Valentine (2001)


Valentines day can be a rough one for anyone. Mustering up the courage to talk to that special someone can be nerve wracking as hell-especially when you know you haven’t a snowballs chance in hell. Conversely, turning down a suitor can be a pain enough. But for five beautiful young women bored with the dating and singles scene, that one shoot down can be deadly.

Just watching the opening scenes of this movie, it looked like it had potential. It was predictable, by all means, but it had a story, and a gimmick to possibly separate it from your standard slash em up and show some breasts flicks.

The film opens with a middle school Valentine’s Day dance. Now, with a bumbling and obviously ridiculed geek named Jeremy stammering his way up to the four prettiest girls in his class and asking one by one for a dance only to be shot down and insulted to the tune of “Eww-I’d rather have my throat cut” or how about “I’d rather be boiled alive.” Can you feel the setup? Jeremy, after being insulted by three of the girls and nicely turned down (“Maybe Later?”) by the most popular of the group makes his way to their overweight friend, Dorothy, sitting alone in the bleachers. That these two outcasts find each other, and end up making out under the bleacher suggests that not only are the chaperones not doing their jobs, but that there might be a happy ending. Because this is the opening scene of a slasher movie, the couple is caught by a group of boys who immediately start making fun of Dorothy. Dorothy, embarrassed, screams at Jeremy to get away from her. The boys, now thinking that Jeremy was trying to sexually assault Dorothy gang up on him, pants him and beat the crap out of him. The viewer is treated to a close up of one of the kids wearing a cherub mask instead of the teachers that should have stopped the fight before it started.

With potential for revenge realized, we cut now to the present day where medical student Shelly (Katherine Heigl) is about to escape an insufferable date to do a little late night studying at a nearby morgue. She is alone (what is it about lack of supervision in this movie?) with a cadaver when a lone dark figure in a cherub mask appears. After a brief chase scene, Shelly decides to hide in a body bag, where she is found, and her throat is cut. Surprise surprise she told Jeremy years ago she would rather have her throat cut than dance with him.

As I said before, this movie clearly has a gimmick. For each horrific thing each girl would rather have done to her than dance with the school geek, a dark cherub masked figure makes it happens to her twofold, right? This would work, except one of the girls when asked to dance just screeches “EWWWWWW.” She is killed by an arrow shot into her heart in a poor ripoff of Kevin Bacon’s death scene in Friday the Thirteenth. Then there was the girl who was nice to him and Dorothy, who caused Jeremy’s ultimate ruin. These lead up to the Surprise Ending and Plot Twists.

What bothered me about this movie is that it had potential, yet it tried too hard to establish twists rather than suspense. The twists were predictable, and you never get any sense of fear. I’ll grant you, there were some gems in dialogue. Said about potential suspect Adam, played by David Boreanaz of Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, “He’s no Angel, but he isn’t a killer!”

Two things that make slashers horrific fun are ridiculously gory death scenes and nudity. There was little to no nudity, only the faintest suggestion of sex, and only one of the girls, played by Denise Richards was met with an absurd death via a Halloween 2-esque hot tub scene. Overall, the characters are stiff and underdeveloped to a point where they aren’t much of real stereotypes, there is little scare factor and the plot is too jumbled and confused to even want to follow after a certain point. I’d watch it for a laugh, maybe a drinking game can be made, but not for much else.

ichabod on Valentine

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