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Valentine (February 27/00)

Scary horror flicks seemingly went out the window with the emergence of the self-referential horror movie, a disheartening turn of events that is entirely due to the wild success of Wes Craven's Scream. Valentine is the latest Scream clone, and on a stand-point based purely on entertainment, it's not bad. It'll probably keep you entertained for the entire 90-minute running time, but it won't do much else.

Starring TV's Angel David Boreanaz (while I'm on the subject, how the hell do you pronounce that guy's name? Bore-e-an-az? Bore-an-az? Wrestling with that conundrum provided my only intellectual stimulation during the movie), Valentine follows the exploits of a killer dressed entirely in black and sporting a cherub mask as he/she kills various beautiful girls using semi-creative methods. Denise Richards and Marley Shelton co-star as successful 20-something friends who made fun of a nerdy kid in the sixth grade, who may or may not be the cherub killer back for revenge.

As directed by Jamie Blanks (he did another Scream clone, Urban Legend. Apparently this guy's biggest ambition in life is to be endlessly compared to Craven after he went soft), Valentine is, as I said, entertaining. The murders come at a brisk pace and are quasi-interesting. But really, how many times can you watch a helpless girl run screaming through a house before you start rolling your eyes? On a few occasions, Valentine seems to be going for a parody vibe, by having the victim run up the stairs instead of out of the house. As we all know by now from watching the Scream trilogy, if you're being stalked by a killer in your own house, you're supposed to run out the front door and not up the stairs. I'm not sure if Blanks had intended those scenes to come off the way they did, but in any case, it's very difficult to take a slasher pic seriously these days.

The performances are fine, although I'm not sure that this was the best choice for a break into movies for Boreanaz. Not much is required of the actresses other than looking pretty and they excel at that.

Valentine, like all the other Scream clones that have popped up recently, is an innocuous way to spend 90 minutes at the movies. Which is pretty ironic, considering how shocking horror movies used to be.

out of

© David Nusair