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Click above to purchase "Valentine" at amazon.com

 

Valentine

review by Ren C.

Rated R

Studio: Warner

Running Time: 96 minutes

Starring David Boreanaz, Denise Richards

Written by Tom Savage, Donna Powers, Wayne Powers, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts

Directed by Jamie Blanks

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Audio Commentary, Featurette, Cast and Crew Filmographies, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Chapter Search

If you have ever in your life seen a horror movie, then you've seen "Valentine." This movie breaks no new ground, has nothing more than a tenuous plot, and is nothing more than a schlock slasherfest. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

The horror movie is one of those genres that seem almost like the mythical phoenix. It is on a perpetual cycle where every few years the genre will come back, get extremely popular, and then die another death culminating with cheap, derivative movies like this one. Just as the horror boom that began with movies like "Halloween" ended with movies like, well, "Halloween 6", so too this cycle which began with "Scream" ends with movies like "Valentine".

The plot of "Valentine", sketchy as it is, begins thirteen years in the past with a junior high dance, where a boy named Jeremy is taunted mercilessly by his classmates, including having punch dumped on him in a scene that is ridiculously reminiscent of "Carrie". We then jump to the present where, wonder of wonders, the girls that teased him start getting mysteriously killed off.

That is, in essence, the entire plot of the movie, with the rest of the movie devoted to the typical slasher clichés, including "the girl running up the stairs", lights going out, and everything else that we have become accustomed to in movies of this type. The movie wants to be ironic and clever, but instead only reaches levels of guilty pleasure. The actors seem to realize that they are in a grade-B horror movie, and mail in their performances. Denise Richards is especially guilty of this doing her "sexy bitch" routine that she can seemingly do at breakfast in the morning without batting an eyelash.

While it is unfortunate to see actors like Richards and David Boreanaz wasting their talents, the movie is a guilty pleasure and certainly not an unwatchable one. If the viewer approaches the movie with no expectations, and shuts off the brain beforehand, then the movie is actually tolerable. Horror movies are never intellectual, but "Valentine" doesn't even try to reach the level of one of director Blanks' previous works, "Urban Legend", which at least was clever in its execution. "Valentine" is not clever, merely run-of-the-mill.

 

As always, I expect more of recent theatrical releases, and "Valentine" delivers. This is a horror movie, so it is inherently filled with lots of reds and blacks, and they come across very well. The anamorphic transfer is deep and rich, and any artifacts did not distract me. Only a few small dots were seen on the transfer, which is certainly forgivable.

The audio mix was also impressive as any horror movie is going to have a lot of ambient sounds, and these were nicely distributed. Dialogue was also staggered to surround the viewer. Horror movies are also known for their usually intense music, and this was no exception, with the music being very powerful and very present. Also included is a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track, along with subtitles in your choice of English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

This isn't exactly a movie that leaves the viewer wanting more, so a special edition more likely than not would have been overkill. However, there are a few nice features provided here, the first of which is the audio commentary with director Jamie Blanks. Blanks, much to his credit, realizes that he has not made a cinematic masterpiece and proves that he knows what is going on in the opening minutes of the commentary. He agrees with my assessment that the opening scene has a lot of likeness to "Carrie" but says that the whole scene wouldn't have worked without it. He makes several more observations of this that almost give a subtle nod to the fact that he has the capability to make more than a movie like this.

A short behind-the-scenes featurette is next, with the standard cast and crew interviews and behind the scenes footage. Really nothing of interest here, but it is good for at least one viewing. Also included are the ever-present, ever-bland cast filmographies that list other movies that they have done, which, if you for some reason enjoyed this movie, you could check out.

Wrapping up the special features are the theatrical trailer and the "should have been the theatrical trailer". The trailer itself is absolutely horrible, leaving the viewer with nothing other than the fact that "Valentine" is a horror movie and that it is coming to theaters. The "should have been trailer" is the "club reel" set to Orgy's song "Opticon" from the soundtrack. This reel, checking in at just under three minutes, made me interested in the movie much more than the actual trailer did, by showing scenes from the movie and giving just enough away. Note that the band itself does not appear in the video as the reel was put together by Warner Brothers for some undisclosed reason.

I'm a little torn by this, as on one level I absolutely could not stand the movie, and realized that this was an hour and a half of my life that I would never get back. On the other hand, the part of me that loves horrible horror movies definitely found some material here. However, it takes itself a little too seriously to reach the level of camp. Overall, recommendation to avoid, unless you live to see anything within the horror genre.

(2/5 - NOT included in final score)

(4.5/5)

(4/5)

(2.5/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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