Valentine (film)

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A white mask against the background of a dark red rose
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJamie Blanks
Written by
Based onValentine
by Tom Savage
Produced byDylan Sellers
CinematographyRick Bota
Edited bySteve Mirkovich
Music byDon Davis
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • February 2, 2001 (2001-02-02)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia[2]
Budget$29 million[3]
Box office$36.7 million[3]

Valentine is a 2001 slasher film directed by Jamie Blanks and starring Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, and Katherine Heigl. Loosely based on the novel of the same title by Tom Savage, the film follows a group of women in San Francisco who are stalked by a killer wearing a Cupid mask in the days leading up to Valentine's Day.

Released theatrically on February 2, 2001, the film was critically panned, with critics deeming it too similar to 1980s slasher films. The film earned $36.7 million on a $29 million budget, making it a box-office disappointment. The film's accolades, however, included nomination for three Teen Choice Awards, including in the Choice Movie — Horror/Thriller category.


At a junior high school St. Valentine's Day dance in 1988 San Francisco, Jeremy Melton, an outcast student, asks four popular girls to dance. The first three girls, Shelley, Lily, and Paige, reject him cruelly, while the fourth girl, Kate, politely responds, "Maybe later". Their rich friend Dorothy accepts Jeremy's invitation, and they proceed to make out. When the school bully Joe and his pals discover them, Dorothy falsely claims Jeremy sexually assaulted her. Joe and his pals severely beat him and his nose bleeds from distress. Jeremy is expelled and transferred to reform school and juvenile hall, due to Dorothy testifying for unwanted sexual advances; he then ended up in a mental institution.

In the present, Shelley, now a medical student, receives a threatening Valentine's card and is attacked by someone in a trench coat and Cupid mask. She has her throat slit by the killer. The killer's nose bleeds as she dies.

At Shelley's funeral, Kate, Lily, Paige, and Dorothy are questioned. Paige, Lily, and Dorothy receive threatening Valentine's cards next, each signed "JM". Meanwhile, Dorothy's boyfriend, Campbell, loses his apartment and temporarily moves in with her at her father's mansion. The girls attend the exhibit of Lily's artist boyfriend Max and meet Campbell's bitter ex-girlfriend Ruthie, who accuses him of being a con artist. The killer shoots Lily repeatedly with arrows and kills her. The police disclose that Jeremy's parents were engulfed in a house fire, and Kate finds all information about Jeremy's old persona erased. Dorothy admits to Kate and Paige that she lied about Jeremy to avoid embarrassment. Meanwhile, Kate's neighbor Gary breaks into her apartment to steal her underwear. The killer brutally beats him to death with a hot iron.

During the Valentine's Day party at Dorothy's estate, the killer murders Campbell. The others assume he has simply left Dorothy, to which she believes that they are jealous and still look at her as the "fat girl". She confesses that Jeremy never assaulted her. Ruthie and Paige are killed next. The party disintegrates when the power cuts out. Dorothy accuses Adam, Kate's recovering alcoholic boyfriend who is a journalist, of being the culprit. Kate discovers Detective Vaughn's severed head in the pond and becomes convinced that Adam is Jeremy, unrecognizable after facial surgery. She finds Adam waiting for her; when he asks her to dance, she becomes frightened and flees. The killer jumps out at her and is shot to death by Adam.

Adam pulls off the killer's mask to reveal that it was Dorothy. He explains that childhood trauma can lead to lifelong anger, referring to Dorothy. As they wait for the police to arrive, he says he has always loved Kate. When Kate closes her eyes, Adam's nose begins to bleed, revealing that he is Jeremy Melton (and the actual killer, having knocked out Dorothy and put her in the costume), who set everything up to ruin Dorothy's reputation and exact revenge. He killed the girls correspondently to the words they offended him with thirteen years ago, except for Kate, who was the only one nice to him.




While Warner Bros. had acquired the rights to the Tom Savage novel in May 1998, the project was later transferred to Artisan Entertainment with producer Dylan Sellers and writers Wayne & Donna Powers, with the latter of the two writers himself initially attached to direct.[4]

The original script had a different tone from the book and was set on a college campus.[4] The project went into turnaround to Warner Bros., was rewritten by Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts and Wayne Powers stepped down as director for the studio to find a suitable new director to take the helm for the film.[4] Richard Kelly was originally offered the chance to direct, but turned the offer down to work on his own film that he wrote and directed himself called Donnie Darko and was eventually replaced by Jamie Blanks, who had also directed 1998's Urban Legend.[4] Hedy Burress auditioned for the role of Dorothy Wheeler, and Tara Reid was considered for the role, but it was given to Jessica Capshaw instead. However, Blanks wanted Burress to star in the film and cast her as Ruthie Walker. Jessica Cauffiel originally auditioned for Denise Richards's role of Paige. In the original cast, Jennifer Love Hewitt was to play Paige Prescott.


Valentine was shot on location in Vancouver, British Columbia, with principal photography commencing on July 10, 2000,[5] and concluding on September 8.[6][7] Boreanaz shot all his scenes in less than two weeks. Katherine Heigl only had three days to shoot her scenes as she was already committed to the television series Roswell.[6]


In promotion of the film, Warner Bros.'s official website featured digital e-card valentines that visitors could send via email,[8] and stars David Boreanaz and Katherine Heigl—both well known at the time for their roles in the series Angel and Roswell, respectively—appeared at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Festival.[9]

Valentine had its Hollywood premiere at Hollywood Post No. 43, American Legion, on February 1, 2001. It earned $20,384,136 in the United States and Canada and a total gross of $36,684,136, allowing the film to surpass its $29 million budget.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 11% based on 79 reviews, with an average rating of 3.40/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Valentine is basically a formulaic throwback to conventional pre-Scream slasher flicks. Critics say it doesn't offer enough suspense or scares to justify its addition to the genre."[10] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 18 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike".[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D+" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film a middling review likening to a 1980s-style slasher film, but praised the performances, writing: "Valentine isn't scary, but it is unsettling; not ultimately satisfying, but arresting in the moment. Part of the credit has to go to the ensemble. The actresses are vivid, and the characters they play are clearly delineated".[13] Ben Falk of the BBC gave the film two out of five stars: "Let's face it - we all know what's going to happen and director Blanks (Urban Legend) offers up few surprises. There's the host of red herrings of which none really bite, creative deaths, girls running around screaming and then being incredibly thick, but a distinct lack of gratuitous nudity, which would have at least brightened up the landscape".[14]

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, calling the film a "smart, stylish horror picture that offers a fresh twist on the ever-reliable revenge theme and affords a raft of talented young actors solid roles that show them to advantage".[15] Dennis Harvey of Variety gave the film a mixed review, noting: "Looking good but lacking much in the way of personality or gray matter — rather like its characters — Valentine is a straightforward slasher pic that’s acceptably scary until a weak finale".[7] Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide awarded the film one out of five stars, calling the film "a throwback to the formulaic, holiday-themed stalk-and-slash pictures of the early '80s — but why it took four writers to adapt Tom Savage's generic genre novel is thoroughly baffling".[16] Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times also felt the film was formulaically structured, writing: "The worst kind of mystery is one in which nobody cares who the killer is. Even the cast of Valentine doesn't seem that concerned, and their fictional lives are at stake. When it's hard to hear the dialogue because the audience is laughing, it's clear that Valentine doesn't even succeed on its own limited terms."[17]

In 2007, Blanks stated in an interview: "Forgive me for [Valentine]. A lot of people give me grief for that, but we did our best".[18]

In a 2015 retrospective review for Icons of Fright, BJ Colangelo defended the spirit of the film and its thematic handling of the holiday's mythological aspects, calling it "a lot of fun and definitely one I think more people should give a chance."[19]


The film was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, including in the Choice Movie — Horror/Thriller category.[20]

Home media[edit]

Valentine was released on both DVD and VHS by Warner Home Video on July 24, 2001.[21] Scream Factory released the film on Blu-ray on February 12, 2019.[22]


The musical score for Valentine was composed by Don Davis. The soundtrack also includes the songs "Pushing Me Away" by Linkin Park, "God of the Mind" by Disturbed, "Love Dump (Mephisto Odyssey's Voodoo Mix)" by Static-X, "Superbeast (Porno Holocaust Mix)" by Rob Zombie, "Valentine's Day" by Marilyn Manson, and "Opticon" by Orgy. This soundtrack compilation was lampooned in a sketch by Saturday Night Live, which humorously pointed out that many of the bands featured on it were not only unknown to a mass audience but have oddly nonsensical names.[23]

1."Superbeast" (Porno Holocaust Mix)Rob Zombie3:58
2."God of the Mind"Disturbed3:04
3."Love Dump" (Mephisto Odyssey's Voodoo Mix)Static-X5:33
4."Pushing Me Away"Linkin Park3:11
5."Rx Queen"Deftones4:28
7."Valentines day"Marilyn Manson3:32
8."Filthy Mind"Amanda Ghost3:56
9."Fall Again"Professional Murder Music3:56
10."Smartbomb" (BT's Mix)BT3:23
11."Son Song (Not included in film)"Soulfly featuring Sean Lennon4:18
12."Take a Picture" (Hybrid Mix)Filter8:07
13."Breed"Snake River Conspiracy4:30
14."1 A.M."Beautiful Creatures3:27


  1. ^ "Valentine (15)". British Board of Film Classification. February 14, 2001. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  2. ^ "Valentine (2001)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on February 14, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Valentine (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Harris, Dana (March 29, 2000). "Blanks to helm WB romantic horror pic". Variety. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  5. ^ "Susie's Night Out". The Province. July 10, 2000. p. 8 – via
  6. ^ a b Blanks, Jamie (July 2001). Valentine (DVD audio commentary). Warner Bros.
  7. ^ a b Harvey, Dennis (February 1, 2001). "Valentine". Variety. Archived from the original on February 14, 2023.
  8. ^ "V A L E N T I N E". Warner Bros. 2001. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  9. ^ "David Boreanaz and Katherine Heigl talk Valentine". IGN. January 15, 2001. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Valentine Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  11. ^ "Valentine". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  12. ^ "CinemaScore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  13. ^ LaSalle, Mick (February 3, 2001). "A Not-So-Happy 'Valentine' Day / Slasher flick has no heart". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  14. ^ Falk, Ben (April 13, 2001). "Films - review - Valentine". BBC. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  15. ^ Thomas, Kevin (February 3, 2001). "Stylish, Suspenseful Revenge in "Valentine"". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 14, 2023.
  16. ^ McDonagh, Maitland. "Valentine Review". TV Guide. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  17. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (February 3, 2001). "FILM REVIEW; How Do I Kill Thee? Let Me Count the Ways". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 14, 2023.
  18. ^ Biodrowski, Steve (November 14, 2007). "Storm Warning: Q&A with director Jamie Blanks". Cinefantastique. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  19. ^ Colangelo, BJ (February 12, 2015). "In Defense of Valentine (2001)". Icons of Fright. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  20. ^ "Teen Choice Awards (2001)". IMDb., Inc. Archived from the original on March 28, 2023. Retrieved March 28, 2023.
  21. ^ "Valentine DVD Release Date July 24, 2001". DVD Release Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  22. ^ "Scream Factory: Valentine Collector's Edition Blu-ray Detailed". January 7, 2019. Archived from the original on February 14, 2023.
  23. ^ "Season 26: Episode 11: Music From The Motion Picture Valentine". Saturday Night Live. October 2, 2018.

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