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  Valentine Heartsick
Year: 2001
Director: Jamie Blanks
Stars: Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Jessica Caulfiel, Katherine Heigl, Hedy Burress, Fulvio Cecere, Daniel Cosgrove, Johnny Whitworth, Woody Jeffreys, Adam Harrington, Claude Duhamel, Wyatt Page, Benita Ha, Ty Olsson
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Twelve years ago at a school Valentine's dance, Jeremy had turned up full of hope that he might convince one of the girls to accompany him on the dancefloor, but each one he asked turned him down, often with withering contempt. Kate was nice to him, but still wasn't interested, so when he noticed Dorothy sitting alone he sensed a chance and went over; recognising she was not about to get a better offer, they went and made out behind the stands. However, when some of his bullies twigged what was happening, they descended upon him, with Dorothy changing her mind to protect herself and calling Jeremy a pervert, which led to him getting beaten up and soundly humiliated. But in the intervening years, has he gotten over his bad experiences at school?

If he has then this would be one short movie, and as it lasted about ninety minutes it's safe to say young Jeremy had some grievances to work out with regard to the girls at school. It was significant that he did not go after the boys who actually struck him to the floor and began administering a kicking, for Valentine was a horror film with pretensions to say something about the bonds between men and women and how they can break thanks to even a single bad choice, though it tended towards the feminine point of view. Basically, all these males were useless, and the treatment these special princesses meted out to Jeremy all those years ago was not only justified since he turned into a serial killer, but should be applied to every other man in their lives.

We could observe that if those girls had consented to allow Jeremy a spin at the school dance, then he might not have wound up so twisted, but then peer pressure is a terrible thing, and can result in social outcasts when the consensus is unthinkingly agreed upon by those with less nous or keenness to get to the bottom of the whole strata set-up. Not that you were supposed to be mulling that over as you watched Valentine, nope, you were apparently intended to be seeing every man in the five girls' lives as a deadbeat, though that did beg the question, if none of that lot were good enough for them, then who would be? Indeed, it seemed to be that the ladies were better off dead than lowering their standards.

Not that the cherub-masked Jeremy (so we cannot tell his identity out of the line-up of male characters) was doing them a favour, or at least you hoped that wasn't the intention, but the world of the dating scene did come across as a minefield of egotists, weirdos and walking alarm bells. Playing the fivesome who were the potential victims were Denise Richards, Paige the sarky sexpot who wasn't really, Marley Shelton as Kate, the nice girl we were moved to sympathise with, Jessica Capshaw (Steven Spielberg's stepdaughter) who is Dorothy all grown up and the bitterest of the lot, Jessica Cauffiel as sassy Lily and Katherine Heigl, taking a short break from Grey's Anatomy on television to do us the favour of showing up here to die first, in a morgue no less (she was essaying a medical student).

The biggest star among those useless blokes was also doing well on television, David Boreanaz as Kate's boyfriend who seems nice enough until it's mentioned he's an alcoholic, therefore completely unreliable in movie land, or this one at any rate. This manhating, or man suspicion anyway, extended to the supporting cast where the detective in charge of the case (Fulvio Cecere) is a creep who makes moves on Paige, or the chap who appears solely to intimidate Kate in rhyme, then is revealed to be trying on her underwear when she is out of her apartment, and that was it. Fair enough, women have been the victim in slasher flicks ever since they were dreamt up, but the fact remained that they were still the victims here, no matter that the script made efforts to appeal to some form of sisterhood, thereby proving that even after the post-modern Scream there wasn't that much you could do with the genre template that wasn't in some way harking back to the glory days of the eighties. The fact that it had been edited down for violence by an overcautious studio before release worked against it too; it looked slick but sounded hollow. Music by Don Davis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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