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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 50:54)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English - Hearing Impaired
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Director Jamie Blanks
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Music video - Opticon - Orgy
  • Behind the scenes footage


Warner Bros./Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . MA15+ . PAL


Isn’t it funny how when a film enjoys box office success, it can give birth (or in this case - rebirth) to a whole genre?

Following the success of Scream in 1996, the big studio race was on to produce hip teen slasher flicks. A relentless masked killer, big-breasted victims, a bankable teen heartthrob, a thumping nu-metal soundtrack, a couple of uncomplicated plot twists and you might as well roll camera. The nineties saw a rash of films made in this style and the public, realising that they were in fact watching the same film over and over again, soon lost interest. Isn’t it also funny then, that after the screams and giggles died down, someone decided to make another one and not only missed the boat, but missed the whole point? You are absolutely right. It’s not funny.

Valentine opens with a flashback to the Robert F. Kennedy Middle School 1988 Valentine’s Day dance. A hapless geek (you can tell he’s the geek of the film because he has lank hair, buck teeth and glasses) asks, in turn, five of his pretty, sixth-grade classmates for a dance. Our awkward little friend is refused (‘I’d rather be boiled in oil’), suffers further humiliation at the dance (a bowl of fruit punch tipped on his head), suffers a stress nosebleed (a relevant plot point), gets a little kooky and ends up in an institution. After fifteen years of being shipped from funny farm to funny farm, there is only one thing for it – kill those girls!

After fifteen years they are girls no longer. They are pouting, hot-blooded vixens that adhere strictly to the director’s ‘singlets only’ policy (victims may wear low-cut evening gowns for the party scene but if they wish to explore the house alone, a single wet towel will suffice). The women in question have grown together as friends and in a calculated nod to programs like Sex in the City, are forever on the lookout for the right guy. Valentine’s central character is Kate Davies (Shelton) who plays the group’s sweetheart and is the character we are supposed to feel the most sympathy for. Paige Prescott (Richards) is the most promiscuous of the group and, even while being stalked by a crazed psycho, manages to look seductive. Ladies and gentlemen, there is some serious eyebrow work going on here. Meanwhile, Kate’s alcoholic boyfriend, Adam Carr (Boreanaz) lurks in the background for many of the scenes trying his utmost to appear both likeable and suspicious (a pickled red herring?) but only really succeeds in looking confused.

Of course, no self-respecting maniac would ever think about stalking young starlets without a quirky getup with which to identify him. This one comes dressed all in black, carries a large kitchen knife and wears a mask Sound familiar? Well, this guy wears a cupid mask (Cupid? Valentine? Get it?), which makes the killer look kind of cute – surely not the desired effect...

The cast are, for the most part, admirable in defeat and manage to breathe a little life into their characters despite uninspired dialogue and some plot holes you could steer the Whitman’s blimp through.

Australian director Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) certainly seems to have done his homework and takes a formulaic approach to proceedings. There are some nice little tricks and some fine imagery at play here, but I just couldn’t help but think that I had seen it all before. Like many recent releases of this type, he attempts to infuse the story with occasional humour. Not many of the jokes actually work, but as a plot device, the inclusion of humour helps to not only lighten things up, it also lets the viewer know that, above all, they should try to have a little fun while watching this film. This is a sensible approach and one that is probably more appreciated by fans of the genre.

Although there isn’t much here to earn it a place close to their black little hearts, slasher fans should still be reasonably happy with Valentine. The production quality is high, the scenes could be suspenseful (if you actually gave a rat’s arse about any of the victims) and the body count is adequate.

Ultimately though, this is one Valentine that lacks heart.


As with sound, the picture quality on Valentine is excellent. Although a lot of the scenes are shot in that same ‘cool blue’ that seems to be a prerequisite for establishing mood in this type of film, the colours are quite vivid.

You want blood? You’ve never had it so red! The images are very clear and, for all of Valentine’s faults, some of Jamie Blanks’ visual trickery is done great justice by the clarity of the picture.

Still, it all reminds me of something a wise man once said, "Son, you can’t polish a turd."



That’s the sound, if you can imagine, of someone being stabbed in the chest with a carving knife. Although it doesn’t seem so harrowing on the page, it can be a little more confronting when played alongside the action. Valentine is presented in Dolby 5.1 and, as such, these effects work well. If the aim of a slasher flick is to put its audience on edge, then a lot can be achieved with the utilisation of a decent sound system.

With surround sound, the subtle effects of approaching footsteps or a scream from another part of the house can take on a whole new, sinister quality. Whether you wish it or not, the audio quality on Valentine helps to immerse you in the action on screen and cannot really be faulted.


Audio commentary with director, Jamie Blanks: The interesting part about this commentary is that Blanks tends to point out a lot of the mistakes that I had missed on the first viewing so, as a reviewer, it was certainly informative. The director doesn’t sound particularly confident in the role and spends quite a bit of time either justifying his actions or just downright apologising for them. Nevertheless, he certainly seems to know a great deal about the technical aspects of film and is happy to keep talking about all facets of the film’s production. For that reason alone, it is a worthwhile commentary. Did I mention that you would have to sit through the film a second time?

Club reel: "What the hell is a club reel?" Well, I’ll tell you what a club reel is. In this case it is a music video clip for the song Opticon as performed by the group Orgy. Would it have caught your attention if it had just said ‘music video’ on the back of the case? The clip features a montage of scenes from the film, but be aware that it contains plenty of spoilers if you’ve not watched the main feature yet.

Cast and crew: These are standard biographies of those involved in the film (or at least a select few).

Studio extras: This is actually your standard seven-minute promo entitled, Valentine: Behind the Scenes. The director and various cast members enlighten us on what Valentine’s Day means to them and how lucky they feel to have worked on such an exciting project.

Theatrical trailer: This teaser is mercifully short and features footage not actually seen in the film. As all good teasers should, it begs more questions than it answers.

As with the film, all of the extra features presented on the disc are of high sound and picture quality.


For some reason, moviegoers tend to be more forgiving of horror films. Whether the expectations are never that high to begin with or whether people just like to be scared and will settle for whatever thrills are on offer, I just don’t know. The bottom line is that horror movies have a solid fan base and will always enjoy a slice of the box office pie. For this reason, Valentine was not the first film of its kind and it will certainly not be the last.

If Valentine has a moral, it is that children can be cruel – but not nearly as cruel as some movie producers.

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      And I quote...
    "Roses are red and violets are blue, if this movie scares you, then you’re an idiot..."
    - Peter O'Connor
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-725
    • TV:
          Sony WEGA 80cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DA50ES
    • Speakers:
          Accusound ASC160
    • Centre Speaker:
          Accusound ASC160
    • Surrounds:
          Accusound ASC160
    • Subwoofer:
          Accusound SW150
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