Directed by Jamie Blanks [Other horror films: Urban Legend (1998), Storm Warning (2007), Long Weekend (2008)]
Life sometimes strips away the finer things, and leaves but a burnt out husk in it’s wake.
That’s how I see Valentine.
There was a time in my life when I really enjoyed this movie, and would place it alongside Urban Legend, Cherry Falls, and I Know What You Did Last Summer as great post-Scream slashers. My recent visitation with Urban Legend has already removed it from that list, though, and unfortunately, the same has happened with this one, which is a damn disappointment.
Valentine is a movie I really wanted to end up enjoying as much as I used to, but I just couldn’t. It certainly had it’s strong elements, such as the design of the killer (and not just the mask – the overall dark clothing was, as the kids say, off the chain-hook), the small comedic scenes (such as the speed-dating or the argument between Benita Ha and Jessica Capshaw), and the solid opening (Katherine Heigl being stalked by the killer). Hell, most of the kills are actually pretty decent (my favorite perhaps being the bow-and-arrow murder).
Even with all of these positive portions, I found the whole of the film somewhat, for lack of a better word, shallow, and definitely, by the end, somewhat under-cooked.
Most of the acting is fine. I don’t think anyone is particularly great, mind, but most of the main performances (such as Marley Shelton, Jessica Cauffiel, David Boreanaz, Daniel Cosgrove, what-have-you) are competent enough to not cause any issues. If there was one moderately iffy performance, I’d have to point at Boreanaz, but it may be more because I disliked his character than the actual ability behind his acting.
It’s largely the conclusion to this one that really lets me down. Some of my issues are small things (for instance, I do not believe for a second that, at a party of something like a hundred people, only one person would be in the hot-tub, and no one would be in the game room), but the reveal of the killer’s identity also strikes me as weak. It didn’t help that I was reminded in part of Alone in the Dark, which is a much better movie than this one in most ways.
I’m not saying that Valentine can’t be a good watch, and to a certain extent, I enjoyed a decent amount of the film. The ending just doesn’t really do the rest of the film justice, which is a shame because I think Valentine had a lot going for it.
Oh, and one more point which I thought was somewhat amusing. I mentioned earlier that I recently rewatched Urban Legend, and found it lacking. It’s a better movie than this one is, to be sure, but it still felt just as tame and held back as Valentine feels, at least to me.
As it turns out, and I honestly didn’t know this until after finishing Valentine this time around, this film and Urban Legend share the same director, being Jamie Blanks. Given that piece of information, it makes sense that this rewatch went about as poorly as Urban Legend, which, again, is a shame.
No doubt there are worse movies out there, and I also don’t doubt that I’ll see this one in the future, and perhaps I’ll even see Valentine in a moderately kinder light with my next viewing. Right now, though, I think it’s below average, but not disastrously so.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. It’s a quality podcast, if only because I’m there. As such, if you listen to the video below, you can hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Valentine.