VALENTINE, from director Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend), finds five women being stalked by an unknown killer wearing a cupid mask leading up to Valentine’s Day. The film, which is based off the novel by Tom Savage, stars David Boreanaz (Angel, Bones), Denise Richards (Starship Troopers), Marley Shelton (Scream 4, Planet Terror) and Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy).
Revenge is sweet, just like Valentine’s Day chocolates, something that five friends find out after the tragic death of an acquaintance. While navigating the world of dating, Kate (Shelton), Paige (Richards), Lily (Cauffiel), and Dorothy (Capshaw) begin receiving threatening Valentine Day cards from an unknown assailant named JM. After combing through their history of men, they begin to suspect that JM stands for Jeremy Melton, a boy that they went to Junior High with and tormented endlessly, resulting in a false claim that got him sent to a reformed school. As Valentine’s Day approaches, Dorothy plans an elaborate party at her family’s estate to bring all her friends together, culminating in an unforgettable evening of broken hearts, deadly secrets, and a rising body count.
God, I can’t even remember the last time I watched VALENTINE prior to viewing it the other day. My memory told me it was a film that I enjoyed but seeing as it came out 18 years ago, I was a tad nervous it wasn’t going to stand the test of time. Other than obvious things that have been improved by technology since 2001, I’m happy to report that VALENTINE is just as memorable as I had remembered. Capitalizing off the 90’s teen horror slasher, VALENTINE is unique in that this film reverses the narrative trope that women need to be saved by men, instead showcasing strong female characters who must rely on each other in order to survive.
Speaking of the assailant, I forgot how much I enjoyed the use of their trademark when they kill. There’s something incredibly unsettling about a cherub’s face just on its own, but to then slap it on a crazed maniac hellbent on killing, due to a broken heart, adds a whole new level of deranged. Seeing something that is symbolized as angelic and childlike doing atrocious acts is a juxtaposition I truly enjoy. Furthermore, the killer’s true trademark of a bloody nose was something that I found to be genius. It’s incredibly simple, not overly used, and has an execution that is flawless, leaving just enough of a chill to run down your spine. Funny enough, I watched VALENTINE just before going to a screening of Happy Death Day 2U and I have to say, the Baby-Faced killer’s mask in Happy Death Day is very reminiscent of the one in VALENTINE.
What’s great about Shout Factory’s release of this film is all the special features that are included. One of the themes prevalent throughout the movie is that of acceptance and kindness, and while watching the featurettes a lot of the cast touched upon this during their interviews. This isn’t to say that what the masked assailant was doing was right, it most certainly was not, but by revisiting the movie and watching the features, it gives the audience a deeper understanding of why these actions were taken. I also thought it was great that most of the cast came back to do interviews and talk about how important the film was to them. During Denise Richards segment, she talks about how there was a lot of camaraderie on set with the other women as well as the film being a message for women to not be afraid to stand up for themselves. Marley Shelton talked in lengths about what it meant to be the requisite Final Girl and how she referenced Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby for inspiration for her character. Jessica Cauffiel was a blast to watch during her interview as she talked about having one of the most famous death scenes in horror as well as the cult following that VALENTINE has amassed. The special features then went more in-depth with writers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts as they talked about the changes in the script from inception to completion as well as making a horror movie that women could go to alone where they could relate to the different types of women and the types of men they have dated.
All in all, the VALENTINE Collector’s Edition Blu-ray is a must-have for anyone that enjoys the early 2000 teen slasher. The set is chock full of special features that you can spend hours upon hours watching and include not only interviews but deleted scenes, audio commentary, “Making Of” featurette, trailers, and so much more! My love for Valentine horror films knows no bounds and I’m so glad that I got to check out this new Collector’s Edition from Shout Factory. This is one edition that is worth a shot through the heart for!
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