Directed By: Jamie Blanks
Written By: Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, Donna Powers, Wayne Powers
Happy Valentine’s Day! I am certain that horror sites far and wide will be covering My Bloody Valentine today, especially with the new blu-ray release from Scream Factory. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something different and revisit the 2001 slasher film Valentine. I’ve thought about rewatching this movie over the years anyway, just to see if it is as bad as I remembered it being. The one and only time I saw Valentine was in a hotel room in Chicago. I wasn’t feeling well and it was available to rent in the room. Maybe watching it when I wasn’t sick would make the experience better.
The first thing that I noticed about Valentine was the cast. There are a lot of talented people on-screen. Denise Richards, David Boreanaz and Katherine Heigl grab your attention immediately. Richards is great in her role, clearly doing the best work of anyone. I don’t want to short change Katherine Heigl either though, she is really good, she just isn’t around for very long. The rest of the performances are varying degrees of hit and miss. In fact, at first I had trouble determining if I was watching poor acting or bad writing. After a little bit, I determined that it was a frustrating combination of both. You would hit a good stretch where everything seemed to be working and then out of nowhere a horrible line of dialogue would derail it.
Another thing that kept pulling me out of the movie was the stupid mask that the killer was wearing. It just doesn’t look right. It’s not really scary, it’s just kind of dumb. It’s supposed to be a cherub, I guess, but it comes off as more of an old woman. When I was watching it my kid came into the room and he said “Why is their brain sticking out?” and I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about at first. Then I realized that it was the terrible “hair” on the top of the mask. He thought it was supposed to be the person’s brain. It’s just weird and looks dumb. The killer moves in an odd way too. Again, not in an odd way that is scary but in an odd way that is just weird looking. It’s not a good sign for your slasher movie when I don’t know what the killer’s mask is supposed to be, it looks dumb instead of scary and he moves like he has a bad hip or something.
On a positive note for Valentine, the kills are pretty damn cool. The entire scene leading up the first kill is extremely well done. It sets the bar incredibly high for the rest of the film. In terms of just the kill scenes, the movie mostly lives up to it. There isn’t a boring death in the entire film. That goes a long way towards making this a fun watch.
There is no new ground being broken by this movie. In fairness, I don’t think that anyone was trying to break any new ground, quite the opposite. Valentine is one of, if not the last, slasher film trying to grab onto those late 90’s coattails of Scream. It follows the formula laid out in the Scream films nearly perfectly. It even manages to work in a lame homage to Carrie at some point and rehash the old slasher trope of the bullied kid returning for revenge. It also isn’t the worst of the Scream impostors. Which is the most frustrating thing about Valentine, it’s so close to being good but it just never quite gets over the hump. It’s better than I remember it being from that sick night in a Chicago hotel room but it still isn’t good.
WOULD I SURVIVE?: Hard to tell if I would survive this one. The killer looks stupid and moves like an old man dealing with a war injury on a rainy day but he’s also pretty clever. It seems unlikely that I would be able to get away.