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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Valentine (review)

Roses Are Dead

What can one possible say about a movie like Valentine? It’s exactly what you’d expect it to be: stupid, oversexed, rich, young white people getting killed in various gruesome ways. Slasher flicks are so indistinguishable from one another that I’m not entirely sure that this is a new film. It’s quite possible that I saw this back in 1997. And 1993. And 1989. And 1979.

Think I Know What You Did to Me in Junior High. Or Carrie, without the involvement of Stephen King or Brian De Palma or Sissy Spacek or anyone of even modest talent… if Carrie was a guy and waited a decade for her revenge and used a knife instead of telekinesis. Some dweeb gets picked on in sixth grade and ten years later starts killing all the girls who refused to dance with him that evening in the gym. Like we care.
I’m tempted to just take a cue from that clever reviewer of Spinal Tap’s album Shark Sandwich — his terse dismissal consisted of two words: “Shit sandwich.” But there’s just no quick and funny way to encapsulate how moronic Valentine is. Mal-entine? Valen-yawn? But why should I put more time into writing my review than the screenwriters took in writing the movie itself?

For Valentine is nonsensical even by the low standards of slasher flicks. Like its victims — who so richly deserve their fates — huge, vital chunks of this film have been ripped out. We have no idea who these anonymous, fairly interchangeable characters are — about the only one we are able to identify from scene to scene is Denise Richards, who thrusts her breasts out far enough to be memorable, unfortunately. We have no idea what they do for a living, or what they do at all besides party and get murdered. Well, okay, they whine a lot about their love lives… like we care. Like we’re sympathetic. Like we’re not just waiting for them to die. Frankly, the killer here is doing all of us a favor: eliminate the slow and stupid before they reproduce. It’s a proactive approach to Darwinism, one I heartily endorse in this case. The world needs fewer spoiled trust-fund idiots, like the denizens of Valentine.

Dead bodies disappear without explanation. Innocent bystanders get killed for no reason whatsoever. I’d say I can’t wait for the director’s cut, so we can finally get some context for anything that happens onscreen, but, well, I can’t honestly say that I’m going to think about this film for any longer than it takes to write 450 words about it.

The only scary thing about Valentine is this: they’ve left it open for a sequel. Shoot me now.

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MPAA: rated R for strong horror violence, some sexuality and language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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