Valentine (2001)
By: Dr. Obrero  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Warner Home Video (UK). Region 2, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English, Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian, Subtitles. 96 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jamie Blanks
Starring: Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Jessica Caufield
Screenplay: Tom Savage, Donna Powers
Tagline: Remember that kid everyone ignored on Valentine's Day? - He remembers you.
Country: USA
Thirteen years after humiliating a high school geek at a dance, a quintet of well-to-do female friends begin receiving dire threats in the shame of sick and twisted rhymes penned inside ominous, anonymous Valentine's cards. When two of them meet sudden, violent ends at the hands of a killer dressed in a cherub mask, it becomes apparent that someone vengeful is stalking them, and plans to teach them a lesson in love. Given the prediction 'Roses are red, violets are blue, they'll need dental records to identify you' and the heroines decision to throw a lavish Valentine's Day party to distract them from the killer, it looks like a long evening for the man in the white coat...

Australian director Jamie Blanks' previous effort, the unbearably dismal 1998 Urban Legend doesn't suggest pitching viewer expectation anything above utter rubbish, but Valentine, whilst hardly the zenith of the post-Scream stalk 'n' slash 'n' dash boom, is rather better than expected, and overall surprisingly entertaining. Not good by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely better than expected. As the postage-stamp plot stumbles along towards the inevitable climactic confrontation between hunter and hunted, reeking with the stench of a dozen red herrings and lacking even a dash of originality amongst the po-faced, mechanically staged mayhem, it's impossible to take seriously and as such turns into an entertaining chuckle-fest. Blanks chucks in multitudinous, thunderously unsubtle homage's, and leaden references to genre luminaries such as Carpenter and Argento, and classics or the infamous numbering amongst their number; Psycho and Driller Killer amongst many others, but he hasn't Carpenter's skill at generating suspense, Argento's vision or virtuosity or anything given him by the four writers (including two writer-producers) to distinguish Valentine from the chaff. That said, Valentine is a hoot, boasts decent production values, clips along agreeably--much aided by an attractive, easy-on-the-eye cast including Roswell star Katherine Heigl, Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw and Jessica Caufield and demonstrates an apparent affection for the genre, giving it the makings of an above average popcorn flick. TV's Angel star, David Boreanaz turns up as Shelton's irritating boyfriend.
Valentine is presented in anamorphic widescreen at the correct ratio of 2.35:1. Warner has produced a breathtaking transfer. Image detail is clear and sharp with bold, stable, vibrant colours, especially the gorgeous reds. Blacks are solid and saturation spot on, the print is flawless with no artifacting or edge enhancement. Valentine was shot using the Super 35 process, so occasional grain is apparent, but overall this is a sumptuous transfer.
Valentine is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, and nicely done--this is a very good mix. Fidelity and dynamic range are considerable and surround use is aggressive. The mix employs all five channels excellently, sidewall imaging is decent, dialogue is clear and distinct throughout and well balanced between music, effects and discourse; unlike some horror DVDs (check out the 1999 House on Haunted Hill for an example of the worst). Low end is nicely utilized, though overtly obvious at times.
Extra Features
Warner Bros.' DVD includes supplemental materials that are relatively worthwhile, if a tad underwhelming. Blanks' screen-specific audio commentary is very informative containing a degree of honest opinion on what did and did not work, self-imposed cuts to violence and detail surrounding the shooting of the movie on a tight schedule. Other, less impressive supplements include a lame video for Orgy's contribution to the noisy soundtrack--the song Opticon and a good theatrical trailer for the movie. We also get Valentine - Behind the Scenes, a typical piece of promotional fluff running a whopping eight minutes. Finally, there's a somewhat redundant cast and crew list - this information can also be obtained by looking at the back of the case.
The Verdict
This is not one of the better horror movies of this, or any year. I did enjoy it for reasons I find hard to fathom, but by no stretch of the imagination is it any good and I simply don't have the heart to actually recommend it. You're on your own folks.
Movie Score
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