6.02.2008

Valentine (2001)

DIRECTED BY
Jamie Blanks


STARRING
Marley Shelton - Kate Davies
Denise Richards - Paige Prescott
David Boreanaz - Adam Carr
Jessica Capshaw - Dorothy Wheeler
Jessica Cauffiel - Lily
Katherine Heigl - Shelley Fisher
Fulvio Cecere - Detective Leo Vaughn
Daniel Cosgrove - Campbell

Year - 2001

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4


February 14th. Valentine's Day. The Day of Lovers. The day where everyone wears red like it's cute and gives their significant other chocolate, flowers, and STDs. The biggest commercial holiday of the year, Valentine's Day has captured the world by storm and gives couples an excuse to admit their feelings for each other. Awwww...

Someone get me a puke bucket.

Screw flowers! Screw candy! I wouldn't mind sex, however. Any takers?

Sorry, lost my train of thought.

Anyway, I want to see blood on my Valentine's Day. I want to see a film that takes everything that is supposedly "good" about V-Day and turn it into a night of horror. I want to see stupid slutty bitches get theirs for rejecting the school nerd all those years ago. And believe me, I know who you are! And sooner or later, I'm gonna send you my own personal Valentine's Day card and you're not gonna like it. You'll regret rejecting me! YOU GOT ME!?

Ahem...here's my review for VALENTINE.

PLOT
At a junior high school dance in 1988, nerdish Jeremy Melton is horribly rejected by a few pretty girls [except young Kate, who says, "Maybe later."] until he's finally accepted by Dorothy Wheeler. They make out underneath the bleachers until they're found by several of their peers. Dorothy cries rape [bitch] and Jeremy is beaten up for it and placed in an institution. Poor guy.

Anyway, 13 years pass and the girls are now slutty professional women who are looking forward to Valentine's Day. However, they soon each receive Valentine cards with creepy messages about their impending deaths, all of which are signed "J.M". Hmmm...I wonder what those initials represent? Anyway, they soon begin to drop like flies by a killer dressed like their junior high school cherub, leading the surviving girls to believe that Jeremy Melton is back for revenge. Has Jeremy done an extreme makeover on himself and has been already infiltrated the lives of these women? Is it David Boreanaz? Is it a copycat? Is it David Boreanaz? Hmmmm...

REVIEW
VALENTINE is one of the films that was filmed and released to capitalize on the neo-slasher craze that SCREAM started in 1996. While most of those films sucked more dick than Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Jenna Jameson, Tera Patrick, and Lance Bass combined, VALENTINE is actually one of the better ones. I'm not saying it's a great film, because it's far from it. But it's entertaining and has a lot of style that most horror films these days could really use.

I think the best part of VALENTINE is the direction by URBAN LEGEND director Jamie Blanks. He takes what really is a mediocre script and makes it better using a lot of visual style and offering up situations where you really get emotionally involved in the film. I think the best examples are pretty much all the stalk sequences between the "heroines" and the Cherub Killer. Blanks creates tension and suspense during these moments and you feel completely satisfied as a horror fan by the result. I think the sequence with the maze comprised of all those eerie video screens is awesome and the death of one of the characters at the end of the sequence is pretty effective. I also enjoy Denise Richards' scene in the hot tub. While not totally creative, it's shot extremely well and really keeps you watching to see what will happen. The pacing is very well-executed and the lighting, angles, and moody locations really benefit the film in the long run. Jamie Blanks is more than a capable horror director. If he can make this film watchable with a dumb script, then I can only imagine what he can do with a film with a great script.

I also liked the murder sequences, like I mentioned before. I think the premise of Valentine's Day is pretty sweet [no pun intended] for a horror film. You'd expect some kind of romantic subplot driving the film [which it kind of does but not really], but instead we get a killer dressed up like Cupid murdering people. It's much more effective that that coal miner killer from MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Why do I give a shit if Loretta Lynn's dad wants to off some idiots? Give me a killer Cupid anyday! And I must say, I admire his archery skills. Take those poison arrows, bitches! Seriously, every murder sequence was pretty nifty. They were brutal and pretty creative in theme of the holiday. There could have been more blood and guts, but I was satisfied with it. Killer Cupid doesn't play and I liked him/her!

I also liked Cupid's M.O. The cards were really an awesome touch and added to the creep factor of the film. The girls' reactions to these killer cards were priceless. Loved the mask and the use of arrows. Reminded me of those old school slashers where the killer always wore a mask as his calling card. And the killer had a "reason" to kill people. These girls were evil and they messed with his head! I would have gotten my revenge too. Not in such an extreme way, but it's justified in my opinion. You go, Cupid!

And I really enjoy the acting in this film. I think everyone does a good job in the role they're in, creating believable protrayals of stereotypical characters [if that's even possible]. Marley Shelton is cute and can act very well. She has that innocent, yet sexy, quality about her that I really like. Denise Richards plays herself again. Oh, I'm sorry. She plays the slutty friend. How did I get that confused? Anyway, she's cool and adds alot of the humor in the film. And she looks great in a bikini as well. Whoohoo! David Boreanaz does what he does with his role as the alcoholic boyfriend, who may or may not be Jeremy Melton [gee, I wonder...]. He's a good actor and has alot of subtle charisma. Weird seeing him in sunlight though. ANGEL spoiled me so. Steven Spielberg's step-daughter, Jessica Capshaw, is also very good as the former fat girl who hates rejection. I kind of felt sorry for her in a way but what she did to Jeremy makes her deserving of a bullseye on her former fat ass. And Katherine Heigl has big boobs. Thanks for showing up with your friends, girl!

VALENTINE is flawed however by its script and its protrayal of our "heroines". It starts out good with the flashback but when we witness these women as adults, why would we want them to survive? Except for Shelton's Kate, the rest of them are annoying and just plain bitchy. Especially Denise Richards' Paige character. Yeah, she was hot. But God, she deserved to be slapped around by someone. She put men down. She put women down. All she cared about was using her friends to pick up men. And she should survive because? Jessica Capshaw's character, Dorothy, was just naive and desperate as hell. She puts herself through a transparently horrible situation and blames Kate for it. WHAT!? Oh, she needed to go! And Jessica Cauffiel's Lily - ANNOYING! Glad she wasn't in the film much and died a sweet death really quickly. If that had happened to Tina in HALLOWEEN 5 and that Robot Girl in FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING, I would have liked those films more.

And the male characters are no better. Everyone but Boreanaz's Adam is a sleazeball pig that makes me embarrassed to be a man. All they care about is sex, sex, and more sex. Some of us actually think about more than just sex and actually have some depth. None of these male characters did. Well maybe the cross-dresser did, but he was too creepy to be sympathetic with. And the cop was a creep too, although he and Paige had a great funny scene in the police station. The screenwriter obviously hated men and enjoyed making women stereotypical shrews. Someone needs to see Dr. Phil and get counseling!

And while I love Killer Cupid, why did he kill the men anyway? They had nothing to do with what happened in the past. It made a perfectly clear motive into something that should have never been compromised and turned into something vague. Obviously it was done to fill up time with more murder scenes, but a good script would have just stuck with the plan: kill the bitches who did the killer wrong as a kid. Why complicate things?

And the ending was no better. Not only do we get one twist, but we get TWO! And believe me, the killer is so obvious in this film, but to throw someone else into it makes the whole film implausible to say the least. I kept saying to myself, how is this person as the supposed killer even believable? It doesn't make sense and the remaining survivors should have realized it. I mean, I have my theories on how the real killer did what he/she did, but I still can't wrap around how he/she had the time to do it. Just ruins what could have been a good ending to a mediocre film.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE WIPING AWAY THE BLOOD THAT RUNS OUT OF MY NOSE

1. Katherine Heigl has big breasts. Screw Grey. I want to see HER anatomy!

2. Threatening Valentine's Day cards scare the female characters. I don't know...I think they'd make a killing at every Hallmark Store.

3. If you're being hunted down by a killer, hide in a body bag. Not because it's a great place to hide. It's just a nice gesture to give the paramedics less work to do when they find your corpse inside.

4. Dads care about their younger wives than their own daughters. If you're from the South, you probably don't really have this problem.

5. Lily got struck by 3 arrows. Boy, she must have been quite the Gemini!

6. The police detective has a thing for Paige. I guess with his snout, he could smell a slut a mile away. Wear some panties and close those legs, girl!

7. Gary, Kate's neighbor, was killed while trying on her underwear. Apparently, the killer Cupid felt Gary had a few issues to iron out.

8. Campbell didn't last long sexually with Dorothy. I guess he's not, "Mmm...Mmm...Good!"

9. Denise Richards got killed inside a hot tub when Killer Cupid threw a power drill into the tub. If this film didn't come out in 2001, I would have sworn Cupid was really Charlie Sheen.

10. Kicking Adam in the nuts, smashing a bottle over his head, or shooting him isn't gonna get rid of him. Now if you use a wooden stake, a crucifix, holy water, garlic, and sunlight - then you're good!

THE FINAL HOWL
VALENTINE is a watchable modern slasher film that could have been a whole lot better if the screenwriter knew how to write a decent script with characters people can care about. When you want 90 percent of the characters to bite it, you have a problem. Plus the ending is lame and ruins what the film was building up to. But other than that, everything else is fine. VALENTINE is just your run-of-the-mill mediocre slasher that's worth a look every February 14th if you want to get away from the sappy romantic comedies. Shoot that arrow at your sweetheart and tell them how much you love them to death while watching this movie.

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