valentineWarner Bros. Pictures
2001
R

“The journey of love is an arduous trek, My love grows for you as you bleed from your neck.”

Oh, David Boreanaz. He’s a great actor, and I enjoy his work on Buffy, Angel and Bones. But some of his choices for movie rolls? So far as I’ve seen, not so much. Such as this one, obviously. Valentine came out during a period in horror movie history that was still trying to capture the lightning in the bottle that Scream did back in 1996. A whole bunch of formulaic movies came out, what I refer to as Pretty White Kids With Problems horror movies, where the cast of characters all come from rich (or at the very least, upper-middle class) backgrounds, look like they were created in some eugenics lab, and every “conflict” seems arbitrary and forced. This usually results in the characters being uninteresting and interchangeable. Then, throw in a slasher-killer in some kind of mask, and boom. You got the formula for a lot of the horror movies that were coming out in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Valentine starts off with a flashback at a Junior High dance, where a perceived nerdy boy is trying to get a girl to dance with him, his advances constantly rebuffed, until he finds another outcast girl to make out with. Until she turns on him, and several junior high boys proceed to push him around, dump punch on him Carrie-style, and then pants him so that he’s running away in his tighty whities to massive jeers and laughter (this is why I’m an advocate of wearing boxers). Flash forward twelve years, and all of those pretty, snarky and shallow kids are now pretty, snarky and shallow adults in the mid-twenties. And on the approaching Valentine’s Day party that one of them is throwing, they start getting personalized Valentine’s Day cards from some mysterious person before they’re offed in a rather mundane fashion. Obligatory Saw-That-Coming-From-Miles-Away wackiness ensues. Yeah, pretty much standard formula there.

Listen (or read, as the case seems to be), Valentine isn’t a terrible movie. It’s also not one of those so-bad-it’s-good movies. It’s just a bland, by-the-numbers slasher that lacks any kind of bite whatsoever, has characters I cared not a moment for, and features an attempt at a twist ending that, if you’re anything even close like I am concerning horror movies, you’ve pretty much figured out within the first five or ten minutes of the movie itself. About the only things going for Valentine is the rather good cinematography and the decent soundtrack. Otherwise, I would equate Valentine with one of those cheep county fair Haunted House attractions: you go in knowing full well what to expect, you’re not surprised but entertained for a brief period, then begin forgetting about it the moment the thing is over. Rent and watch with friends if you must, but you can do much, much better than this.