What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids will be upset by this horror movie's atrocious violence, the mean-spiritedness of just about every character, the lack of parental figures, and the ineffectiveness of the police. Characters are offed in grisly ways, most involving knives, but there's also an electrocution, death by iron, an axe to the back, a decapitation (off-screen), an arrow to the guts, and shooting. Women are stalked and receive threatening letters, and a young boy is unjustifiably teased and beaten. The women on display are sexually aggressive, and some of them die for it. Mature themes include murder, cruelty toward grade-school peers, alcoholism, unkindness among friends, and mocking "fat" girls.
What's the story?
When her childhood friend Shelly (Katherine Heigl) is murdered, Kate (Marley Shelton) and her other longtime girlfriends begin receiving terrifying Valentine's Day cards. The girls wonder if the killer and card-sender is Jeremy, a boy they teased. The killer strikes again and again, and while the police investigator focuses on other suspects, Kate continues to try to find out more about Jeremy.
Is it any good?
VALENTINE pulls no punches; this is a movie that never pretends to be interested in anything other than sex and violence. But horror fans who can discriminate between this dull, sexist material and finer examples of the genre will feel ripped off. So poorly made is this movie that it can't even follow its own conventions. When the first girl dies in a way described by her Valentine card, one would think the rest of the victims would follow suit. But the killer soon forgets what he wrote to his victims, and even loses track of who it is he (or she?) is out to kill. Anyone in the vicinity is a possible target.
Moreover, the women under attack are a shallow bunch, more into showing off their sexual conquests and horning in on each other's boyfriends than demonstrating any real empathy for one another. The central character, Kate, is unique in her apparently genuine love for her long-time boyfriend, but her compassion for his alcoholism turns out to be a plot device--and one that doesn't add much to this already muddled movie. In the end, there's no one to like, so there's not much lost when virtually everyone bites the dust.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what makes a good horror film. Does more gore always mean a better film, or can suspense be just as scary? Do plot consistency and character development matter?