Fright Fest 2017 Review #5 – Valentine (2001)

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Blond rage

Subgenre:  Holiday Slasher

Summary:  Thirteen years after humiliating a fellow classmate, five girls are stalked by a masked killer.

Review:  Valentine opens on the titular holiday with a school-dance scene that plays out like Carrie-light.  Jeremy, an awkward tween, gets rejected by a group of girls after asking them to dance, then is brutally beaten after being falsely accused of assaulting one of them.  Cut to thirteen years later, with the five girls now in college together.  Days before Valentine’s Day, each one receives a threatening Valentine’s Day card.  And then the murders start…

Lets get this out of the way: Valentine doesn’t have an original bone in its body.  The opening scene’s offing of a star actress is a dead ringer for Scream’s, the cards (though delightfully cheesy) reek of I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the prologue is practically interchangeable with those of dozens of other horror movies.  That said, the movie never pretends to be anything more than a formula slasher, and does its best to offer a good time in that context.  The first two thirds move along at a nice clip, and there’s at least a bit of self-awareness in the stylized coed dialogue.

Unfortunately, the cracks start to show in the third act – set at a Valentine’s Day party, of course – which feels shamelessly drawn out.  But it’s not a complete chore to get through, since the screenplay does a solid job of keeping the killer’s identity a mystery.  The inevitable reveal in the movie’s final moments, done with a one-two twist, is a bit cheap but nonetheless satisfying.  Come to think of it, that just about sums up the entire movie.

The Verdict:  It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but Valentine gets a pass for never taking itself too seriously and its slick, early 2000s aesthetic.  I give it six revengeful romantic rejects out of ten.

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