Director: Jamie Blanks | 96 minutes | horror, thriller | Actors: Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Jessica Cauffiel, Katherine Heigl, Hedy Burress, Fulvio Cecere, Daniel Cosgrove, Johnny Whitworth, Woody Jeffreys, Adam Harrington, Claude Duhamel, Wyatt Page, Benita Ha, Paul Magel, Haig Sutherland, Adrian Holmes, Ty Olsson, Daniel Boileau, Karina Carreck, Joel Palmer, Sarah Mjanes, Chelsea Florko, Chelcie Burgart, Brittany Mayers, Kate Logie, Sterling McKay
The slasher genre got a revival in the 1990s. Dozens of teens met their end in the most inventive and gruesome of ways. They would have made it, because if they had watched ‘Scream’, they would have known what not to do when you are in a horror movie. ‘Valentine’ was one of the last films in the genre to be released in the boom teen lashers. Thanks to ‘Scream’, which was actually a parody of the slasher films, a new market was tapped, which involved millions. Whether the disappointing box-office of ‘Valentine’ directly contributed to the realization that the ideas for films in the genre had almost died out is of course not certain, but filmmakers apparently understood that it was time for some fresh blood. because after this, a striking number of remakes of horror films were released (you can also take that fresh one with a grain of salt). ‘Valentine’ is no exception to the clichés of adhering teen horror films. It is a simple straightforward story, in which the makers regularly try to mislead the viewer. Anyone with a little bit of film experience will soon know who the culprit is and that takes away a lot of the tension.
However, there is still enough to be scary, director Jamie Blanks (previously responsible for the slasher ‘Urban Legends’) effectively uses resources such as suddenly appearing persons on the screen (which of course turns out to be a false alarm), exciting music and some bloody scenes. Most effective is the scene in the video maze, where people shot in close-up are projected on dozens of TVs. The acting is nothing to write home about, in which Jessica Capshaw (daughter of Kate Capshaw and stepdaughter of Steven Spielberg) stands out, albeit in a negative sense. It seems as if she – like the murderer – wears a mask, because her facial muscles hardly move. The rest of the cast dutifully recites their lines and shows correct facial expressions,
Still, ‘Valentine’ is okay for people who just want to see an easy horror movie. The film never gets really gross and is therefore also suitable for a wider audience. The gorgeous ladies (and a few gentlemen) who walk around in the production are also worth seeing. The film is also well produced, the sets are fantastic (like the aforementioned video maze) and there are still some humorous scenes (the speed dating scene for example and the ‘wax it’ scene, in which Denise Richard’s character is asked by a date with the creepiest smile ever, after he has undressed, to ‘wax’ ‘it.’ Guess what she’s pouring over him … Although there are some plot holes in the movie, and the ages of the actors differ too conspicuously – all playing characters in their early twenties – ‘Valentine’ is a nice snack that doesn’t pretend to be more than that. Compare it to a box of chocolates that you will finish before you know it, from a sender you like but who doesn’t make your heart beat faster.