Today, we’re taking a look at an incredibly entertaining holiday slasher. While a film set on Valentine’s Day might not be the traditional watch in October, Jamie Blanks’ Valentine is a joy to watch at any time of the year. It is a fun take on the masked killer concept popularized by Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Scream, but features an oddly creepy Cupid mask as the guise of the film’s killer. At their eighth grade Valentine’s Day Dance, popular girls Shelley, Lily, Paige, and Kate are asked to dance by Jeremy Melton. The girls all refuse him, while their less popular friend Dorothy agrees to dance with him and the pair end up kissing under the bleachers. When discovered by the school bullies, Dorothy is embarrassed and falsely claims that Jeremy forced himself on her. The bullies beat Jeremy until his nose bleeds and he is soon sent to a juvenile detention center and eventually a mental institution. Thirteen years later, a killer in a Cupid mask murders Shelley. Coming together for her funeral, Paige (Denise Richards), Kate (Marley Shelton), Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw), and Lily (Jessica Cauffiel) find themselves the targets of the killer. Could it really be Jeremy Melton returning to exact vengeance on them?
The cast is one of the strongest elements of Valentine. Denise Richards turns in an incredibly entertaining and fun performance as Paige. Marley Shelton is also a great lead as Kate. The four main characters have a really natural and engaging chemistry and compliment each other extremely well. David Boreanaz also turns in a solid performance as Kate’s boyfriend Adam. Blanks utilizes very intricate and wild death sequences throughout the film, which make it stand out from other early 2000’s slashers. One that is particularly memorable involves cupid’s arrow and a plummeting fall. Suspense is built nicely throughout the film, as more clues begin to appear and more deaths occur.
The slasher films of the late 1990s and early 2000s are usually looked down upon as mere copies of Wes Craven’s iconic Scream. While that may clearly be the case for some, Jamie Blanks directed two vital slasher films in that time period with Valentine and Urban Legend. Blanks pays tribute to the genre while also paving a new path with Valentine. It pairs beautifully with the 1981 My Bloody Valentine, if you’re looking for a fun Valentine’s Day double feature. Holiday slashers may seem a tad cliché to some, but Valentine holds its own and proves to be an original and very well-made film of the time period.
With its entertaining death sequences, excellent cast, and a nostalgic early 2000s aesthetic, Valentine is a must-watch for those looking for a very fun and appealing slasher this October. It is one that has been a favorite of mine since I first watched it with my friends in high school, and will continue being a yearly rewatch for me.
Valentine can be streamed for free on Tubi and rented from Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, and iTunes. You can buy the Shout! Factory blu-ray which also features a great restoration and excellent special features HERE.
I will be back tomorrow with another entry in the 31 Days of Slashers series.