Taking every bit and piece it can from “Slaughter High,” 2001’s painfully bland and tedious “Valentine” examines what happens when you fuck a nerd in the ass. At a school dance for Valentine’s Day, young Jeremy Melton experiences endless rejection from his classmates during the dance and braves the social experience anyway. After young Dorothy Wheeler sets him up to become the target of school bullies, Jeremy is never heard from again and becomes fodder for the group of girls later in their lives. I always assumed horror films were supposed to focus on likable characters. If not, there should be at least one or two likable characters you can connect with. “Valentine” works against such an effort focusing on four of the most vapid and utterly despicable young girls ever written, all of whom are stuck up rich snobs just asking to be brutally slaughtered.
Made around the time “Scream” was still a very valuable asset to rip off, while Columbine was still pretty much in the air in studios, “Valentine” takes every chance to crib from “Scream” without being too gory or obscene. Now twelve years after that fateful night, someone in a Cherubic cupid mask is knocking off these aristocratic yuppies one by one and the film fails pack any impact at every turn. The movie introduces these truly awful and one dimensional characters left and right and then begs us to feel pity when they’re murdered by this seemingly stealth slasher with a very conspicuous mask. Of course since Jeremy Melton has sworn revenge in the past, the girls and their friends suspect Jeremy is out and ready to up the body count, thus the film becomes one giant game of whodunit sans the tension or suspense.
Could it be one of the women with their own personal vendettas? Could it be a jilted lover of one of the stars? Or could it be the hunky shifty eyed boyfriend of Marley Shelton as played by David Boreanaz? One has to wonder. The film tries to build a respectable franchise but really never quite accomplishes a feat, and this is after trying for a unique–but ultimately lame–slasher mask, and giving the killer a trademark. Every time the slasher offs someone their nose bleeds profusely. For all intents and purposes, “Valentine” really is just a pale imitation of the really entertaining and brutally demented 1986 horror comedy “Slaughter High” where the same basic premise presents itself except with a better sense of suspense and tongue in cheek horror.
“Valentine” jumps from scene to scene trying to find something to fill the ninety minutes with vapid exposition and one dimensional characters, all the while pretty gorgeous women like Jessica Capshaw and Denise Richardson don’t even allow the courtesy of gratuitous nudity for the audience. “Valentine” is a series of lame maguffins and even worse murders that never quite raise our hackels and once the finale involving the showdown with the killer and the subtle reveal presents itself to the audience, we’ve given up trying to give a squat about what we’ve just seen by then. A bland whodunit slasher film starring a bunch of nineties relics in one of the worst rip-offs in recent memory, “Valentine” is a failed attempt to build a new slasher icon with a slasher who barely registers a notch above mediocre in the scare department.