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Movie Review

At a sixth-grade Valentine’s dance, a clique of pretty girls makes the mistake of snubbing a nerdy guy. Ten years later, he’s out for blood. He sends them menacing "love notes" and then, hiding behind a cupid mask that makes him look like a Campbell’s Soup kid, exacts his revenge.

Masquerading as a suspenseful whodunit, Valentine is a derivative slasher clone padded with creepy clichés, red herrings and an illogical payoff. It introduces characters just so they can be considered suspects before they’re isolated, stalked and brutally murdered. It’s all here, including the idiot who ventures into a dark basement alone to reignite a pilot light. From this box of chocolates, moviegoers know exactly what they’re gonna get. After watching The Fog at age 11, Valentine director Jamie Blanks knew he wanted to make horror films. He prides himself on creative death scenes that let young fans of the genre fill in the details themselves, stating, "If you suggest [gory violence] effectively, it’s far more grisly than anything a special effects guy can show you." Maybe, but this isn’t Hitchcock. The body count is gratuitous and graphic (often sexualized with risqué dialogue and behavior).

There’s one difference between this film and those it shamelessly rips off. Back in the days of Halloween and Friday the 13th, naive virgins were the ones left standing. Purity was rewarded. But in Valentine, promiscuity is universal. And since single life is often cut short in slasher flicks, the characters don’t live long enough to face consequences. Subtle message: Unmarried sex is normal. Life is short. Why wait? Now that’s scary.

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David Boreanaz, Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw


Jamie Blanks ( )


Warner Bros.



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Bob Smithouser

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