Review: Valentine (2001)

In honor of the holiday, it seemed appropriate to review the eponymously named 2001 horror film Valentine.

Valentine is an early 2000s slasher film starring some, mostly female, heartthrobs at the beginning, and for some peak, of their careers. It tells the story of a serial killer stalking and murdering a group of female friends leading up to the famous, love based holiday. The narrative of the film begins in 1988 at a junior high school dance in San Francisco, California. A young, nerdy, outcast, by the name of Jeremy Melton, is at the dance hoping that at least one of his female classmates might be willing to have a dance with him. He approaches the standard junior high clique of girls with outright rejections ranging from polite dismissal to mostly cruelty and disgust by the approach. However, the final girl of the group, a bit of an outcast in her own right, agrees to his advances, and the two end up kissing heavily underneath the bleachers. They are discovered by the rest of their classmates, and to save face from embarrassment, Dorothy, the “chubby” one of the clique, claims that Melton forced himself on her. As a result, he is assaulted by a few teenagers, expelled from school, and transferred to reform school and eventually juvenile hall on the testimony of Dorothy and her friends, Lily, Paige, and Shelley. Kate, the only one who was in any way kind to Jeremy, is absent from these proceedings.

What I imagine the nightmares of incels consist of.

From here, the film time jumps to “present day” February 2001. We see Shelley, a medical student, on an abysmal date with a complete douchebag that ends mercifully early for her. She then goes to get some late night cadaver studying (is that an allowed thing?) to prepare for an upcoming exam. Here she meets an untimely end from a Cupid masked assailant. This begins the film’s narrative in earnest. The same masked figure is seemingly murdering those involved in young Jeremy Melton’s humiliation and disgrace thirteen years prior. One by one, Lily, Paige, Dorothy, and all those who might give them aid of any kind are surreptitiously done away with in rather unimaginative methods until the infamous “final girl” Kate manages to be the lone survivor along with her boyfriend Adam. Though this may not be the happy ending Kate believes it to be. Roll credits.

The film managed to make back its money and then some even though it was panned critically and did not get much audience attention or love past its initial opening screenings. As a result, no sequels or other plans were made for continuation of the film or franchise. The poor audience and critical reception was mostly due to the film’s premise and execution being far too similar to 1980s slasher flicks without the graphic or creative violence that those delivered. To be fair, they weren’t wrong. The film is a rather bland slasher. There is little interesting violence and even less titillation or nudity, the hallmarks of the horror slasher genre, to be found in this film. Overall, Valentine is a rather forgettable film whose only slight redeeming quality is the future notoriety and fame of its principal cast.

Not a recommended viewing. Frankly, do and see just about anything else for the holiday.

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