The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Flick Overdoses on Teen Slasher Clich


1 1/2 Stars

Remember "Scream"? You know, that movie where Neve Campbell is chased by the knife-wielding maniac? Perhaps you will also recall the film's sequels, "Scream 2" and "Scream 3"?

Do you remember "I Know What You Did Last Summer," which daringly mixed up the "Scream" formula in '97 by substituting Jennifer Love Hewitt in Campbell's place? Well, if you do, there's absolutely no reason to see Jamie Blanks' new film, "Valentine," a horrible display of Hollywood cashing-in.

Everything about "Valentine" is re-hash. Jeremy Melton, the dorkiest "loser" in school, is savagely rejected by his class's most popular girls. At their junior high's Valentine's Day dance, he is unmercifully beaten by classmates while the girls look on in glee.

Thirteen years later, after everyone has forgotten about Jeremy and that fateful dance, someone wearing a mask and a black cloak is stalking the girls, sending them threatening Valentines.

This is all you really need to know. You can already tell that this is a complete rip-off of a movie, can't you? Well, I will spell it out for you. "Valentine" is absolutely, unequivocally wretched.

There is no plot, the acting is nonexistent, it's not in the least bit scary and, worst of all, it's not even slightly campy.

There really is no excuse for "Valentine" to be this bad. With four screenwriters and a director (Blanks) who has gained a reputation within the industry for his extensive knowledge of the horror genre, "Valentine" should be decent. But it fails in every way.

"Valentine"'s first and most unforgivable evil is that Blanks does nothing new. The girls are busty and never know which way to run. The men are troubled and have shady pasts. Blanks steals the mysterious masked killer from "Scream" and "Halloween." Even the revenge premise is ripped from both "Carrie" and "Prom Night."

The cast also leaves much to be desired. All five of the film's heroines look like anemic rats, and sound like they are chewing on their faces when they talk. Even the usually subtle, sexy Denise Richards ("Wild Things") who plays the flick's mega-bitch, is a huge disappointment.

There's nothing remotely funny in "Valentine" to keep the audience's attention as the script falls into familiar territory. Its attempts at kinky sexual humor fail miserably, and the only time I cracked a smile was watching Marley Shelton's Kate overreact to finding out who the killer is -- which was hilarious for the wrong reasons.

This film presents the audience with characters we wish would die, and doesn't even reward us with many gory deaths. "Valentine" isn't "Scream." It isn't "I Know What You Did Last Summer." It isn't even "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer." It's just terrible.

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