Valentine Review – Spoilers – Special

This comes from a friend of Fanforum – Mark. Enjoy and there are spoilers so be forewarned.

Friday Feb 2nd, 2001
A Review by Mark McLeod
Screening Date : Friday, Feb 2nd 2001
This review contains spoilers regarding the first death in Valentine.

In 1998 I was introduced to a then unknown director by the name of Jamie Blanks. The film was Urban Legends, a fresh approach to the once again tired horror genre. After 1996’s Scream revived the genre, many copy-cat films followed none of which ever came close to matching the sheer genius of the original Scream. Flash forward to the fall of 1998, Columbia Tristar scores a moderate size hit with a film that puts a interesting spin on the tired slasher genre. In Urban Legends, director Blanks moved away from the traditional way of killing instead having the killer follow urban legends. The year 2000 saw a sequel to that film which disregarded everything that was original and great about the first one and slipped into senseless predictable teen slasher fare. Since 1998, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the follow-up film from Blanks and it has been a long wait however where Urban Legends was clever, original and unpredictable his follow-up Valentine is unoriginal, uninspired, and features some of the worst acting I’ve seen of late.

Valentine’s premise is very simple. It opens in a high school gym where a Valentine’s day dance is occurring, the audience is shown a little boy (the class nerd) asking out a string of girls. He continually get’s rejected and finally on the last girl he asks (a slightly plump girl named Dorothy) she says yes and they start making out under the bleachers. After a few minutes some of the other people at the dance notice them and ask Dorothy if she allowed this to happen, folding under peer pressure she says that he attacked her and she hadn’t given permission. Flash forward 13 years, we suddenly are sitting in on a date that is not going so well. Shelly (Katherine Heigl) is having dinner with Jason who keeps referring to himself in the 3rd person as “Jason”. She decides that she has had enough of this and leaves to go study for her med school exam. It’s late and she’s in a creepy dark building with her corpse as she works on her medical techniques. All of a sudden we hear the creepy music and sounds suggesting she’s not alone. She goes to look around and runs into another med student who was just on his way out. After he leaves she sees a red envelope with her name on it. She opens it up and reads the card, it appears to be a Valentine although a rather morbid one. Before you know it the she is being chased by a guy who looks and acts like Michael Myers (from Halloween) with a white Cupid’s mask. Needless to say it’s not long until she is dead and we see her friends at her funeral. At the funeral the audience learns that these are the same girls from the dance and that nothing much has changed. There is still the trampy one Paige (Denise Richards), the kind one Kate (Marley Shelton also in Sugar and Spice), the airhead (Jessica Cauffiel) and the plump one Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw). It is here we are also introduced to Kate’s boyfriend Adam a guy with a drinking problem played by David Boreanaz of TV’s Angel. After the funeral the girls all start to receive creepy valentine’s and the hints start flying.

Valentine is a film with numerous problems, the writing is severely lacking and is almost insulting to anyone who has seen any other teen slasher flick. Where Scream was witty and clever with pop culture references this movie is dull, drab and features some of the most uninspired dialogue ever uttered in a slasher film. One of the biggest faults of the writing is the sheer obviousness of the killers identity. To try and throw the viewer off their game there are quite a few characters who’s sole purpose for being in the film is to create suspicion that maybe just maybe the person we all think the killer is not really the killer. These red herrings never fool anyone in the movie or out of the movie for longer then 5 seconds yet they continue to pop and reoccur throughout trying to show that they are not just glorified extras.

While the writing is bad, it’s not the biggest problem. The acting or lack of acting in Valentine is as bad as it can get in a teen slasher movie. First of all, I never expected that I could see a more cardboard like performance in my life after seeing Denise Richards in The World Is Not Enough. Well she has out done herself here as Paige. The rest of the performances are just as bad with one exception. Marley Shelton who can also been seen in the black comedy Sugar and Spice gives us the standout performance of the film as Kate, the nice girl who let down young Jeremy gently unlike all her mean and cynical friends. While this performance is not as good as her recent turn as a pregnant bank robbing teen in Sugar and Spice, she is light years above the likes of Denise Richards and David Boreanaz in this movie.

I went into Valentine expecting a better picture and was let down allot, The marketing had me thinking that this film could once again cause a resurgence in the ailing teen slasher genre. I didn’t get what I was expecting and I didn’t like what I got. Valentine is an R rated miss from Village Roadshow and Warner Brothers with a running time of 95 mines.

Mark McLeod