Beyond the Slimy Wall: Valentine
By Stephanie Star Smith
February 10, 2005
We here at BOP are an eclectic group, and our tastes in movies run from the serious cinephiles to the foreign-film aficionados to niche film lovers. Thus was born the idea for this weekly column, devoted to horror films of all shapes and sizes, but concentrating on those B- and C-grade films that mainstream reviewers disdain, but are the bread-and-butter of every spook movie lover's viewing. So come with me as we venture beyond the slimy wall, uncovering the treasures - and burying the time-wasting bombs - that await those who dare to love the scare.
Sometimes you watch a film for all the wrong reasons.
Maybe you’re over at a friend’s house and whilst flipping channels, he lands on a film that you wouldn’t otherwise choose, but watch to be polite. Or perhaps you’re out on a movie date, and all the films you wanted to see are sold out, and there’s only one film available that you haven’t seen. And occasionally, you watch a film because a favorite actor is starring in it, and you decide to give it a look-see.
It was that last reason that got me to watch Valentine. Well, sort of.
I wouldn’t exactly call David Boreanaz one of my favorite actors; in fact, there were certainly times in his early days as Angel when use of the term “actor” in referring to him was an act of extreme kindness. But the casting of Boreanaz as Angel was one of those examples of serendipitous matching of performer to role that one always marvels at later; in fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone more suited for the role. Or a role more suited for the admittedly-limited abilities of its portrayer. Add in the undeniable chemistry between Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar - it fair leapt off the screen - and what was likely a goodly amount of on-the-job training, and by the time the spin-off series wrapped, at which point Boreanaz had been playing Angel for eight seasons (I’m counting the character’s tenure on Buffy, so please, no letters telling me Angel only ran five seasons; I know that) and Boreanaz had certainly become adept at the portrayal of the vampire with a soul looking for redemption from his past misdeeds.
So I was kinda curious to see what he’d do in another role. Add in that Valentine is a horror film - albeit a slasher, my least-favorite sub-genre - and it wasn’t all that difficult to choose to invest the 96 minutes to check it out.
And what I found was that Boreanaz was basically playing Angel. Because except for the vampire thing, a character description of Adam Carr, Boreanaz’ character in Valentine, sounds remarkably like Angel: brooding, somewhat mysterious, given to violent outbursts, and ambiguous as to whether he’s good or evil. Like I said: Angel.
The remainder of the cast is adequate - because really, how much acting skill does a slasher film demand? - and there are a couple of plot twists that make you doubt just a bit the identity of the killer, which, if you’re paying attention, you’ve already deduced near the end of the first reel. And the film does come up with a new way to kill someone, which is otherwise the great failing of slasher flicks; after you’ve seen half-a-dozen or so, you’ve pretty much viewed every imaginable way to end the life of one of your fellow men or women. And believe me when I say that once that novelty has worn off, there’s little reason to watch a slasher.
Except when it stars someone you like. Well, kind of.
Still and all, Valentine is a decent entry into the genre, and given the paucity of St Valentine’s Day-specific horror flicks, it certainly will fill the bill for the get-your-baby-to-move-closer portion of your Valentine’s celebrations. And at just over an hour-and-a-half, it won’t wear out its welcome.
I see by the shadows falling from my bust of Pallas that our time is up. Until next time, then, when we will once again venture Beyond the Slimy Wall.