Valentine

David Boreanaz (TV's Angel) stars as Adam Carr

Director: Jamie Blanks
Screenwriter: Donna Powers
Starring: David Boreanaz, Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Jessica Cauffiel
Release details: Warner Bros, USA 2001, 91 mins
Full details: IMDb
Genre: Horror
Rating: 4 out of 10

Valentine kicks off with a flashback to 1988. It's the junior high prom and a young geeky lad, Jeremy Melton, asks four girls to dance. The first three all decline, sneering at the poor boy for his timerity, but the fourth says yes. Not only does the dance go well, but we soon see them making out, until they're caught in the act by the cool kids. You can tell they're the cool kids by their cruel and arrogant behaviour, because we know from all other teen movies that the social elite in the US high school system are bullies of the first order.

Anyway, the girl - who was all too willing to run the bases under the bleachers a moment earlier - buckles under the pressure of being associated with a geek and accuses Jeremy of attacking her. The cool kids deliver a sound trashing to Jeremy, who is subsequently sent to Juvenile Hall for the alleged attack.

Cut to 2001. All four girls who were involved in the original scene - Paige (Richards), Katie (Shelton), Dorothy (Capshaw) and Lily (Cauffiel) - are struggling with careers and boyfriends when they start getting bizarre Valentine's cards, threatening death. No degrees in rocket science are required for the audience to work out that this is clearly the work of Jeremy, out to seek revenge, but it takes the women a while to arrive at this conclusion. Soon, our Jeremy starts picking off the girls - and anyone else who stands in his way - in a series of murders, each of which is even more ludicrous than the last, until there's only a couple of them left and you've run out of suspects. But, to be honest, if you haven't worked out the killer by the half-hour mark, then you're as stupid as the women in this film.

Since Scream re-invented the slasher genre, there has been a whole slew of beautiful people in peril movies. Valentine is by no means the worst of those offerings, with a high gore count and some recognisable faces in the cast, but it's certainly sub-par. For a start, everything hinges on coincidence. Jeremy (or whoever is trying to pass themselves off as Jeremy) is meant to be a meticulous serial killer but, time after time, we see supposedly pre-meditated murders committed with whatever tools happen to be to hand - an iron, an axe or a drill, for example. Now, having an iron around the house is one thing, but who keeps a nice, sharp axe in their boiler room or an electric drill next to their jacuzzi?


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The four women themselves are a bunch of over-privileged, spoiled brats who, frankly, deserve nothing better than their come-uppance at the hands of a vengeful psycho, especially Shelton who is nominally our heroine. They're whinier than a gaggle of pre-schoolers just before nap-time and, with the exception of Capshaw (who's meant to be the fat chick), they're no lookers. Denise Richards, in particular, is a mystery to me. As far as I can make out, she plays the same role in every film she's ever been in, that of the sultry but spoilt beauty queen type. But my problem with her is that she can't act and, frankly, I cannot see what's attractive about her. I appreciate that Charlie Sheen found her attractive enough to get hitched, but I always suspected he might have been on one of his famous three-month benders during their brief courtship.

You'll probably like this film if you're a teenager, or you find either Boreanaz or Richards remotely attractive, as both of them feature in some state of undress at one point or another. And Boreanaz even gets to do his pained, sensitive look: the one where his head is bent forward and cocked to one side, like recalcitrant puppy. It's the closest we get to acting in the whole movie.

Buy it

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(Alternatively, VHS and DVD box-sets of Angel seasons 1-4 are available from Blackstar.co.uk and all good stockists.)

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