Valentine (2001)
Warner Home Video
Cast: David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Denise Richards
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurette, Music Video, Theatrical Teaser, Cast & Crew Biographies

When ’Scream’ debuted in 1996, it revived the slasher genre of the early 80s. But, this new strain of slasher film was to be more hip and self-reflective than its cousins from the prior decade. Unfortunately, the makers of ’Valentine’ missed that meeting, as this film plays like a slasher movie straight out of 1982. The plot (insert 90% of 80s slasher films here) deals with five girls who teased a boy in junior high school. Now grown, these five women are being stalked by a killer wearing a cherub mask. Besides being mind-numbingly unoriginal, ’Valentine’ commits the ultimate sin for a movie; it’s boring. The only time that anything happens is when the killer is onscreen and that is very rare, except for the finale. As with many slasher films, there is a great deal of talking, interaction with the police, people walking around dark rooms, etc., which simply means that nothing interesting happens. And to make matters worse, the ending doesn’t really make any sense. All of this is quite a shame, as director Jamie Blanks has a nice visual sense, and his previous film, ’Urban Legend’, was a fun romp through slasher-land. And while scenes such as the blind-date maze are visually intriguing, they can’t save this stinker of a movie. David Boreanaz and Marley Shelton also try very hard, but it’s to no avail. And, as usual, Denise Richards stands around looking like something that came out of ILM. I guess the nicest thing that I can say about ’Valentine’ is that the KNB designed cherub mask is pretty cool.

’Valentine’ represents one of those instances where the movie is awful, but the DVD is great. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen and has been letterboxed at 2.35:1. The picture here is pristine, without grain or distortion. The colors are lavish, as the film is filled with rich reds, and natural fleshtones. There are no artifacting problems, and the framing is accurate. It’s a shame that this sharp image is showing such a bad film. Even better is the audio. The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track offers one of the best surround sound packages that I’ve heard in quite a while. Blanks mentions on the commentary that he’s a supporter of surround sound and it’s obvious that the person doing this mix had a ball. The track has a wide dynamic range and an impressive soundfield. The most impressive aspect is the accuracy of the on-screen to speaker sound placement. This is the kind of movie where people are always hearing a ’bump’ off-screen and you get the feeling that you’re there. Also, the film features a rocking soundtrack, which comes across nicely on the audio track.

The DVD offers a nice commentary by director Jamie Blanks. Obviously feeling at ease, Blanks discusses the origins of the film and chats at length about the making of the movie. He talks about the perils of digital editing and discusses how press leaks may have hurt the film. Unfortunately, he doesn’t shed much light on the ending, but overall, this is a good commentary. Strangely, the other extras are oddly misnamed. The ’Studio Extras’ is actually an 8-minute featurette entitled, ’Valentine: Behind the Scenes’, offering interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and a rough cut of a deleted scene. ’Club Reel’ is in fact a music video for the song ’Opticon’ by Orgy, made up entirely of footage from the movie. And the ’Theatrical Trailer’ is actually the 40-second theatrical teaser, which has been letterboxed at 2.35:1. And the cast & crew filmographies are… well, they’re cast & crew biographies. As with Lily’s valentine in the film, this is a nice package, surrounding a terrible present.