The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.

My Bloody Valentine 1981Title: My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Director: George Mihalka
Runtime: 90 minutes

I can’t say that the acting here is top notch. The younger actors actually do a lot better with this than the older people playing the preyed upon townsfolk. Most of the older actors actually overact when they really don’t need to. Probably the highlight for me is the old guy who runs the bar, who is so obviously channeling that old, crazy guy in the first Friday the 13th film that it’s not even funny. Well, it’s a little funny. There’s nothing to really wow anyone, but you’re not really watching this for the acting anyway.

Story & Script
When a group of teens defies an order not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a murderous maniac begins dispatching townsfolk in bloody and creative ways. The older people who live in town think it’s the man who ate several people in a mine accident years before, and he’s back to make sure no one has a good Valentine’s Day. The younger crowd that works in the mine thinks that’s all crap, so they have a party, and what better place than the mine?! This really feels like a film meant to capitalize on what worked with Friday the 13th, and not only takes a lot of cues from that, but also from Halloween just from the way things move along. It’s basic, but it works.

George Mihalka is not a name I recognize at all, and looking over his film catalog I can see why. What he puts together is a pretty decent affair. The stalking, and even the kills are really well done, and you’re on edge when you’re pretty sure the killer is around. They get inventive with a number of shots, especially the kills and post-kills that work so well for the film. While this takes some obvious lifts from films before it, including a sequence at the beginning, after the initial scare to setup the film, where it feels lifted from Dukes of Hazard or Smokey and the Bandit, which this film is definitely not.

In all the ways that the remake failed to work for me as a good film, this one actually succeeds. While it definitely feels like it’s jumping on the success of Friday the 13th and Halloween, it’s still its own film, and that’s what makes a lot of it work. The kills are actually inventive, and they do a lot to make our killer seem menacing. While there are some scenes that definitely date this film firmly in the era of Dukes of Hazard on TV, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and gives it a quirky charm to go along with the slasher aspects.

I’d watch this one over the remake, and I love me some Jensen Ackles. The acting isn’t great, but it has that early ’80s/late ’70s slasher charm that I love, which makes it really easy to just sit back and enjoy.

The Verdict
My Bloody Valentine is one of those films I passed over as a kid on the rack because it looked like a rip off film of two slashers I actually love, but it’s not quite either of them. While it’s showing its age quite a bit, it’s still a fun slasher and has some great moments I’d enjoy over again. Definitely one I’d recommend if you like that genre of horror.