Unfortunately it isnt. Valentine seems to miss the target on all essential angles. Jamie Blanks direction is adequately stylish, offering some occasionally imaginative set-ups such as a stalking that occurs inside a maze made up of video screens filled with closeups on faces, lips and eyes, and especially the attack on Denise Richards as she is trapped inside a jacuzzi with the killer jabbing at her through the cover with a powerdrill. However, the Valentine motif proves a slim gimmick the film fails to play the Valentine cards angle up very well and only half-heartedly develops the Valentine-related novelty deaths angle.
The films greater failing is when it comes to the premise of a humiliated nerd who is getting revenge on the women who belittled him at the school dance. This is solid enough slasher movie motivation but then when it suits the film basically in order to pack in more slash and stalk sequences it has the killer not just targeting the people he is after but anybody else boyfriends, witnesses, even someone found inside one girls apartment.
And then there is the dud ending. [PLOT SPOILERS]. In the first of its double twists, the film contrarily reveals the person behind the mask as one of the girls. The script offers scanty motivation for her actions before then pulling another twist and revealing that the nerd is still alive. All that this serves to do is leave the audience going out the theatre puzzling over a morass of motivational muddles was the girl the real killer or just a dupe? If the latter, as seems to be the case, what possessed her to suddenly put on the mask and stalk the remaining heroine?
When it is stripped down to its basics, Valentine sits astride the two basic fantasies the 80s slasher film played on the cod psychological motivation of the underdog who is driven to psychopathology by a particularly brutal humiliation; and the prurient appeal of seeing scantily clad girls and/or jerks getting dispatched. The fact that Valentine is being made as a well-budgeted slasher with a moderately well-known twentysomething cast rather than as a B-budgeted ripoff/sequel of Friday the 13th (1980) with a cast that no-one has heard of then or since has forced some interesting changes on it as a slasher film. One is that it is a much more censored film. There are six female victims set up. Where in the 1980s the film would be filled with gratuitous topless/shower sequences, these have been replaced by a parade of eminently nubile and beautiful current teen stars but not a single undressed scene. The film however takes every opportunity to tease us with their availability outfitting them in a parade of vests, bikinis and getting out of showers clad in bath-towels but ultimately withholds anything more from us.
Equally interestingly, Valentine spends almost as much time focusing on the girls dealing with the men in their lives as it does on the stalking sequences. Every single man in the film is portrayed as a sleaze, as a confidence artist or having major personality problems. Contrarily the women are portrayed as the only evenly balanced ones and above all as being sexually in charge. There are a number of scenes set up for the express purpose of having in particular Denise Richards (who shines in the role of a sultry sexpot) putting guys down. Why, is a good question. You are not sure whether Valentine is trying to create tough in-control women instead of the usual helpless slasher movie victims (in which case it has mistaken sexually desirable and manipulative for in-control) or else it has simply set the women up to be seen as manipulative bitches by their audience and have their demise cheered on. Either way it comes out as confused.