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Valentine's Day horror movie review: 'Valentine' (2001)

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What’s Valentine’s Day without a good scare? There are several horror movies that fit the bill for a Valentine’s Day themed horror fest, but only one stands out as the ultimate “What not to do on Valentine’s Day” film.

"Valentine", a 2001 film starring Denise Richards ("Wild Things" and "Starship Troopers"), Katherine Heigl ("Knocked up" and "The Ugly Truth"), and David Boreanaz ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Bones"), starts off with the typical Sixth Grade Valentine’s Day dance. Any of you who have been through Sixth Grade may be able to attest to the fact that sometimes kids can be cruel. Each group congregates in their own little area. The geeky kids don’t mix with the jocks.

A young boy, Jeremy Melton, is desperate for a dance. He is awkward and shy, but he approaches several girls, two of which outright reject him in a humiliating way. The other girl tells him she will dance with him later. Finally, Dorothy, a heavy-set girl sitting on the bleachers, takes Jeremy up on his offer. A little while later, they are under the bleachers kissing when they are caught by a group of the jocks. Dorothy’s reaction is to push Jeremy away and feign that he attacked her. This leads to a humiliating scene for Jeremy ending with him nearly naked and getting kicked by all the boys in the middle of the dance floor.

Jump ahead about ten years, and all the kids involved are grown up now. One at a time, these people who played some part in Jeremy’s humiliation are given unusually gruesome Valentine’s Day cards and subsequently murdered by a silent person wearing a cherub mask, reminiscent of a mask we see one of the students wearing back at the sixth grade dance.

There are several scenes in this movie that are very well done. One example of this is the art show. The main setting in the gallery is a maze designed with video screens and moving walls. This is a visually captivating scene and places the viewer in a very distracted area, but it leads nicely into Cupid’s next kill. Lily Voight is behind the scenes making out with the artist when she finds out he wanted her to participate in a little ménage a trios. She is not interested and leaves.

As she races through the maze, the walls shift to block her in and suddenly… arrow in the stomach. Two arrows later and she has fallen through the exit door and down several flights of stairs into a trash bin. This is a sad end and yet fitting justice from the eyes behind the cherub mask. The visuals in the maze are both disconcerting and fitting as the scene plays out.

This movie is a great murder mystery/psychological thriller. There is plenty of suspense and scares as well as death galore. If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day horror movie with a twist that will knock your cherub mask off, check out "Valentine". Don’t watch it alone.

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