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VALENTINE ($20) is a slick, but not particularly original thriller about a masked killer stalking pretty coeds. As you might have guessed, VALENTINE takes the HALLOWEEN premise, gives it a new twist and moves it to another holiday. The film starts out with a social reject finding even more rejection at a junior high school dance. After asking all the pretty girls to dance, he ends up pairing off with "the fat girl" who is also something of a social reject. However, when the popular kids discover her in the company of this particular social reject, even "the fat girl" turns on him, claiming that he attacked her. The dance ends with the social reject suffering humiliation and a severe beating.

Flash forward a number of years- the pretty girls are all beautiful young women and even "the fat girl" has lost weight and transformed herself into something of a babe. Unfortunately, all the women involved with that incident at the school dance, so many years ago, begin to receive nasty valentine cards from an unknown party. The cards are followed by the appearance of the unknown party in a cherub mask, who "loves" the ladies to death. The eye candy cast of VALENTINE features Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Daniel Cosgrove, Jessica Cauffiel and Katherine Heigl.

Warner Home Video has made VALENTINE available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. The transfer is nothing short of stunning; it truly makes the most of Rick Bota’s glossy cinematography. Just about every frame is picture perfect, reproducing with tremendous clarity and detail. Colors are deeply saturated and the flesh tones are incredibly appealing. Not surprisingly there are plenty of blood reds and valentine reds utilized in the film’s color scheme. No matter the intensity, all of the hues are flawlessly rendered. Black are a perfect pitch black, plus the image produces an outstanding level of shadow detail and depth. Digital compression artifacts are completely disguised throughout the presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is well mixed and makes aggressive use of all of the discrete channels. Sound effects are cleanly defined and move about the soundstage in a convincing manner. The entire soundstage has a spacious quality, with no signs of compression amongst any of the sonic elements. Dialogue is cleanly recoded and reproduced with maximum intelligibility. Pop music is always a big part of movies intended for a youthful audience, and the particular mix implements it quite well, without the music drowning out anything else. The bass channel is solid enough, enhancing both music and sound effects. A French 5.1 channel soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Sound effects serve to enhance the basic interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Director Jamie Blanks is onboard for a running audio commentary that is rich in production detail. Also included on the DVD is the Orgy music video for the song Opticon, an eight-minute "behind-the-scenes" featurette, a theatrical trailer and cast filmographies.

As a DVD, VALENTINE looks and sounds great. As a slasher movie, it doesn’t break any new ground. If you are in the mood for a slick looking horror movie populated with lots of pretty faces, VALENTINE will certainly fit the bill.




DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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