This review is really like a companion piece to Daniel Jolley's Amazon review of October 12, 2002. He has already expressed everything I could about this movie in the best possible way. So many have panned it which is why I found Daniel's review to be so refreshing, and it inspired me to chime in my own two cents and up the review average in favor of this highly entertaining and very fun horror movie.
Some have said that "Scream" reignited the slasher genre in the mid '90s but I have never been a big fan of that one as it is to me almost like a play or satire on the familiar slasher movie formulas rather than a bona fide slasher itself. "Valentine" director Jamie Blanks however, clearly a die hard slasher fan just like I and perhaps you are if you're reading this, seems to realize that those same familiar formulas that "Scream" pokes fun at are formulas that work, and have made for some great entertainment since the late '70s and early '80s when the slasher wave first broke. Blanks even admits in the director's commentary track of the DVD that "Valentine's" plot is not the most original but boy does this one ever deliver.
And just what is that plot. It concerns revenge for cruel taunting in junior high school, with each of the young women involved years later receiving warped Valentine's greetings from the unknown perpetrator, who proceeds to stalk and pick them off one by one.
And how beautiful each of those women have grown to be! To echo what Daniel said in his review, from the male perspective "Valentine" is a delight to behold. You get the brief early appearance by Katherine Heigl, who looks awesome and fetching as a med student in a tank top; Marley Shelton, a stunning blonde who plays nice girl Kate, and Denise Richards, who sizzles as the not so nice Paige. Oh yeah, and for the female contingent, I'm told that David Boreanaz (as Kate's mysterious alcoholic-leaning boyfriend) is not unpleasant on the eyes. True, as compared to the early '80s, in these slightly more enlightened and dare I say "politically correct" times, there is no out and out nudity in "Valentine" but as Daniel stated, the sultry bedroom bondage scene and Denise Richards in the hot tub scene to me more than make up for it.
But at the heart of it, "Valentine" succeeds in large part because of its sense of fun and that it presents hip humor (like the bit on the perils of speed dating) in place of the usual stomach-churning gore. In the spirit of my favorite slashers, it does not take itself at all seriously and is played mainly for fun.
That's not to say there is no gore or sleaze to behold here; it is a slasher movie after all. Blanks directs the film very stylishly and presents the perfect update on the classic slasher template for a new generation. The killer wears a very cool cherub mask and the stalk and slash scenes are great and very inventive and quite suspenseful. While the premise may not be too original (which again, Blanks readily admits), to echo the proverbial saying, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
I love slasher movies and for all the reasons stated here and in Daniel's earlier review "Valentine" is a new classic for a new generation that stands up with the best slashers of the past.