Writing for most horror movies is like filling out MadLibs or solving Clue (kill _____ with a _____ in the ____). There are a number of holes in the plot. To finish the movie, fill in the holes. The requirements are a large body count, a killer with some sort of special trademark, and numerous gruesome deaths. Scream elevated horror another level, generating large amounts of tension while carry a self-deprecatory tone. Valentine is just bad. Everything about it is reminiscent of other, (relatively) better movies. Instead of a killer with a ghost mask or a hook, there is a killer wearing a cherub mask (who gets bloody noses). The only redeeming factor is the impossibly beautiful cast. For men, the eye candy consists of Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, and Katherine Heigl. Women can gape at David Boreanz and Daniel Cosgrove. Do people that look like this really hang out together? Doubtful.
Sometime ten years ago, a group of women shunned a young boy at a Valentine's Day party. Now, the women live their lives in San Francisco, having forgotten completely about him. Until they start receiving offensive Valentine's Day cards and they start disappearing one by one. Shelly (Heigl, Bride of Chucky, the WB's Roswell) is in medical school. Kate (Shelton, Sugar & Spice, The Bachelor) is a journalist dating recovering alcoholic Adam (Boreanz, the WB's Angel). Lily (Jessica Cauffiel, Road Trip, Urban Legend 2) is dating an artist and lives with Paige (Richards, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The World is Not Enough). Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw, Denial, Killing Cinderella) lives in her father's mansion and is dating Campbell (Cosgrove, The Object of My Affection).
Valentine is an adaptation of a book by Tom Savage by director Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) and adapters Donna and Wayne Powers (Deep Blue Sea). They certainly have the look right. All the women seem to work and live in near darkness. They also live really extravagant lives, seemingly beyond their means. But none of that matters. Their main problem is trying to stay away from a man they do not know. Ten years is a long time, and this young man may look completely different. It may be Campbell, Adam, or any number of men introduced in the movie. Blanks takes much of this uncertainty and does nothing with it until the third act of the movie. There is little tension at all in Valentine. Even the prerequisite 'jump' moments do not generate fright. The process of racking up the body count is also surprising boring. Everything takes place hollowly, with no feeling or emotion behind it. All the characters are empty shells, built up for the sole purpose of being offed later. Valentine ends up a mere shell of what it could be.
|Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.|
|1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated R for strong horror violence, some sexuality, and language.|
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