3D glasses, the ear-pounding volume of the sound in the theater, or the near-total absence of a storyline, but something took the slight sinus ache with which I entered the theater and turned it into a full-fledged temple throbber by movie’s end.
The movie opens with some quick history. In a small town, young Tom (Jensen Ackles from Supernatural
) caused a mine accident which left the only survivor insane. That survivor went on a pick-axe killing spree. The mine tunnel is closed forever. (Yeah. Right.)
Ten years later, Tom, looking like time stood still, returns but the town folk don't like him. They like him even less when the pick-axe killer returns to inflict more pick-axe damage.
As the murders mount, the film morphs into an oddball whodunit searching for a story, but ultimately not finding one. Through the film, the crazed miner appears at all the wrong moments to investigate new places to put a pick-axe.
I guess when your killer is a crazed miner, the pick-axe is a natural weapon of choice. Fans of the pick-axe will recognize some classic kills. There’s the classic pick-axe to the top of the head. It’s been done, but how can you not love it? Then there’s the pick-axe to the gut. The pick-axe to the face. To the side of the head. To the chest.
There's even a decent shovel kill.
The killer works reasonably well, capitalizing on anonymity for the sake of horror: the blank, expressionless face ready for the viewer to project onto it any number of terrors of his own imagining. But it’s been done, and done better. Think of Michael Myers in Halloween. Maybe that’s because a pale William Shatner mask is inherently capable of evoking much more fear that a silly gas mask and a head lamp.
And yet, the props work. That’s just too bad, because so much of this movie doesn’t. The kills are timed badly. The director spends little time building any suspense, and instead inserts a random kill as easily as a pick-axe cuts into a human skull. In order to set up a successful kill, a director needs to get his audience invested in it. In the case of My Bloody Valentine, the audience has little time to react, because there’s no build-up and no lead-in.
Then there are all the horror formula cliches. Foremost of these in My Bloody Valentine the cardinal rule, the Golden Rule of post-1978 horror movies: Never, ever, under any circumstances have sex when there's a serial killer on the loose. Honestly, that’s Slasher 101. Didn’t the director ever see Scream?
Speaking of Scream, post-modern horror films also tend to poke fun at themselves, usually with much success. My Bloody Valentine, however, is completely humorless. Well, at least there’s no intentional humor.
My Bloody Valentine serves up lengthy eviscerations in excruciating detail that give Technicolor its reason for being.
How many horrifying heart-shaped box deliveries do we need to go through before we vow never to eat Valentine’s candy ever again?>
What hurts the movie most, however, is the striking lack of plot. I can summarize the movie in a few words: accident, murders, party, murders, ten years later, murders, whodunit. As much as I like to see good kills, you can’t make a movie out of them. It’s like trying to make a pizza with pepperoni, cheese and sauce, but without any dough.