Starring Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, Katherine Heigl, David Boreanaz
Directed by Jamie Blanks
Distributed by Scream Factory
Holiday-themed horrors tend to get a soft pass from me because I like to celebrate those days lounging around watching whatever film fits the motif – still, I recognize a turkey when I see it. Valentine (2001) was never a favorite of mine; it’s not all that great, the characters are annoying and thin, and the killer’s tell – a bloody nose – doesn’t work as a story point when held up to scrutiny. And yes, I know dissecting this film is a fool’s errand but when a movie is boring the time gets spent looking for cracks. The best compliment I can give here is I had forgotten how awesome this soundtrack is, filled with the likes of Rob Zombie, Static-X, Deftones, Orgy, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, and more. Otherwise, this sweetheart slasher’s arrow completely misses the mark.
Jeremy Melton is a nerdy loser; we know this because he dresses like a dork and wears glasses. One night, way back in junior high, he asks four of the popular girls to dance – three cruelly reject him while the fourth offers a less-terse “maybe later”. A fifth girl, their D.U.F.F. (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), happily accepts Jeremy’s offer and even heads under the bleachers to make out… until other popular kids see them together. The D.U.F.F. gets flustered and embarrassed and does the only logical thing: accuse Jeremy of sexual assault. He is mercilessly beaten by the older boys, stripped down to his skivvies, and left with a bloody nose. Later, for some unknown reason, he is expelled from school.
Cut to thirteen years later and the five girls – Shelley (Katherine Heigl), Lily (Jessica Cauffiel), Paige (Denise Richards), Kate (Marley Shelton), and Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw) – are still besties. They attend art exhibit openings, try out speed dating (which was more or less an early form of online dating before the internet took off), and plan for a huge party on Valentine’s Day at Dorothy’s place. Oh, and they all die – not at once, but throughout the course of the film, various friends vanish as they meet their fate at the hands of a vengeful cherub.
There are a couple of interesting kills here, maybe? The characters these women play are all as vapid as they are attractive, and listening to them drone on is like nails on a chalkboard. The guys get short shrift, too, because every single one here is a full-on ‘90s douchenozzle. Nobody makes a single smart decision, save for one character late in the film – the ex-GF of Dorothy’s current beau – and even then her brain apparently only fires for a few minutes because then it’s right back into Dumb Victim mode so she can be dispatched with ease. Worse still, the film gets stuck in a repetitive groove – as many slashers have – and it only gets duller with time.
Then there’s the issue I have with the mask. This dude already looks goofy wearing a cherub mask, but the big giveaway is the nosebleed. Everyone deduces Jeremy must be behind the killings, but nobody has seen him in ages and his whereabouts are unknown. The only tell for us, the audience, is the nosebleed. But how could the blood possibly drip freely from the cherub mask’s nose when the face is clearly too small to fit over a human face? The noses would have to perfectly align within a fraction of an inch in order for this to properly work, but they don’t because this mask is obviously too small for such precision.
The film’s 2.35:1 1080p image is indicative of early aughts horror productions, with a relatively bland aesthetic, marginal style, and visually unimpressive. Still, the new 2K scan done does reveal many details within the frame. There is a slightly waxy sheen at times, though this is likely inherent and not due to something like DNR. Black levels wane a bit, coming across anemic when they should be stronger. The picture is crystal clear and devoid of any dirt or damage.
An English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound track gets the job done and little else. Don Davis’ score is average, carrying the film’s tense moments with standard horror fare. There is not much “oomph” to the proceedings. Even the source music, much of which is heavy metal, doesn’t gain much impact from being delivered via lossless audio. It’s serviceable and that’s about it. Subtitles are available in English.
- BRAND NEW 2K REMASTER struck from original film elements, and supervised and approved by director Jamie Blanks and director of photography Rick Bota
- NEW Audio Commentary with director Jamie Blanks and filmmaker Don Coscarelli, moderated by author Peter Bracke
- NEW Thrill of the Drill – an interview with actress Denise Richards
- NEW The Final Girl – an interview with actress Marley Shelton
- NEW Shot Through the Heart – an interview with actress Jessica Cauffiel
- NEW Writing Valentine – an interview with co-writers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts
- NEW Editing Valentine – an interview with editor Steve Mirkovich
- NEW Scoring Valentine – an interview with composer Don Davis
- NEW Almost 2 hours of never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from director Jamie Blanks’ personal archive
- Audio Commentary with director Jamie Blanks
- Vintage “Making of” featurette featuring cast and crew
- Extended interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from the electronic press kit
- Deleted Scenes including extended death scenes
- Music Video
- Teaser Trailer
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Still Gallery
- Hidden Easter Egg
- Optional English subtitles
Cupid, aim that arrow somewhere else because this is a love that won’t ever be. Valentine isn’t even a decent slasher; it’s just bad, and mostly boring. Scream Factory has gifted it with great A/V quality and a ton of excellent bonus features, though, making my recommendation an easy one for fans.