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Valentine Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Valentine Blu Ray Poster

Directed by Jamie Blanks
Written by Donna Powers, Wayne Powers, Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts
2001, 96 minutes, Rated R
Released on February 12th, 2019

Starring:
Denise Richards as Paige Prescott
David Boreanaz as Adam Carr
Marley Shelton as Kate Davies
Jessica Capshaw as Dorothy Wheeler
Jessica Cauffiel as Lily Voight
Katherine Heigl as Shelley Fisher
Hedy Burress as Ruthie Walker

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Review:

In 1988, at the Valentine’s dance, geeky sixth-grader Jeremy Melton approaches five popular girls asking each one to dance and all but one shoots him down. Jeremy’s festive time turns into a nightmare when an intimate moment is interrupted by the school bullies and the girl involved falsely claims he attacked her. He is summarily humiliated in front of the crowd. Everybody laughs – everybody but Jeremy. His life goes into a downward spiral after this and he blames his classmates for all of it. Thirteen years later, the young women have reunited and are preparing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a grand party. They each receive anonymous death threats via greeting card and as the big day approaches, a masked killer begins a violent murder spree. Is Jeremy back to get revenge? The ladies certainly think so. The pressing questions include what does he look like as an adult and is he one of the guys they are currently dating?

Paige is the hot one, Kate is the smart one, Lily is the fun one and Dorothy is the girl who betrayed Jeremy. They are all on the lookout for love, but live in a bubble untouched by the ills of society. Only one mentions having a job and yet she never goes to work. Dorothy is hosting the upcoming party and is eager for the ladies to meet her new live-in boyfriend. Kate is piecing things together with Adam, her on-again off-again beau. Paige takes her out to keep up her spirits, but ends up flirting with the sole interesting guy they meet. Lily invites the group to her boyfriend Max’s new art show and trouble follows. The police are not having much luck in their investigation and encourage the friends to stick together. A big party is just what they need and the killer takes advantage of having everyone together for a memorable night.

Valentine is a love letter to 1980s slasher films with the polish of the ‘90s post-Scream revival. Director Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) delivers a briskly paced feminist thriller that is everything it needs to be to win the hearts of genre fans. His silent villain is a Cupid-masked killer who sports a black trench coat and carries a very large knife. It took four writers to nail down the formula and while that feels excessive, they succeed in telling a fun story loaded with genre tropes and enjoyable murder set-pieces. Cinematographer Rick Bota (House on Haunted Hill) stages some inventive camera angles and fills the image with bright colors and rich detail. Blanks generates many suspenseful moments as we work our way closer to the big reveal in the final scene.

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Denise Richards (Wild Things) stars as Paige, the sexy leader of the bunch who is a constant flirt yet never seems to have a boyfriend. She doesn’t really need one and is more than capable of entertaining herself. Love would be nice, but friendship is what really matters. Matching Paige’s depth in character is the intelligent and resourceful Kate, played by Marley Shelton (Planet Terror). Kate has a complicated relationship with Adam, currently on a break but trying to get back together. David Boreanaz (Angel) plays Adam as a sympathetic yet troubled guy on his best behavior to win a second chance with Kate.

Jessica Cauffiel (Urban Legends: Final Cut) plays Lily, the fun one who is always looking for a good time. She has great chemistry with the other ladies and injects some levity into the serious scenario. Jessica Capshaw (Grey’s Anatomy) co-stars as Dorothy, the wealthy one trying to find love but is surrounded by opportunistic jerks. She is a sympathetic character with some great moments with her friends. Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) appears in the intro as med student Shelley Fisher, the fifth member of the group. She doesn’t get a lot of screen time but does a fine job getting the picture off to a rousing start.

Where Scream was self-referential and frequently funny, Valentine approaches the content from a more serious standpoint. There are light-hearted moments to be sure, but nobody winks at the camera or comes off as too cool for the material. This is just a fun ride that knows exactly what kind of movie it wants to be. The characters are smart and resourceful and more importantly, decent to each other. There is no shallow bickering or backstabbing, just four innocent women targeted by a psychopath. The film received an R rating from the ratings board, but the studio called for additional cuts before release, citing the political climate at the time. Fans will rejoice that the title is finally coming to Blu-ray, but be aware this is the same theatrical cut that was previously available on DVD. Otherwise this is a solid disc loaded with special features that make it an easy addition to your collection.

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Video and Audio:

Valentine makes its HD debut with a gorgeous new 2K scan of the original film elements. The 2.35:1 aspect ratio is filled with vibrant color and rich black levels and there is a lot of small-object detail throughout.

Audio options include a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that packs a punch. Music and effects cues are full and well-balanced with the dialogue mix, keeping things clean and free from distortion.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

There are two audio commentaries with the director, including a newly recorded session featuring fellow filmmaker Don Coscarelli (Phantasm), moderated by author Peter Bracke (Crystal Lake Memories). This is a conversational discussion on the making of the picture and there are a lot of memorable anecdotes. Coscarelli asks as many questions as Bracke and Blanks is up to the challenge of answering everything thoughtfully.

The second commentary features a solo Blanks recorded in 2001 for the DVD release. This is a fast-moving track filled with production tales and lots of interesting information. He has a lot to say and knows how to tell a story, making this an entertaining track.

In a 2018 interview titled Thrill of the Drill (10 minutes), actress Denise Richards reflects on the good times she had making this movie. She loves her director and has nothing but nice things to say about her co-stars. She talks about the appeal of the strong female characters and also breaks down shooting the hot tub scene.

The Final Girl (14 minutes) is another new segment, this time with actress Marley Shelton, a horror fan who loves the role of Final Girl. She also had a blast filming this picture and shares her memories happily.

Actress Jessica Cauffiel has a lot to say in Shot Through the Heart (23 minutes), an in-depth conversation that reflects on the project fondly. She shares the sentiment that this was a fun shoot and she bonded with her co-stars instantly. Over the years Cauffiel has been surprised by the fan base for the picture and appreciates this discovery dearly.

Writing Valentine (65 minutes) is an extended conversation between screenwriters Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts who were brought in for rewrites to punch up the project. They discuss their writing process, character beats, themes, motivations and other aspects of storytelling. The segment is a deep dive into the work and is a welcome addition definitely worth checking out.

Editor Steve Mirkovich (Prince of Darkness) reflects on his early career and honing his craft in Editing Valentine (28 minutes). He talks about helping bring the director’s vision to life and establishing pacing and tone. He shares his thoughts on the evolution of audience expectations and how the work has changed over the years.

Scoring Valentine (12 minutes) catches up with composer Don Davis, who enjoys working in the genre. He reveals how he approaches the material, preferring to write for situations rather than developing character melodies.

Behind-the-scenes footage (114 minutes) comes courtesy of Jamie Blanks’ personal archive and offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective of life on the set. There is a lot of material here and most of it is interesting. Highlights include rehearsing and shooting various death scenes.

A vintage EPK “Making of” featurette (8 minutes) is pretty standard stuff, including interviews with members of the cast and crew, clips from the film and some behind-the-scenes material.

A collection of extended interviews (17 minutes) from the EPK are offered here and include interviews with the cast and crew and some additional making-of material shot on set.

Deleted scenes (9 minutes) provide a few additional character beats that were cut for pacing, but the real draw here are the extended death scenes that were cut before release. Picture quality is low, but it is nice to see the content.

A music video by the band Orgy for the song “Opticon” (3 minutes) features clips from the movie.

The teaser spot and theatrical trailer are included, paired with a collection of five TV spots.

A photo gallery (51 images) includes publicity shots, lobby cards and international poster art.

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Grades:

Movie: Fourstars Valentine Blu Ray Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourandahalfstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Fourstars
Overall: Fourstars

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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