After a fortnight of emotional, stirring pictures at the Brisbane International Film Festival, it seemed only fitting to return to the warm, blood-stained blanket of a dumb ‘80s slasher movie.
My Bloody Valentine’s strongest elements aren’t particularly dumb. The setting of an industrial coal-mining town provides a welcome reprieve from the pretty, wealthy teenagers that inhabit every other slasher of the era (now the pretty teenagers are working class). Many slashers have a (likely unintentionally) streak of environmentalism; outsiders venture into the woods only to find the woods have a brutal protector. Setting a horror film in a community taking its livelihood by stripping the earth of its resources, a community where a black-clad miner takes revenge, gives an interesting twist on that subtext.
The setting elevates My Bloody Valentine, but it doesn’t make it successful. It’s primarily an uninspired Friday the 13th clone, with its attempts to jazz up the formula with a high body count and inventive kills looking quaint from a modern perspective (outside of a properly gory kill involving a tumble drier). The cast of characters is simple too large to develop any sympathy for the conga line of victims, meaning the inevitable twist falls flat.