Valentine

2001, Movie, R, 90 mins

Review

VALENTINE
starstarstarstar
A throwback to the formulaic, holiday-themed stalk-and-slash pictures of the early '80s — but why it took four writers to adapt Tom Savage's generic genre novel is thoroughly baffling. 1988: Class nerd Jeremy Melton is trying to get the pretty, popular girls on whom he's nursing hopeless crushes to dance with him at the Valentine's Day dance. Three girls — Shelly, Paige and Lily — rebuff him cruelly. A fourth, Kate, demurs politely. Chubby, insecure little rich girl Dorothy is more receptive to Jeremy's advances, but when a group of boys catches them making out, she turns on Jeremy and accuses him of having attacked her. Jeremy's Valentine's Day ends in humiliation. Twelve years later, Shelly (Katherine Heigl) is murdered. Paige (Denise Richardson), Lily (Jessica Cauffiel), slimmed-down Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw) and Kate (Marley Shelton) begin receiving creepy phone calls and Valentine cards signed "JM"; Kate finds an eerie cupid mask outside her apartment. Could Shelly's killer be Jason Martell (Adam Harrington), the jerk she had a date with the night she died? Or is it Jeremy Melton, who was shipped off to reform school as a result of Dorothy's false accusations? And if it is Jeremy, could he have changed his name and appearance, and be someone the girls know? Maybe Lily's squeeze Max (Johnny Whitworth), a pretentious artist; Dorothy's shady new swain Campbell (Daniel Cosgrove); or even Kate's longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend Adam (David Boreanaz, of TV's Angel), who's got a disturbing drinking problem. Soon the bloody murders begin in earnest, though until the inevitable climax — when every available surface seems to have a corpse on it — none of the girls realizes the seriousness of their situation, since peripheral characters are disproportionately represented among the dead. Director Jamie Blanks (URBAN LEGEND) appears to be carving himself a career making slasher movies for a new generation; unfortunately, he's in no way improving on the originals. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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