When I eventually saw MBV a few years later on HBO, I really dug it. Sure, it wasn't quite as nerve-frying as its commercials had me expecting but it was a solid effort, comparing well to the other modern horror movies I'd seen up to that point. And as I've revisited it over the years, I've found it to have a much healthier shelf life than almost all of its slasher contemporaries.
What I continue to enjoy about MBV is that director George Mihalka and his cast made a real effort to bring a sense of realism to their film's blue collar community. The mining town of Valentine Bluff ("the little town with the big heart") is a convincingly dead-end piece of Nowhere and even the most attractive cast members here don't look too Hollywood (which would be strange if they did, seeing as this was a Canadian production - but you get my meaning).
Scripter John Beaird has been quoted as saying that MBV was striving to be the "Deer Hunter of horror films" in that, like Deer Hunter's steel worker protagonists, this was also about close-knit, working class characters. Most slasher films of the time featured protagonists on the cusp of promising futures - either high schoolers as in Halloween, Graduation Day, and Prom Night or college students as in House on Sorority Row, Hell Night, and The Dorm That Dripped Blood (even Terror Train centered around the final good times of a graduating college class) - but MBV was different. It was about kids (twentysomethings, actually - another break with the slasher norm) with no futures to look forward to. For these characters to live their adult lives in Valentine Bluff meant working in the local coal mine with no prospects of breaking the cycle of their parents (the one character who does try to get out - Paul Kelman's 'Jessie' - fails to make it on his own and has to return home shamefaced to work in the mines). And that focus on these working class heroes continues to mark MBV as being a different type of slasher movie.