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Introduction
We’ve all seen the trends in cinema happen right before our eyes. Suddenly a successful film from a recently neglected genre sparks a tidal wave of similar films for the best part of three to four years. The first few are destined for big money while the remainder of the films are subject to intense scrutiny and are more often than not found wanting in numerous areas. So it is not surprising to see the remaining crop of mainstream horror flicks fall flat on their face as they try to cash in on the genre’s recent success, needlessly skimping in the script and acting department which inevitably leads to their demise. Valentine is definitely no exception.

Fish in a barrel
Film
Heard it all before. High school nerd tries to seek revenge on his ex-classmates several years down the track for public humiliation, while the victims remain totally in the dark for the majority of the film. This time the twisted killer decides to don a baby face “cupid” mask that makes him look more laughable than loathsome. Key targets are the grown-up girls that gave him (or her?) so much grief as a little kid, including best friends Paige (Denise Richards), Kate (Marley Shelton), Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw), Shelley (Katherine Heigl) and Lily (Jessica Cauffiel). Together they provide the looks but not much brains as they struggle to figure out just who is sending them these nasty messages. Thrown in the mix are some blatantly obvious red herrings, including the evil-looking David Boreanaz as a boozed-up boyfriend to Kate. The killer seems to suffer a nosebleed from time to time, so he tries to even up the score by spilling even more blood from the girls. Ho hum.

Director Jamie Blanks seems to have decided to follow up his decent horror flick Urban Legends by making a crappy one. The acting is terrible, the story could have been thought of on the toilet and for some reason a police officer decides to make a pass at one of the girls. If this doesn’t deter any budding Wes Craven’s from polluting our screens with awful faux-horror then nothing will. Maybe this genre should go back to the grave for a while because the storylines have been milked for all they are worth.

What is even more surprising is that the genre has been taken to absolute pieces not only by parody filmmakers, but the press and casual moviegoers around the globe. After all the jibes and p**s-takes there are still people out there who seriously think another horror flick is going to work. With nothing even resembling originality, it’s a wonder this one was made in the first place. It’s probably lucky I’m not seriously into slasher flicks because true horror fans might feel much more violated than I do.

Video
Now my ranting is over I can resume being a nice guy again, thanks to a particularly stunning transfer from the visual quality leaders, Roadshow. Presented in 2.35:1 and 16:9 enhanced, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of the images, just the quality of what is going on within them. The colours are the standout with red and blue washes being used by the director to the desired effect. These are rendered perfectly along with the rest of the palette and some seriously deep shadows. Sharpness can’t be faulted so if you’re looking for an outstanding disc in terms of visual quality you’ve come to the right place. Let’s hope this transfer and others can keep the standard up where it should be, which seems to be the case of late.

Awwww....how cute
Audio
Slasher movies aren’t all that notorious for full-blown audio effects, save for some short jabs from a suspenseful violin. However, this Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is probably the only thing drawing you into the movie with its good use of music and ambient sound effects. The string section is given the predictable workout but does sound particularly good coming out of the speakers, while footsteps, screams and general “horror” noise is sent around the room at precisely the right moment. Would be much more effective in a decent movie but, like the transfer, this one can’t really be faulted.

Extras
I was particularly looking forward to the Director’s commentary from Jamie Blanks to see how he would explain his way out of this one. He does sound a little apologetic at times and often points out (some of) the faults in the movie, which only helps to provide a little more ammunition for people like me. Interesting at various points, and a few decent pieces of information are present, but this one is probably only for the three fans of the film.

The “Club Reel” is really just a video clip incognito, performed by the band Orgy. Borrowing most of the footage from the film it’s pretty much a once-only affair. The name was probably just to entice a few more people with a seemingly different extras package. Maybe they should have just used the word “Orgy” on the back cover...surely that would’ve attracted more than a few curious buyers?

Also present on the disc is a “Studio Extras” featurette that runs for under ten minutes and includes your standard self-appraisal from the stars and director, as well as various behind the scenes clips and movie grabs. Standard fare.

There rest of the supplements package is made up of the teaser trailer and cast & crew biographies.

Gratuitous eye candy...
Overall
Credit must be given for supplying such an impressive audio and video quality for a particularly poor film. There are no excuses for a lame attempt at tagging along behind the long since departed horror train, so Director Jamie Blanks has definitely done himself no favours with this one. Watch it if only to see the brilliant visual quality and a pretty remarkable soundtrack for a slasher flick. The extras package is below average also so this one is dragged down too far to be value for money.


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