Into the Mines: My Bloody Valentine and a Twist for a Twist’s Sake
Is My Bloody Valentine a Halloween movie or a Valentine’s Day movie? A bit of both, if you like a non-traditional approach to Valentine’s Day. It’s a great cross-holiday film that’s a bit on the cheesy side, but just high-budget enough to be thoroughly enjoyable. The film follows the residents of the town of Valentine Bluffs as they prepare for their first Valentine’s Day dance in twenty years.
The Legend of Valentine Bluffs
The legend goes, on Valentine’s Day 1960, a group of miners got trapped in a cave-in while their supervisors went to the Valentine’s dance. Harry Warden was the only survivor. During the next Valentine’s Day, he killed his supervisors, left their hearts in Valentine’s candy boxes, and warned the town never to have a Valentine’s Day dance again. Fast forward twenty years: the town is having another dance.
My Bloody Valentine has a great cast of characters, and their personalities shine through from the very beginning. Like any good large group of characters, each person is distinct, and you get the feeling they’d be varied and multi-faceted people if we had the time to get to know them. Viewers get attached to the characters and they feel something visceral when they die.
So, a few people get murdered in town, and the sheriff and the mayor cancel the Valentine’s Day dance, thinking this will stop Harry Warden. No dance, and no parties. Except the gang throws a party in the mine anyway. Naturally, the murderer kills two people during the party.
What We Learn From My Bloody Valentine
What My Bloody Valentine teaches us is 1.) Workplace responsibility: don’t go to a Valentine’s dance if you still have men coming up from the mines. And 2.) It’s important to have a plausible explanation for your twist ending, and not just a twist for the sake of a twist.
I have a big problem with the ending of this movie that’s not really a problem in hindsight: it made me question everything I’d seen. Spoilers for a nearly forty-year-old movie, but it turns out the current murderer wasn’t Harry Warden but Axel, one of the group of miners. One of the gang, a friend and a main character.
I’m questioning everything because either this twist was thrown in for the sake of a twist, or Axel the character was a great actor. Never in a million years did I suspect him. And now I’m thinking back to the Valentine’s party and piecing together the timeline. Was Axel around when the murders happened? Was he visible on screen? When did he have time to change into a miner’s uniform and kill those two people? The murders in the mine didn’t start until Axel went down there with TJ to rescue the other characters. I can’t tell if the twist works or if it doesn’t.
The explanation for Axel being the murderer this time around is that on Valentine’s Day 1961, Harry Warden killed Axel’s father, one of the supervisors on duty. The thing about this is, there’s no real indication that Axel is going kind of crazy, crazy enough to murder his friends. That’s where the twist doesn’t really work for me; either he’s so stone-cold that he doesn’t give anything away, or the writing is convoluted.
Be My Bloody Valentine
Overall, I really liked this movie; I’m into anything that involves a goofy gang of characters from a small town where everybody knows everybody. Plus, I like Valentine’s Day aesthetics. So this movie worked for me, for the most part. If you’re like me and you like any of the above elements, My Bloody Valentine is great. Just disregard the weird, abrupt twist ending and you’ll be fine.
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