Valentine (2001)
By: Craig Villinger on March 11, 2002 | Comments
Village Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced. English DD 5.1. English subtitles. 94 Minutes
The Movie
Director: Jamie Blanks
Starring: Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw
Screenplay: Tom Savage, Donna Powers
Tagline: Remember that kid everyone ignored on Valentine's Day? - He remembers you.
Country: USA
It's Valentine's Day 1988 and young geek Jeremy Melton is about as unpopular as you can get, receiving one cruel rejection after another from the most popular girls at the school. Finally, just as it looks like our desperate friend is about to get a little snogging action with the school "fatty", a group of bullies intervene and Jeremy is humiliated in front of the entire school.

Jump to thirteen years later, and the nasty young girls who so cruelly rejected young Jeremy have now blossomed into incredibly attractive women. Despite their all round good looks, it seems as though none of these women is able to find romance, and with Valentine's day fast approaching, they set about getting their love lives in order. Before long, one of the group is brutally murdered, and the ladies start to receive strange Valentine's gifts bearing the initials J.M. Has the young man they treated so poorly all those years ago come back to seek revenge, or is the man in question already a part of their lives without them actually knowing it?

Director Jamie Blanks certainly has a great eye for visuals, and this film is fantastic too look at, with Blank's use of colour and lighting techniques proving to be particularly impressive. Underneath the slick exterior however lies something slightly less satisfying. All the ingredients for a good slasher movie are present here: An impossibly attractive cast, a suitable array of potential suspects, a wide variety of secondary characters to kill off when things start to get slow, red herrings aplenty, and most importantly, an impressive selection of lethal instruments such as power drills, kitchen knives and axes. All the pieces are put into place, but somehow it all went wrong. One thing that does set this film apart from others of it's ilk is the fact that since the killers motivation has already been established before the opening credits, we are spared the obligatory "I killed all those people because..." speech that usually takes place when the masked slashers identity is finally revealed. Blanks does his best with the material on offer, and at times this did look like it might rise above the level of many other recent "post scream" genre offerings, but unfortunately in the end, we are left with a fairly un-original and un-inspiring movie.

It should be said in the directors defence however that this film was heavily cut by the studio before it's release. Some of the killings are quite elaborate, but mostly appear to be very tame. A few moments of genuine "shock value" may have been just the ingredient to give this film a much needed boost.
The Disc
Valentine is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16x9 enhancement. The transfer looks fantastic, with rich, vibrant colours, superb shadow detail, and an image that is almost as sharp as the knives being wielded by the films masked slasher. There are numerous "dimly lit" scenes in the movie, and this is where many a poor transfer can really show it's faults, but they prove to be no problem here, with crystal clear images all the way through. Full marks!

The disc features a Dolby Digital soundtrack which, like the transfer, is extremely impressive. The film features all the usual horror movie sound effects, and the 5.1 channel mix uses them to great effect, creating a suitable atmosphere throughout. The slightly clichéd musical score sounded particularly impressive, and the heavy bass throughout some of the songs used in the film had my beer can vibrating on more than one occasion.

Director Jamie Blanks provides on interesting audio commentary, and although he does sound slightly uncomfortable at times, he manages to keep things entertaining, and offers up a great deal of information for those interested in the technical side of filmmaking without making it sound too "jargon heavy". Also included is the theatrical teaser trailer, a cast and crew filmography, a music video for the song "Opticon" by Orgy and a brief behind the scenes featurette.
The Verdict
The fantastic sound and picture quality can only do so much to improve what is essentially a fairly average horror outing. Slasher film enthusiasts may find some value from an overnight rental, but everyone else would be best served by staying away from this one. Hopefully there will be better projects on the horizon for this promising Aussie director.
Movie Score
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