My Bloody Valentine

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“My Bloody Valentine” is smarter than you’d think, which maybe isn’t saying much, considering you probably think it’s just a slasher film about a maniac who goes around slaughtering people. Which, OK, it is. But it’s also a whodunit and a psychological mystery, with a romantic triangle thrown in for good measure, and it’s occasionally suspenseful. Oh, and it’s in 3D, which is the film’s way of saying, “Don’t take any of this too seriously, folks.”

Borrowing almost nothing but the title from the 1981 film of this name, “My Bloody Valentine” is set in the small coal-mining town of Harmony, where 11 years ago there was a cave-in, and 10 years ago the sole survivor of it went on a killing spree. His name was Harry Warden, and despite being dead, he’s the lead suspect when a masked figure starts pickaxing townsfolk again.

Coincidental with Harry Warden’s presumed return is the return of Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles), whose father owned the mine until he died. Tom has come back to sell it, angering Harmonians who fear this will doom the local economy. He has also come back to check in with Sarah (Jaime King), who was his girlfriend many years ago but is now married to his rival, Axel (Kerr Smith), the youthful town sheriff. If you’re paying attention, you’ll note that Sarah is caught between two “Dawson’s Creek” alumni. I think we’ve all been there!

The director, Patrick Lussier (“Dracula 2000”), a frequent editor of horror films and a regular Wes Craven collaborator, makes full use of the cheesy tricks available to 3D. Axes are swung at the audience, nude women jiggle into the front rows of the theater, and blood goes everywhere. All of this is unnecessary, of course, but it improves the experience immensely. Likewise, the screenplay, by Todd Farmer (“Jason X”) and Zane Smith, while riddled with many of the usual cliches, also manages a few surprises — and in a genre as worn-out as this one, a few surprises are all it takes to make a film stand out.

B- (1 hr., 41 min.; R, abundant harsh profanity, a lot of nudity and some strong sexuality, abundant bloody violence.)

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