Valentine

There are bottom-of-the-barrel exploitation movies, and then there are movies like Valentine, which seems to have emerged from countless miles beneath the bottom of the barrel, from some subterranean hellscape reserved for holiday-themed slasher movies involving tormented youths and creepy masks. Video-shelf fodder distinguished only by an overqualified cast, Valentine opens with a flashback that packs as many mind-numbingly familiar slasher tropes—rejection, sexual anxiety, homoerotic humiliation, red liquids being dumped on an outcast, spooky masks—as it can into one dispiriting sequence. The rest of the film continues in a similarly derivative vein, earnestly serving up the slasher-movie conventions and clichés that Scream gave a well-deserved burial nearly half a decade ago. Flashing forward 13 years, the film centers on Marley Shelton, the ringleader of a group of buxom, romantically challenged twentysomething friends who each receive custom valentines threatening their lives. The pneumatic lookers pay surprisingly little attention to their crazed would-be suitor, however, treating the sudden appearance of a stalker with detached curiosity rather than mortal terror. Common sense dictates that those whose lives are in danger might want to keep a low profile, but Valentine's brainless slasher-fodder instead boldly follows in the tradition of their genre forebears, inevitably ending up alone in as many creepy, dimly lit places as humanly possible. What follows is the longest and most miserable Valentine's Day in cinematic history, as a hulking killer wearing a cupid mask dispatches a series of repellent starlets in sluggish bloodbaths more likely to inspire derisive snickers than tension or suspense.

Filed Under: Film

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