MOVIES”Valentine” and “Slumber Party Massacre” in Same Category: Very, Very BAD

With all of the crappy lovey-dovey chick flicks that seem to rear their ugly heads around Valentine’s Day, I thought, “how refreshing; a horror movie. One based on a book, no less. This should be good.” How very wrong I was.

“Valentine,” directed by Jamie Blanks (“Urban Legend”) stars a slew of what Hollywood calls “up-and-coming stars.” Everyone else calls them “nobodies.” This film features faces you recognize, but can’t name. Perhaps they were Waiter or Waitress number two in a movie you’ve seen recently. The only two faces that have names as far as the general public is concerned are David Boreanaz (the WB’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”) and Denise Richards (“Wild Things”, “Drop Dead Gorgeous”).

And oh, the plot. You’ve seen it before; so don’t pay $7.50 to see it again with “up-and-coming” faces. A crazed killer in a mask is stalking a clique of five pretty girls that grew up together. But wait! It’s a CUPID mask. How festive. How original.

Of course, each girl falls into a horror movie chick prototype. There’s Paige (Richards) the Slutty One, Lily the Fun One, Shelley the Smart One, Dorothy the Once-Fat One, and Kate (Marley Shelton) the Sweet One and star.

And, naturally, there’s a huge party that gives the killer the opportunity to slice and dice over and over again. Stop me if this sounds familiar.

So, where does Boreanaz fit in? He’s Kate’s attractive alcoholic boyfriend. Wonder what he does in his spare time.

It seems as though anyone with any affiliation to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has decided to try their hand at film. Of course, Sarah Michelle Gellar (the illustrious Buffy) has been in several successful features (“Cruel Intentions”, “Simply Irresistible”, and “I Know What You Did Last Summer”), and has now inspired her costars to dive into the movie pool. With Eliza Dushku in “Bring It On” and Alyson Hannigan in “Road Trip”, it was only a matter of time before David Boreanaz decided it was his turn to be on the silver screen. He should have passed. He should have run screaming into the night, actually.

Marley Shelton was sweet and she could scream, as per her character, but that’s about all. She was unconvincing when it counted and, above all, she was boring. They probably couldn’t get Heather Graham, so they got someone who looked exactly like her. If that’s the case, then she served her purpose and she can go back to waiting tables.

Richards, as always, plays a sexy little vixen with an attitude, and does it very well. It’s always refreshing to see talented actresses taking on such challenging roles.

Blanks seems to be falling back on the surprise ending gimmick that has become so popular, thanks to M. Night Shyamalan’s recent successes (“The Sixth Sense”, “Unbreakable”). With “Urban Legend,” it worked. In “Valentine” he falls short.

With a plot that drags, and was weak to begin with, “Valentine” stumbles and stutters its way through cliché after cliché. In 97 minutes there was a shower scene, a hot tub scene, a big party, a funeral, AND an unsavory pervert neighbor. That about covers the basic horror movie formula, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does. And that formula has been done to death (no pun intended).

To see “Valentine” is to play a cruel joke on yourself. Don’t waste your money, time, and attention span on this movie. You could spend your money on such better things. Ten year old chopped liver, for example.