Roses are Red, Violets are Blue: 'Valentine' Review
Ah the early 2000s, a time when every studio and director under the sun saw Scream and thought "Hey! I can recapture the magic of Wes Craven's genre classic." Be it I Know What You Did Last Summer or Urban Legend, every studio tried to come up with the next big hit in the mold of Scream. Rarely if ever did those films even hold a candle to the genre deconstruction and expert storytelling that was Wes Craven's hit. However, films like Valentine try so hard to copy the formula which results in an unoriginal, bland attempt at the slasher film.
The film follows a group of friends who are tormented and murdered by a Cupid mask wearing killer who may or may not be a nerdy boy who they tormented in high school. That's the entire synopsis of the film which, clearly, isn't much. It essentially boils down to Denise Richards being given a reason to run around half-naked in a bikini being chased by the killer. It's about as low-brow and unimaginative as it gets for a slasher film which is unfortunate since I'm personally a huge fan of David Boreanaz. Replace most of the players in Scream with women and Angel from Buffy, and this is what you get.
The cast does little, outside of David Boreanaz, to hold the film together. Denise Richards has never been a personal favorite of mine particularly because she has never actually been given anything interesting to do in most of her on-screen work. And yes, I even mean her absurd turn as nuclear physicist Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough. She is perfect eye candy and is treated as such in this film; heaven forbid anyone ever give her something interesting to do. Along with Richards, Marley Shelton and Jessica Capshaw round out the main female cast but are ultimately given as little to do as Richards. You never truly feel sympathetic for their characters due to the opening scene painting them as mean teenagers which is further reinforced throughout the film. Not many horror films make the killer more sympathetic than his victims but this film does so seemingly unintentionally.
David Boreanaz isn't given much to do; he just has to look pretty and charming throughout the film with a slight hint of suspicion that he may be the killer. It should be noted that all of his scenes in the film were shot in two weeks which should give you an idea of how much he's featured in the film. It's a waste of his time but a nice paycheck I'm sure.
The kills aren't much either which is another missed opportunity. All of them should have been based around Valentine's Day in some form, not just one. Why even base the film around the holiday if you aren't going to have someone killed with a box of chocolates or something equally ridiculous? No such luck unfortunately as they are just your average murders that get less imaginative as the film approaches its "twist". A twist that was telegraphed from the beginning.
Valentine isn't much of anything. It's unfortunate because I wanted it to be some underrated, overlooked slasher classic. However, it's just another Scream derivative that completely buckles under the weight of the concept as soon as Denise Richards comes on-screen. It's disappointing but to be expected from early 2000's slasher films.