Plot: At a school dance to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a social outcast tries to find a dance partner, but is turned down by girl after girl. He finally gets a positive response and even some kisses, but when the young couple is discovered, his partner claims he tried to rape her. This makes him even more of an outcast, as he is kicked out of school and never heard from again. At least not for a while, as after years have passed, some suspect the outcast has returned. One of the girls who rejected him is sent a special valentine’s card and is then attacked by a masked assailant, left to die in a pool of her own blood. But she wasn’t the only one to get one of the dark cards, as all of the girls from the dance have received ominous valentine’s day messages. Some clues make the friends think that the outcast is back for revenge, but is this payback from the old days or is there another horrific plan in motion?
Entertainment Value: This is a passable horror flick, but aside from some creative death scenes, Valentine does little to stand out from the pack. That isn’t to say the movie is bad, there’s just not enough to put it above the tidal wave of similar horror movies from this time period. The narrative is a typical stalk and kill kind of horror story, with some very light giallo vibes at times. I wish that angle had been more of the focus, as that would have been a fresh approach, but instead Valentine reverts to more predictable, straight forward horror tropes. I appreciate the efforts at red herrings, but even with the twists mixed in, there’s not much of a mystery in this one. Even so, there’s some fun drama and dysfunction involved, so it is a good time to watch these unlikable characters mowed down, which is a plus. The rather mundane narrative is helped by a game cast of the rising talent of the time, with Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, David Boreanaz, Katherine Heigl, and more on deck. The performances are by no means high art, but the cast dials up the drama and that’s welcome, while the finale has some fun, over the top moments to appreciate. Valentine is no genre classic, but it is a passable watch, so it earns a middling recommendation.
No nakedness. An art installation has some brief topless images, but that’s a shortcut we can’t award points to, despite approving of the virtual flesh involved. This seems like one that would offer up some naked times, but no such luck. The kills here are mostly by the numbers type horror scenes, but there’s not much bloodshed and a good deal of the violence happens off screen. But we do have the fun death by arrows sequence, which is one of the movie’s highlight and shows a creative spark, since it is an ideal choice for the subject matter involved. The film also serves up knife wounds, an ax attack, a shocking rub-a-dub session, and some gun violence, but again, little crimson is spilled ad the camera shies from the carnage. The dialogue has some bright spots, with mean girl talk, lame jokes, and some precious ham handed ranting in the finale, but not enough to tune up the dial much. The overall craziness barely registers, as the movie is content to stick with the basics and never push outside that comfort zone.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
The Disc: Valentine sports a new 2k scan thanks to Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, giving fans a much needed upgrade. The print is super clean and depth shines here, with much more fine detail visible and a significant uptick in overall sharpness, which really powers this new visual treatment. The film’s rich colors come across well also, with the reds given extra vivid presence, while contrast is dead on, allowing those colors to pop, as they should. In short, a welcome improvement over previous editions in all possible ways. As for extras, we start off with a new audio commentary track with director Jamie Blanks, who is joined by filmmaker Don Coscarelli, while Blanks’ original solo session is also included here. A host of new interviews are also provided, with stars Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, and Jessica Cauffiel, as well as the film’s editor, writers, and composer. These are mostly substantial interviews, with some candid insights and combined, run over two hours in duration. You can also watch a feature length behind the scenes compilation, promotional interviews, deleted scenes, tv spots, still photos, a music video, and two of the film’s trailers.
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