Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I watch lotsa slashers,
How 'bout you?
Relax, relax...this review/synopsis won't be entirely in rhyme. This week's screamfest is Valentine, a better-than-average slasher flick starring David Boreanaz and Denise Richards. Will it leave me heartbroken? Will I fall in love with it? Read on, and share the experience with me! SPOILERS, blah blah blah...you know the routine.
Our tale begins much like the movie Prom Night, with a prank played on a boy that leads to tragic consequences. The boy in question, Jeremy Melton, asks 4 girls to dance with him at a school dance. The first girl, Shelley, calls him a loser. The second girl, Lily, makes a face, then turns away. The third girl, Paige, says that she'd rather be boiled alive. Oh, and the fourth girl, Kate, tells him that maybe they can dance later.
Discouraged, Jeremy spots a girl named Dorothy sitting off to the side. He asks her to dance, and Dorothy finally agrees. They wind up under the bleachers at some point, where Jeremy gets to experience his first makeout session. When some bullies find them, Dorothy tries to appear "cool" by saying that Jeremy was sexually assaulting her. Ah, the wonder years!
The bullies dump a bowl of punch over poor Jeremy, then strip him down to his boxers and beat and kick the poor kid, while the other kids at the dance just stand by and watch. Someone at the dance is wearing a Cupid mask, which becomes a key memory for little Jeremy. Then the title comes up. Oooooh....
13 years later, one of the girls, named Shelley, is having a date with a complete idiot named Jason. He refers to himself in the 3rd-person quite a bit, and has a wad of spinach in his teeth the size of Godzilla. She mentions it, and he further embarrasses himself by asking her to pay for her own meal, then expecting to have sex with her. When Shelley turns him down and leaves, he quickly eyes another woman and sets about trying to seduce her.
Shelley(played by my television-girlfriend, Katherine Heigl...oh, hubba!) decides to head back to school for a quick study session. See, she's a med student, and "studying" means heading into a lab to dissect a human cadaver. Before she can make her first incision in "Chad"'s abdomen, though, a noise gets her attention.
She leaves Chad to explore the hallway, and heads into a locker room. She gets the heck scared out of her by another student jumping out at her from around a corner. When he leaves, Shelley finds a Valentine's Day card taped to a locker. Even weirder, it's for her. The card reads, "The journey of love is an arduous trek, My love grows for you as you bleed from your neck." How sweet. There's even a pull-tab, to make an arm stab a figure in the neck.
Disturbed and confused, Shelley heads back to the operating room to finish carving up Chad. Now, I have to interject at this point, because even Mr. Magoo would've been able to tell that thee body was switched. Shelley doesn't notice, and she's the only one who jumps in alarm when the stomach moves at the briefest contact with her scalpel. She backs away against a closet, and Chad the Corpse falls out of it at her feet.
Seeing Chad on the floor suddenly brings her to the realization that, uh, there's a PERSON somewhere behind her threatening her safety. Shelley spins around, but the examination table is now empty. Oops. Shelley grabs her scalpel and starts to search the room, swinging the blade in a wide arc. She approaches the door, but now finds herself locked in. Another door, however, is wide open, so she heads toward it.
The killer expects that to happen, and tries to grab her from his hiding place behind a curtain. Shelley wriggles out of her assailant's grasp, and starts jogging down the corridor, in the direction of an elevator. The killer, dressed in a black overcoat and the Cupid mask from the school dance, emerges from the lab and follows Shelley.
She decides to give up on the elevator, and takes the stairs. Uh, did she forget that she's holding a scalpel? Cut the douchebag, so we can end the movie early and take a nap! I need a nap. Shelley gets chased into the morgue, where she finds herself facing numerous bodybags. Gee, which one will she hide in???
The killer enters a few moments later, and stops short when he sees all of the bodybags lined up in front of him. Cupid unzips the first 2, but gets frustrated when he sees corpses in them. He speeds up the process by plunging his knife into the next corpse, and the one after that. This makes Cupid's job much easier, and he quickly starts to make his way through the room by swiftly stabbing bodies.
He thinks he sees one of the bags shift slightly and creeps up on it. He unzips the body bag, yanks on the hair, and exposes Shelley's frightened face. She screams just before he draws his large blade across her throat, then he rezips the bag. As his nose bleeds through the mask's breathing holes, Shelley's blood trickles out of the bag through a tube that leads to a drain in the floor...
Paige(the lovely Denise Richards...if I ever fake-divorce Katherine Heigl, I'll make her my next fantasy wife!)) and Kate are out on the town, for a night of miserable, silly speed dating. I never understood the trend of speed dating...I mean, how does a 30-second chat help you to figure out who you'd be compatible with? If anything, I think it would make getting to know the person that much harder! Come to think of it, I'll bet speed dating was a concept thought up by screenwriters who needed a way to get their characters to meet each other faster in the scripts...
Wait, was I still watching Valentine? Shit! Okay, so Kate and Paige are going to try their luck at speed dating, but Kate's not sure she wants to. See, Kate's in a relationship with a guy named Adam(David Boreanaz), but they're "on a break" while he tries to get his alcoholism under control. Gee, I don't know: I think a little alcohol problem is a better alternative than resorting to SPEED DATING.
Let's meet some of our lucky dates! There's a guy who secretly wants to date his mother; the guy who assumes that his last girlfriend left him because she MUST be a secret lesbian; another guy who can't stop ranting about the greatness of the 49ers; a creepy Bible-thumper who could easily star in his own slasher flick; one nervous nerd who can't utter a syllable to Kate; and Brian, a bug-eyed guy that Paige steals from Kate before they get past the opening introductions. Yeah, speed dating looks like it has a high success rate...
After the trauma ends, Kate gets a call on her Hulk-sized cell phone from Dorothy. Through Dorothy, she and Paige hear about Shelley's murder. They all meet up at the graveside service, and Kate's boyfriend Adam tries to be her shoulder to cry on. They hug, and Kate gets excited when she spots a newspaper article that Adam wrote on the front page of the newspaper. Her joy is replaced by disappointment, though, when she sees a bottle of alcohol under the newspaper. Adam tells her it's a gift for another reporter, but the mood is broken. They almost make dinner plans, but she tells him that she'll call.
Dorothy, Paige and Lily catch up to Kate, and immediately press her for info about Adam. The interrogation is interrupted by Detective Vaughn, one of the cops investigating the murder. He asks them about her social life, before leaving his card with Paige. Oh, and he mentions that her date from the previous night, Jason Marquette, is also missing. Hmmm, I wonder how many other male characters in the film will have the same initials as Jeremy Melton? The girls all exchange mysterious glances.
Dorothy goes home and picks up that day's mail. Among the bills and junk mail she finds a red envelope. Her card reads, "Roses are red, Violets are blue, They need dental records to identify you!", and it's signed JM. The doorbell rings, and Dorothy comes face-to-face with Campbell, a shady charmer she's been seeing for only a few weeks. Campbell tells her that he needs a place to stay, because his roommate abandoned their apartment and everything they had was taken. Dorothy takes pity on him, and tells the family maid to set up a guest room.
After Campbell departs with the maid, we meet Kim, the flaky young Asian wife of Dorothy's dad. Dorothy makes a few cracks about Kim's age, Kim retorts with a catty comment about her sexual activity(or lack thereof), and Dorothy comes back with a remark about Kim being a high-class hooker. The mini-catfight is stopped by Dorothy's father, played by David Rasche(star of the underrated 1980's television series "Sledge Hammer"). This movie just got bumped up a notch, 2 notches if he, at any point, utters the phrase, "Trust me, I know what I'm doing!" before whipping out a handgun.
Alas, no more Sledge. Instead, we get a shower scene involving Katie. Whoa, was I complaining? She gets a weird feeling and gets out of the shower to search the apartment. When Kate finds nothing and gets back into the bathroom, the water won't go through the pipes. She calls the landlord, then decides to rinse out her shampoo in the toilet.
Wouldn't you know it, the phone rings again after she commits to this idea. Kate answers the phone expecting to speak to the landlord, but no one answers her. As she ponders the mystery call, Kate also notices that her front door is wide open. She steps out into the hall, and hears the elevator door opening and closing repeatedly. When she gets to that end of the hallway, Kate finds a Cupid mask on the ground, keeping the elevator from shutting. She picks up the mask and examines it.
A loud noise from behind Kate makes her jump. It's a scuzzy-looking guy named Gary, one of her neighbors. He keeps saying things to her that rhyme, which gets annoying REALLLLLLY FAST. Stuff like, "You look great, Kate," and "How about a date, Kate?" Her reply to all of the rhyming cracked me the Hell up: "You're scary, Gary."
Lily and Paige, meanwhile, are watching videotapes from a dating service. They have fun mocking a guy named Lance, when there's a knock at the door. Lily finds a box of candy and a rose, but there's no human presence to explain the presence of the, uh, presents.
Oh, and there's another creepy card..."'Tis a well-known fact that beauty is skin deep, Savor the taste...you are what you eat." Lily eats one of the chocolates, revealing that they're filled with maggots. Oh, and the card is signed "JM", in case there was any doubt in your mind...
After gagging a maggot or two, Lily and Paige try to figure out who the initials belong to. It's mind-boggling, how many "JM"'S they dated....John McCrite, Jeff Mallick, Jake Matheson...they pretty much dated a small country's population. After exhausting the population of the East Coast, Paige mentions Jeremy Melton. Lily doesn't remember him at first, but when she does, they both agree that he was just a creepy little dork.
Lily, Paige and Kate all meet up at an art gallery. They spot Jason there("Jason really likes you!"...remember him?), but he quickly disappears after giving Paige a dirty look. Lily introduces her friends to Max, the artist whose show they're attending, as well as her boyfriend. Paige mingles a bit, and meets Campbell, Dorothy's boy-toy. Oh, and we get to meet the sexy woman in charge of the exhibit, Amy.
Amy interrupts a makeout session in the art exhibit/maze, and Lily discovers that Max wanted a menage a trois. She breaks up with him on the spot, and quickly gets lost in the maze. Cupid starts toying with her, and then fires an arrow in her abdomen. She staggers backwards, and Cupid fires another arrow that lands next to the first one. The impact sends Lily crashing through a fire exit, where she sails over a banister into an open dumpster. Her corpse rattles the dumpster, and the lid slams down on her.
Campbell is found by Dorothy having an intense conversation with a woman named Ruthie. Ruthie is Campbell's last investor, and it turns out that he cons rich women out of money, then vanishes. Dorothy pulls Campbell away from her, but Ruthie threatens to pop up again.
Kate hooks up with Adam again, and she tells him about all the weird stuff that's been happening to her and her friends lately. He listens, but when Adam makes a move on her, Kate turns him down. He agrees, but only after a long pause.
Kate, Dorothy and Paige are questioned again by Detective Vaughn. He shows them more cards Jeremy sent, and they tell him about the threatening cards they all received. After promising to give him all of the cards and gifts Jeremy sent them, he lets them leave.
Outside, Dorothy tells Paige and Kate the truth about the Valentine's Day Dance. When they ask why she would lie about Jeremy attacking her, she confesses that she was embarrassed by her weight back then, and didn't want to b e shunned the way Jeremy was by their peers.
Later that night, Kate does an Internet search for Jeremy Melton, but it yields no results. A hand grabs her from behind, but it's only Adam. He reminds her of their dinner date, and she tells him all about Jeremy Melton. He suggests that they leave town until it blows over, but Kate laughs it off. He kisses her at her front door, and they part ways.
At Vaughn's office, he tells the girls everything he managed to find out about Jeremy. He recovered from his injuries that night, only to end up in reform school. That was followed by a stay in a juvenile hall, then a mental hospital. His parents died in a fire, and he disappeared. Vaughn then shows them some computer-enhanced pictures of what Jeremy might look like as an adult, but mentions that with plastic surgery and enough work ON his hair and body, he could look nothing like what they remembered.
Then Vaughn starts to go over their relationship histories, to see if Jeremy might already be among them. He spends most of the time asking Paige about her dating life. He also makes Dorothy realize that she knows almost nothing about Campbell, including his full name. She storms out. Kate reveals what she knows about Adam's background, but she realizes that none of it's ever been verified by anyone besides him. She leaves too.
Alone, Detective Vaughn tries to make a pass at Paige. He claims that she's seducing him with her sexuality, and she insults him then leaves.
Cupid shows up in Kate's apartment, and grabs her iron, which was left on. He sneaks into her bathroom, where Scary Gary is trying on Kate's underwear. Cupid smacks him in the head with the hot iron, then presses it against Gary's face. Cupid finishes him off with several swings of the iron.
Outside, Kate finds Adam waiting for him. He gives her a chocolate heart lollipop, and she gives him a "coupon" for some future TLC. They make a date for Dorothy's Valentine party, then part ways. In the apartment, Kate spies the iron, but it's unplugged and cleaned up. She hears a noise from the next room, but it's only Paige. Dorothy calls them, upset because Campbell was questioned by Vaughn. Then Vaughn calls, to let them know that he picked up Jason for questioning.
Dorothy finds Campbell fixing her hot tub, and gives him a Valentine gift, an expensive watch. They kiss, then try to make love, but Campbell can't get it up. When Dorothy leaves to take a shower, Campbell surprises her with a gold pendant. He then tells her that he'll be late for the party because of a business meeting.
In the next scene, Campbell is up to something. He gives someone on the phone Dorothy's father's name and personal information, and tries to steal his entire fortune. Dorothy calls him on the intercom after he closes the phone, and asks him to check the hot water in the basement.
Campbell goes to the basement to check the pilot light, and fails to spot Cupid coming in behind him. The minute he gets the furnace lit again, Cupid plants an axe in his back. I guess now we'll never find out if Campbell was his first or last name.
At the party, Kate finds Paige waiting for Brian, the speed dating guy, and Dorothy drowning her sorrows in the kitchen when Campbell doesn't show up. Adam walks in and whisks Kate away after a few tense words with Dorothy, who is a little tipsy. On the dance floor, Adam redeems his TLC coupon.
Dancing alone, Paige hooks up with Brian, who promises her a surprise gift upstairs. The surprise turns out to be his penis. When he asks her to "wax it", she ties him down on the bed, blindfolds him, then pours a large quantity of hot candlewax over his crotch. While he's writhing in agony, Paige leaves.
Downstairs, Ruthie crashes the party and demands to speak to Campbell. She also says that the necklace he gave Dorothy belongs to her. Paige and Kate escort Ruthie to the door, while partygoers watch with big, goofy grins plastered on their faces. Paige abandons Kate to go off on her own. Max then crashes the party, and tells Kate that Lily never arrived in L.A. As they walk away, Ruthie sneaks back into the mansion.
Ruthie finds Dorothy's room, and goes through her jewelry. After stealing a few items, she creeps into a deserted billiard room, where she finds Cupid dragging around the maid's corpse. Cupid finally notices Ruthie, and pulls out his knife. She runs away down a hall, and darts into a sauna. Cupid looks into the sauna, walks away...then looks again. When Cupid leaves the second time, Ruthie realizes that she's sharing her hiding place with a corpse(possibly Campbell, but it's hard to be sure, with the shadowy room, and the fact that it's a pretty quick glimpse) Ruthie covers her mouth to hold in the scream, then slowly creeps out of her hiding place.
She finds the hall empty, and tiptoes toward the open door leading back to the rest of the house. Cupid then leaps at her from behind, and throws her through a glass shower door. Bleeding and scratched, she narrowly avoids hitting several jagged shards of glass near her face, but Cupid grabs her again. He slams her neck into the shards, killing her with a swift, brutal jerk.
Back at the party, Dorothy and Kate discuss the fact that Lily never showed up in L.A. They decide to find Paige, to see if she's heard from Lily at all. Then they hear from Vaughn that Jason was released after questioning, due to a lack of evidence. He advises the girls to stay with groups of people until he gets there.
Kate finds Adam getting drunk as a skunk, and he chases her into a crowd of people dancing. Dorothy watches, but says nothing to him. Paige, meanwhile, has changed into a bikini and decided to use the hot tub. If this were in 3D, I think the sight of Denise Richards in a black bikini might damn near kill me.
Anyway, she slides into the water, gets all wet, then drinks some wine. Cupid watches her through a VERY steamed-up window in the door, then enters the room. Denise turns around, but he slips away unseen...however, she finds a rose next to her wineglass.
She gets out of the tub, and starts calling out for him to stop hiding. As Paige looks for him among the various plants in the room, Cupid creeps behind her. He grabs her by the throat when she turns back, lifts her in the air, then throws her back into the hot tub. Strong guy!
She tries to stand up, but Cupid has sealed her in with the glass cover. She bangs on the glass in a futile effort, then Cupid brings out a drill and starts trying to drill her through the glass. I kinda have the same idea, but the drill is more of a metaphor for...uh, never mind. I'll pour it into a fanfic later.
Cupid circles the hot tub, and stabs her in the shoulder with the drill. As Paige's blood starts to fill the hot tub, Cupid finally lifts off the glass cover, then finishes her off by throwing the drill into the water with her. As Paige dies by electrocution, the power throughout the house goes out.
Kate and Dorothy watch as the nice, safe crowd leaves the party en masse. They theorize that Paige is in the hot tub(lucky guess!), and that Adam is probably in the wine cellar. Dorothy suggests that Adam could very well be Jeremy Melton, and Kate responds that Campbell could as well. They have a mini-catfight right there, and Dorothy stomps away, ignoring Kate's attempt to patch things up between them.
Kate gets on her phone to call Vaughn, then hears it ringing nearby. She walks around outside to track down the sound, and finds the detective's phone in a pond near the house. Adam's IOU note also floats past her in the water, but when she reaches for it, the detective;s severed head pops up, and Kate runs away, screaming.
She gets back to the house, which is now eerily quiet, and fails to see Adam on the stairs, moving in her direction as quietly as possible. As Kate gets to the middle of the room, Adam calls out to her. He just about admits to being Jeremy, making cryptic comments like, "It's me" , and telling her that "Dorothy's a big girl," when she brings up looking for her friend. He even asks her to dance with him, and she does.
While they dance, Adam tells Kate that she is the most important person in his world, and that no one else matters to him in the least. Kate answers him with an injury to the crotch, then she takes off at a brisk sprint.
At the top of the stairs, Kate ducks into a room to look for Dorothy and Paige, but Adam interrupts her search. Adam tries to soothe her, but Kate runs away agin, and stumbles upon Paige's body in the sauna. She whacks Adam over the head with a wine bottle, then finds Ruthie's bloody corpse in the bathroom.
Kate gets to the study, tries to call the police,then grabs a pistol from the extensive collection of guns found in the room. She starts up the stairs again, holding the gun out in front of her body with both hands.Then Cupid lurches at her from the side, and they both go flying down the stairs. Kate sits up next to Cupid, who sits up 2 seconds later. Adam tears away the mask, revealing Dorothy underneath.
Kate embraces Adam, who calls the police. Adam tells her that the motive for murder was that Dorothy was lonely and angry, and learned to hide it. He continues to hold her, and Kate doesn't realize that his nose has started to bleed onto her. As an ear-piercing scream is heard, the credits roll. THE END
Boy, this one left me with a lot of mixed feelings. One the one hand, the actors are good for once, and the body count is impressive. But the ridiculous ending and the fact that they cribbed much of the film from My Bloody Valentine(the original one, obviously...) was a bit disappointing. Also, what was up with that Jason guy turning up at the art show? And why was he glaring at Paige? I'd almost imagine that much of the movie wound up on the cutting room floor. Still, it was a fun one, so I'll give it a solid 4 killer trees out of 5. Heck, based on the production values, I'd even watch a sequel!
So what did this Valentine give me(aside from a broken heart)?
-I need a Katherine Heigl in my life. Lordy, she is attractive!
-Women tend to date groups of guys with the same initials...anyone out there seeking a new MW in their life? Call me...
-If your lover gets nosebleeds, he probably wants to kill you and all of your friends.
Coming up next week, I'll be watching something called Splatter University. Sounds like a family-friendly Victorian romance, eh? Maybe I'll strike gold, and it'll be a comedic jackpot. See you next week! And remember: "Jason likes your dress!"