Valentine (2001) Commentary & The Demonization of Paige

First, I love the aesthetic of this movie; that 2000s grungy-rock music as popular music vibe/heroin chic was unfortunately still seen as the height of beauty (as seen with the “bigger” character, who has a completely normal body type)

I get secondhand trauma warching the Jeremy Melton montage at the beginning; poor, poor kid. He’s a caricature of uncool: buck teeth, serial killer glasses. No wonder he flips out and kills these shits later. (Especially Dorothy; don’t lie to avoid embarrassment by pinning everything on someone else. You royally fucked this kid up.) Also, the girl they picked as the younger Paige could literally be her sister or daughter; the resemblance is spot-on.

This Jason Marquette character lives rent-free in my brain; I mean, who talks about themselves in the third person? Self-absorbed psychos, that’s who. “Jason likes your dress.” Jason needs to stop talking as much. Also, the two things Katherine Heigl wears are very low-cut/form-fitting; the dinner scene I understand but in a literal freezer with a cadaver? Put on a sweater. Nobody’s not wearing one in a place where bodies are stored; I know this for a fact (used to work in a funeral home). Another random tidbit: dead bodies don’t look as real as the one in this movie; the lack of blood flow makes them all look more like Halloween decorations level of realism.

I love the creepy Valentine threats; give me a slasher with a killer that sticks to his theme any day.

This movie gets an A+ for slasher murder creativity: hiding in a body bag to escape a killer but he stabs you anyway (and zips you back up)? Great horror.

First instance of Paige-bashing: “Jesus Paige, it’s a funeral” because she takes off her sweater to reveal a black corset-like dress so she puts her coat back on. Stop slut-shaming your friend!

I feel like the other characters are defined by their relationship statuses: Lily is dating a bad artist who isn’t very serious about her/hits on her friends and she’s also casting about for something better. Kate is on-and-off-again with Adam, the borderline personality with a serious drinking problem. Dorothy is constantly chasing men who aren’t interested because she’s not heroin-chic thin; her latest conquest, Campbell, is a gold-digger and isn’t as reciprocal as Dorothy (or in a way that any woman would need). At least Paige is her own person and is dating but not written so one-dimensionally that she’s defined by it. Let the woman enjoy her life.

Paige-Bashing #2: “It must be for you…You’ve made it through more of the alphabet than me”; Paige tells Lily in response to bite her. I like this about Paige; she doesn’t take those sort of comments lying down. Paige can also tell a sleazeball man from a mile away and calls them out on it; she does this to Lily’s boyfriend, Max, who is clearly wanting to visually-voyage Kate (and we see this hunch confirmed later when Max openly hits on Kate because Lily nor Paige are around). It seems to me like Paige cares about the type of guy her friends are with.

Lily’s death takes place in the museum/on the fire escape with a bow and arrow (really playing up the deadly Cupid vibe, complete with weirdly ominous mask); Lily dies from blood loss and/or falling several stories into a dumpster

Paige Bashing #3: The sleazy detective touches Paige’s thigh and Kate (the nicest one of the friend group) asks if Paige asked him to touch her thigh. A woman being comfortable with her sexuality doesn’t mean she doesn’t have standards, Kate! This same concept comes up again when Paige meets up with Brian, a guy she met speed-dating, who takes her upstairs for a “surprise”, which is his penis. He then tells her to “wax it” imperiously, like she should be excited her Valentine’s Day surprise is his pleasuring him. The audacity. So she ties him up and pours hot candle wax on his junk. I love how feisty and take-no-shit Paige is. Liking sex does not mean you have to be treated less than you deserve. Also, her red dress is amazing. I would completely wear that for Valentine’s Day. Paige had the best Valentine’s Day during-party plan, too: hot tub and champagne? Yes, please!

The scene with Dorothy and Campbell in bed after she seduces him just pisses me off. They are heavily implying he can’t get it up because of how her body looks. She isn’t fat, 2000s beauty standards! Heroin chic isn’t healthy! We do see Dorothy binge-eating chicken wings, but I just really think they’re overselling this whole ‘fat girl’ mentality of hers, which seems reinforced by the world she lives in.

This isn’t a main character death, but I thought it was novel: the woman trying to hunt down Campbell, Dorothy’s beau because he owes her a lot of money and stole half her jewelry (Dorothy is rich and Campbell is in love with her money). Apparently he’s a serial gold-digger; anyway, she comes across the killer finishing off the maid and the killer comes after her, bangs her head through a shower, and pikes her head on the broken glass.

Paige’s death is pretty novel, too: burning her alive in the jacuzzi, just like she said to him at the dance and then making sure she died by drilling holes into the plastic/into her. This movie is insanely creative with kills and I’m here for it.

I love that foreshadowing near the end of Adam wearing a similar shirt to Jeremy Melton; it wasn’t obvious he was the killer but it honestly made me like the movie more because I was surprised by them first blaming Dorothy then–nope! It was Adam. Framing Dorothy was pretty clever considering how deeply insecure she was, but what gives it away is her shiner: she was punched at some point. The mask would’ve probably prevented it, so it means she wasn’t wearing it when she was hit.

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