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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Review: My Valentine

Director: Maggie Levin
Screenplay: Maggie Levin
Year: 2020

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with a horror movie? With a Valentine's themed horror movie, of course. This is just what Hulu brings as part of their "Into the Dark" series in their new Valentine's theme horror episode/movie titled "My Valentine", a new proposal that seeks to disrupt the list of favorites to watch during this celebration.

After the abuse suffered from her ex-boyfriend, Valentine tries to break through again as a pop artist an try to regain the fame she once had garnered, which turns out to be a challenge after her ex-boyfriend took her identity and look to use them in another woman that now lives off her success under the name Trezzure. While Valentine does a show, her ex-boyfriend and Trezzure show up to confront her. The abuses of the past flourish once more as the night turns more and more violent.

The plot of "My Valentine" is based on the abuses in romantic relationships and the psychological issues that might be developed under these dynamics, surrounded by a pop music ambiance. The director and screenwriter Maggie Levin (“Miss 2059”) does an excellent job of bringing to the screen these types of abusive relationships and the reactions of both parts in a way that is so realistic that it feels uncomfortable. This realism is anchored by the stellar performance of Benedict Samuel (“The Walking Dead”) as the manipulative and self-centered Royal, who maintains the uncomfortable ambient even with the attractive style of lights and special effects, accompanies by the also good interpretation of Britt Baron (“Glow”) and Anna Lore (“Doom Patrol”). 

The cinematography and special effects in "My Valentine" are attractive and reminds what was achieved in "Scott Pilgrim vs The World" transmitting some music video vibes, but with a much more serious plot. The neon colors blue and red are used throughout most of the movie as artistic elements and helps to keep in mind the musical and appearances world in which these people move. The editing, retrospectives, and the interposition of different takes, accompanied by cartoonish visual effects manage to make it even more attractive without losing the sense of danger that is always present thanks to Samuel. The dedication to establish the whole artistic world that surrounds the plot has to be admired, to the point where they even made a full original soundtrack to accompany the movie.

A great deal of "My Valentine" explores the relationships among the protagonist trio, but it doesn't forget that it is a horror movie, or at least with horror elements. Once the violence starts, director Levin uses well the gore and combines it with the artistic visual elements she had been working on since the beginning, the tense atmosphere that is developed around the protagonists and the talent of Benedict Samuel to show disturbing situations. However, while all of this is well done, the movie feels more like a disturbing drama than a horror movie. 

"My Valentine" explores how disturbing and harmful abusive and manipulative relationships can be with a plot based on the music world. The director uses a bold style to present her movie using bright colors, the interposition of takes, and comic book visual effects that can either capture the viewer or drive it away. However, the disturbing story is realistic and has great acting, violence, and gore, although it barely scratches the horror genre.

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