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Roses are red... violets are blue... they'll need dental records to identify you!

One of the contemporary Slasher Movies that rode on the coattails of Scream (1996)'s success, e.g... I Know What You Did Last Summer.

At a junior high school Valentine's Day prom in 1988, a bespectacled loser named Jeremy Melton asks several girls (Shelley, Lily, Paige and Kate) to dance, only to be cruelly shot down—except for the latter, who politely rejects him. Another girl, Dorothy, who at this stage is a little chubby, accepts his offer. But when some boys spot her and Melton making out, she claims he was assaulting her, prompting them to publicly strip and beat him, after which he is sent to a reform school.

Thirteen years later, the girls are all grown up and played by Katherine Heigl, Jessica Cauffiel, Denise Richards, Marley Shelton and Jessica Capshaw respectively. They're now dealing with various boyfriend issues, and Dorothy has since slimmed down. As Valentine's Day approaches, they start receiving threatening Valentines Day cards. Then, a killer dressed in a black coat and cupid mask shows up and starts offing them one by one. Is it Melton, come back for revenge, or someone else?

See also My Bloody Valentine, another Valentine's Day-themed slasher flick.


This film provides examples of:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: It's been 13 years since Jeremy Melton was framed. And now he's come back for revenge.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Of David Boreanaz's character: "He's no angel."
    • This wasn't the first time Jessica Cauffiel missed a flight to Los Angeles because her character was killed. Coincidentally, she's the second character to die in both films.
  • Adults Are Useless: Apparently there was no one at the dance in the prologue to stop Dorothy and Jeremy from going under the bleachers or to stop the bullies from beating him.
  • An Aesop:
    • The film has a pretty clear anti-bullying message: beware who you mistreat because they will come back and haunt you.
    • On the flip side, an act of kindness or two can go a long way. Specifically the difference between life and death.
  • After-Action Villain Analysis: After Adam kills Dorothy for attacking Kate and they wait for the cops to arrive, Kate says she doesn't understand why Dorothy would kill. Adam thinks that Dorothy went mad after spending so many years being lonely. The scene also serves as a subtle Motive Rant since Adam (really Jeremy) started killing for the exact same reasons: he never got over the loneliness he felt or the False Rape Accusation he received until he started killing.
    "All I can think is when someone is that lonely or that angry they can learn to hide it. But inside, it never dies. It just stays there. Eats away at you. Until one day, you have to do something about it."
  • Alone with the Psycho: Played with. Turns out Kate is this any time she was with Adam/Jeremy, most notably the scene where they dance. Granted she never has to worry because she didn't help frame him.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The ending. Did Jeremy/Adam decide to frame Dorothy at the last minute to throw Kate off the scent? Or did he intend to do it all along as payback for Dorothy framing him?
  • And Starring: "And Katherine Heigl", a pretty good sign that she's a Dead Star Walking.
  • Anyone Can Die: Given that this is a horror film, almost every named character who appears for more than a scene or two bites it. The only ones who don't are Kate, Adam (the film's Big Bad), Max, and Brian (who's Chained to a Bed, with wax poured on his penis).
  • Apologetic Attacker: Kate apologizes to Adam before kneeing him in the nuts.
    Adam: What's the matter baby? You're shaking.
    Kate: I don't want to hurt you, Adam... but I will.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Justified in the climax because Kate is panicking and has never wielded a gun before, so she winds up aiming the gun at her head while fumbling with loading the magazine.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: While Shelley is dissecting her cadaver, she says she's making a transverse cut when it's really a sagittal incision.
  • Asshole Victim: All of them but Kate, but especially Dorothy (who started the whole mess by lying to everyone about Jeremy out of embarrassment) and Paige (the Proud Beauty who's the least pleasant as an adult).
  • Audible Sharpness: When the killer draws his knife on Ruthie, the knife makes a *tzing* sound even though the weapon is only making contact with his coat.
  • Badass Longcoat: Part of the killer's getup, along with a cherub mask.
  • Bad Date:
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Adam Carr/Jeremy Melton kills everyone who had a hand in his False Rape Accusation, frames Dorothy (who was responsible for the initial false accusation) to cover his tracks, and patches things up with Kate.
  • Ballroom Blitz: When Paige is electrocuted, the resulting power surge cause Dorothy's house to blow a fuse, so everyone leaves.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Brian should have probably been a bit more specific when he asked Paige to "wax his dick".
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Ultimately the very reason Kate survives as she was the only one who ever showed kindness and compassion to Adam/Jeremy, even when she rejected him.
  • Beneath the Mask: This appears to be a recurring theme among a number of the male characters, who are pretending to be cooler than they actually are. Campbell puts up the front of being an entrepreneur while he's really a Gold Digger, Gary pretends to Rhyme on a Dime to attract Kate, Max is a Small Name, Big Ego artist who thinks he's irresistible. Jeremy Melton's mask is perhaps the most insidious; he's a vengeful Serial Killer who puts up the front of a reporter and loving boyfriend (that part might be real) with a drinking problem.
  • Big Bad: Jeremy Melton, alias Adam Carr, seeks to murder four young women who framed him for raping one of them and helped incite a Gang of Bullies into beating him.
  • Big Bad Friend: The final shot of the film reveals that Kate's boyfriend Adam is really Jeremy Melton. Also counts as Love-Interest Traitor.
  • Big Fancy House: Dorothy's father owns a large mansion that's big enough to host a large Valentine's Day Party and boasts a hot tub in a greenhouse, a sauna, and multiple shower rooms. The house winds up being the site of the last six deaths in the film.
  • Big "NO!": Ruthie gives several when she's trying to stop the killer shoving her head onto a shard of glass.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Paige, the "sexy one" of the five girls, is shown wearing a black bikini under her red dress at the party.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The eyes of the Cupid killer's mask are shadowed over, giving off a look similar to Irisless Eye Mask Of Mystery.
  • Blatant Lies: Dorothy, screwing over Jeremy.
  • Bland-Name Product: While researching Jeremy Melton, Kate can be seen consulting an "Interlink" browser, likely a reference to Windows' Internet Explorer.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Lily and Dorothy are shown bleeding from the corners of their mouths after getting shot.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: When the killer stabs at Paige with a drill in the hot tub, he stabs her in the shoulder, turning the water red before throwing the drill inside to electrocute her.
  • Bludgeoned to Death: How Gary is killed. The Cupid killer enters Kate's apartment, then picks up an iron. He finds Gary stealing Kate's clothes, smacks Gary in the face with the iron, burns his face, then smashes Gary in the face multiple times, using the iron as an impromptu Epic Flail.
  • Bodybag Trick: Shelley attempts to hide from the killer by zipping herself up inside a body bag in the morgue. It doesn't work.
  • Bookends: The film begins and ends with a Frame-Up job.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Inverted; when Adam shoots Dorothy, seven shots are fired from a fresh magazine when the gun locks empty, less than half the standard 15-round magazine.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Much of Kate's plotline outside of her friends dropping like flies is trying again with her on-off boyfriend Adam.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Zigzagged. There's a scene where Paige and Lily try and figure out who sent the maggoty chocolate, and it's pretty clear that there are a lot of guys who they've pissed off over the years, including Jeremy Melton. However, once he's brought up because Paige remembers him, Lily wastes little time in mocking him.
  • Calling Card: The Cupid killer leaves valentines for his targets in red envelopes, signed J.M.. For the parents of one of his victims, he signs his name.
  • Came Back with a Vengeance: Jeremy Melton. He was a young boy who was framed for sexual assault and after some undetermined time in a mental institute, then after some time he erases his identity, reenters the lives of the girls who framed him, and starts killing them one-by-one, and to avoid getting caught, frames the woman who made the initial accusation for his crimes.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Max, who tries to entice Lily and his assistant Amy into a threesome and tries to smooch up Kate on a couple occasions.
  • Cast as a Mask: Stuntman Marshall Virtue portrays the killer whenever they're onscreen, but another actor portrays them whenever they're unmasked.
  • Chained to a Bed: At the Valentine's Day Party, Brian lures Paige upstairs with a promise of giving her a surprise: which turns out to be his penis. Paige takes her revenge by tying him to the bed naked and blindfolding him with silk scarves, and then pouring melted wax from a candle over his genitals.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Kate's iron is given quite a bit of focus in the scene in her apartment when she forgets it's still on. The iron is later used to kill Gary.
    • The electricity at Dorothy's mansion is rather unstable. This is first brought up when the light switch to the basement lets out a spark or two when Campbell attempts to turn on the lights when he goes to relight the pilot light to the heater. The power goes out again when Paige is electrocuted in a hot tub, but this time for the whole house.
    • The power drill used to attack and electrocute Paige is seen in a pile of tools used by Campbell to fix the hot tub.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Zig-zagged all over the spectrum from merely showing up later to being integral parts of the plot.
    • Brian, one of the guys from the turbo dating session, shows up as Paige's date to Dorothy's party. Subverted since he doesn't contribute much to the occasion outside of that.
    • Lily's boyfriend Max shows up at the party to inform Kate that Lily is missing (we know she's dead), meaning the killer will strike there.
    • Kate's boyfriend Adam mostly appears in scenes with her as they try to mend their relationship. He's the killer.
  • The Chessmaster: Adam Carr, real name Jeremy Melton. He set up everything so he could murder everyone who ruined his life and make it look like Dorothy went on a killing spree.
  • Childhood Friends: Kate, Paige, Lily, Shelley and Dorothy have been friends since at least middle school; Dorothy refers to them all having headgear and braces together.
  • Choke Holds: The Cupid killer makes his first attempt to kill Shelley by strangling her with his arm from behind a curtain, but she stabs him with a scalpel and escapes for the time being.
  • Colliding Criminal Conspiracies: Gold Digger Campbell's latest mark Dorothy is the main target of vengeful Serial Killer Jeremy Melton, and Campbell winds up a victim.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Cupid killer very rarely attacks his victims head-on, preferring to ambush his quarry from behind, take advantage of disorienting environments such as the art exhibit, catch them in a compromising position, or use objects to distract them and lure them into an ambush point. On at least two occasions Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? is averted as well.
  • Cool Guns: During the climax, Kate, finding herself Alone with the Psycho, smashes open Mr. Wheeler's gun cabinet and picks up a Beretta 92FS Inox pistol with black grips and controls. The Cupid killer tackles Kate down the stairs, leaving the gun at the top. When both characters come to, Adam grabs the gun and shoots the killer.
  • Cop Killer: Detective Vaughn is killed during the third act by Jeremy/Adam, and his head left in a pond.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If Dorothy had just told the truth and not claimed Jeremy had sexually assaulted her, he wouldn't have done what he did.
  • Covers Always Lie: The movie poster shows David Boreanaz posing like "Angel", his character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And one of the actresses in the poster (presumably Marley Shelton) seems to look a lot like Sarah Michelle Gellar.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Paige, Lily, and Shelley rejecting Jeremy at a middle school dance and Dorothy falsely accusing him of sexual assault (corroborated by the former three) is the primary reason why he hunts them in the present day.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Kate's creepy neighbor Gary breaks into her apartment and tries on her stockings. When discovered by the killer, he puts his hands up and even remarks that he is unwell.
  • Cut Phone Lines: The killer does this at Dorothy's house at some point during the climax, forcing Kate to go on the offensive with a pistol.
  • Cut the Juice: The killer electrocuting Paige in a hot tub results in all the power going out at Dorothy's house, so most of the guests leave.
  • Dangerous Key Fumble: A variant involving guns. When Kate breaks into Mr. Wheeler's gun safe and grabs a pistol, she fumbles the magazine twice in her panic.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The killer briefly pretends to be Shelley's dissection cadaver just to freak her out.
  • Dead Star Walking: Katherine Heigl, who gets the And Starring, is the first character to die.
  • Death by Irony: In the opening, when Jeremy asks the five girls to dance with him, their responses foreshadow their fates.
    • Shelley - "In your dreams, loser!" Killed while lying prone (In other words, in a sleeping position) in a body bag.
    • Lily - "Eww!" Received a box full of maggot-filled chocolates and later used for archery practice by Adam/Jeremy with her body falling into a dumpster.
    • Paige - "I'd rather be boiled alive." Make that electrocuted in a hot tub.
    • Kate - "Maybe later, Jeremy." She indeed later dances with Adam after thirteen years during the climax and survives only because she showed kindness to him.
    • Dorothy set him up big time, claiming that Jeremy attacked her under the bleachers when they were caught making out by several school bullies. He gets his ass kicked and sent off to reform school as a result. Adam/Jeremy set her up to take the fall for all of the murders, and gets away scot-free.
  • Death by Materialism: Arguably for Campbell since the latest mark in his gold-digging schemes happens to have a target on her back and he winds up dead right after it's revealed he's been leading her on.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: How the final victim goes out. Jeremy/Adam puts Dorothy in his costume and locks her in a closet so that Dorothy will confusedly run at Kate as she makes her way upstairs with a gun, sending them both tumbling down the stairs. As Dorothy (dressed in the costume) sits up, presumably to kill Kate, "Adam" appears with Kate's gun and shoots Dorothy, then unmasks her.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Let's cruelly reject and make fun of this nerd, stand by as he gets beaten by a gang of bullies, and help frame him for assaulting one of us. He's definitely not coming back for revenge.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: More like "lack of good looks as an excuse for Jerkassery", but Dorothy tries to justify framing Jeremy by citing that she was fat in middle school.
  • Disposing of a Body:
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Treat the nerd like garbage, mock him when he asks you to dance, stand by and laugh as he gets beaten by bullies after a false sexual assault allegation, and corroborate the false allegation? He will come back for you later on and kill the lot of you.
    • Beckett Broda, one of Lily's exes, sent her a computer virus.
  • Domestic Abuser: All of the gals' current boyfriends leave something to be desired, mainly vices.
    • Lily's boyfriend Max is a Casanova Wannabe who tries to smooch up other women in front of Lily, including her friends.
    • Dorothy's boyfriend Campbell is a Gold Digger and Con Man only interested in her money.
  • Dramatic Unmask:
    • Subverted. The figure who is shot dead wearing the killer's costume is unmasked to reveal Dorothy, but the final shot of the film indicates that Adam, the person who shot then unmasked her, was the real killer and put her in his costume to frame her for his crimes.
    • The killer's nosebleed every time he kills serves as a figurative version of this trope as it's the main feature that can be used to identify him after the film's prologue. This includes the film's ending.
  • Dumb Blonde: Lily is a blonde airhead and party girl.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Paige is killed when the killer throws his electric drill into the hot tub with her.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Given that this film was made in the wake of Scream (1996) in the whodunit slasher mold, there's a cavalcade of figures surrounding the lead quintet of gals that have chances to be the suspect; to make matters even more difficult, they haven't seen the lead suspect, Jeremy Melton, in more than a decade so he could look like anyone they know. For example:
    • Adam Carr, Kate's troubled boyfriend who is trying to curb his drinking problem.
    • Campbell Morris, Dorothy's boyfriend who conveniently shows up as the killings start, whose last name is unknown, and is genuinely up to some shady stuff (he's a Con Man Gold Digger).
    • Jason Marquette, a man who shares initials with the killer, had a Bad Date with Shelley early in the film, and leers at Kate and Paige at an art exhibit that serves as the site for the second murder.
    • This isn't limited to the men; as Denise Richards states in an interview that there's a chance "[she] could be the killer"; true to form, halfway through the film Paige sneaks into Kate's apartment and surprises her with a Jump Scare after the killer was last seen in Kate's apartment.
    • Dorothy is revealed to have a lot of resentment built up over the years over being the one member of the friend group who always had bad luck with guys.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes:
    • Kate, who is Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold, was the "popular one" while the gals were growing up and in the present day has three guys clamoring for her attention: Adam, her ex who wants to repair their relationship, Lily's boyfriend Max who's a Casanova Wannabe, and Gary, her neighbor who keeps trying to ask her out in rhyme and who she is convinced is stalking her.
    • Dorothy seems to invoke this; she was a brunette as a child but as an adult her hair is blonde.
  • Evil Gloating: After killing Shelley, Jeremy sends a remembrance card to her parents with an unsympathetic "Too bad, so sad". Notably, he signs his full name instead of the typical J.M. he typically used.
  • Evil Plan: The killer's plan is to murder a group of friends who rejected him at a middle school dance, and frame the girl who falsely accused him of sexual assault.
  • Evil Wears Black: Alongside the Cupid mask, the killer wears a black knee-length duster and matching gloves and slacks.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: The Cupid killer appears to evoke this trope with a Fallen Cupid-esque mask that clashes with his dark coat and ruthless actions.
  • Fallen Cupid: The killer wears a cupid mask, leaves love letters for his victims and uses a bow and arrow.
  • False Rape Accusation: The particular Frame-Up Dorothy pinned on Jeremy, kicking off the plot.
  • Fanservice: The movie stars Katherine Heigl, Marley Shelton, Denise Richards, Jessica Cauffiel, Jessica Capshaw and David Boreanaz. It's to be expected.
  • Final Girl: Kate. Adam also survives but given that he's the killer...
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • As Campbell bends down to relight the pilot light, an axe can be seen on a chopping block behind him. When he straightens up again, the axe is gone. Cue the killer swinging the axe into Campbell's back.
    • When Ruthie gets thrown through a shower door, the camera focuses on a particular glass shard left behind so the audience knows exactly what's going to happen.
  • Foil: The other girls in the friend group to Kate, outside of Shelley since the viewer doesn't get much of a chance to get a bead on Shelley's personality before she is killed.
    • Paige is the other half of the Hair-Contrast Duo with Kate. Paige is the aggressive vamp while Kate is sweet yet cautious. Kate has a somewhat steady relationship with Adam while Paige has no interest in keeping her attentions focused on one guy.
    • Lily and Kate are both blondes, but Kate wears her hair straight while Lily has Quirky Curls. Lily is the Genki Girl to contrast Kate's cool head.
    • Dorothy and Kate both seemed nicer to Jeremy to contrast their more hurtful friends, but while Kate was nice to Jeremy even though she rejected him, Dorothy pretended to like him only to throw him under the bus at the first opportunity to save face. The consequences of that night determines their fates; Kate is spared while Dorothy is murdered and framed in turn.
  • Food Slap: At the dance, the bullies dump a bowl of punch over Jeremy's head before beating him up.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Connected to the Death by Irony example above, the girls die in the same order Jeremy asks them to dance, with the exception of Kate and Dorothy, though the things they do with him (Kate dances with him, Jeremy frames Dorothy) are in the correct order.
    • Everything around Paige's death has to do with water. Paige says she'd rather be boiled alive in the prologue, her dismissal of Jeremy's threat level is that he couldn't manage a water fountain without screwing up (verbatim), and it's mentioned she likes to soak in hot tubs. All of this leads up to Paige being murdered in an Electrified Bathtub.
    • Max's assistant Amy mentions she's having trouble with the video playback. While it was likely an excuse to get Max for a make-out session, the slideshows cut out later in the scene when Lily gets lost in the maze... just in time to get shot by the killer, implying he had something to do with the cutoff.
    • At the end of Ruthie's first scene, she snarls "Watch your back, leech" at Campbell. Campbell is killed with an axe to the back.
  • Formerly Fat: Dorothy was fat in school but has lost the weight as an adult. Deconstructed because she's still very insecure about not being as pretty or having an attractive personality like the others in middle school.
  • Four Is Death:
    • Four girls framed Jeremy for rape. All four are dead by the end.
    • Four guys bullied Jeremy and corroborated the girls; according to Jamie Blanks all four are dead.
    • Reversed with Kate; she is the fourth girl Jeremy asked to dance and winds up surviving.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The remaining friends after the opening scene: air-headed Genki Girl Lily (Sanguine), assertive and sexually forward Paige (Choleric), nervous and insecure Dorothy (Melancholic), and level-headed and kind-hearted Kate (Phlegmatic).
  • Frame-Up: After being cruelly rejected by Shelley, Lily, and Paige, Dorothy falsely accused Jeremy Melton of sexually assaulting her, leading him to be beaten by a gang of bullies, put into reform school and later a mental institution. It's been 13 years since that happened, and now he's back for revenge.
  • Freudian Excuse: Dorothy's framing Jeremy, the bullies' over-the-top humiliation, and being sent to a mental institution really set him off. Lampshaded by Detective Vaughn saying that the girls "must have done a number on him."
  • Freudian Trio: The gals' significant others.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Adam Carr/Jeremy Melton went from being the biggest loser in middle school to become a vindictive serial killer.
  • Functional Addict: Jeremy/Adam's drinking problem does nothing to stop him from being an effective killer.
  • Geek Physiques: The geeky Jeremy Melton was rather skinny in the opening scene; Paige describes him as 60 pounds soaking wet. He's a lot stronger and physically imposing in the present day.
  • Girl Posse: The five main leads are a clique of girls who have been friends since at least middle school. Unlike most examples there are co-leads, Alpha Bitch Paige and Class Princess Kate, with Straw Loser Dorothy, Genki Girl Lily, and ambitious doctor-to-be Shelley rounding out the group. Ultimately it is the actions of Dorothy that spell doom for most of them.
  • Gold Digger: Campbell is a male example as a Con Man who's leeching off of Dorothy so can get access to her father's money.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: When Kate is dancing with Adam and suddenly suspects him of being the killer, she smashes a champagne bottle over his head in order to get away.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Paige pouring hot wax on Brian's crotch.
    • Kate knees Adam in the crotch as she dances with him when she suspects him of being the killer.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Kate (Blonde) and Paige (Brunette). They spend the most time around each other and though neither is particularly innocent, their personalities and interests contrast strongly: Kate is demure, kind, and levelheaded, willing to stick with one person while Paige is sexually forward, opinionated, and brash, having a reputation for sleeping with men she's known for less than an hour and never wanting to keep to one boyfriend.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The sound of a heartbeat accompanies the editing of the opening scene of the film, as Jeremy asks each girl to dance and they reject him.
  • He Knows Too Much: Ruthie catches the killer in the middle of trying to dispose of Millie's body, and that just about marks her for death.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The shrill whistle tone and screaming sound heard accompanying the last shot of the film, revealing Adam was really Jeremy.
  • Hidden Villain: Jeremy Melton is a zigzagged example. It's made pretty clear that he's the Cupid killer, but he's also unpersoned himself. So the main characters have to figure out which one of their social circle is his cover identity before he kills all of them, and even then it takes until the absolute final shot of the film to reveal it.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The main events of the film (plus its' prologue) all revolve around Valentine's Day, with the climax centering on a Valentine's Day party.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Lily takes a bite of one of the chocolates sent to her, only to discover it is full of maggots. Her reaction is to spit the chocolate out, followed by Inelegant Blubbering.
  • Identification by Dental Records: Referenced in the valentine sent to Dorothy where it says the cops will need dental records to identify her.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Ruthie is killed by having her head/neck shoved onto a shard of glass.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Aside from the knife, bow and arrow, and axe, the killer uses a bunch of everyday items such as an iron, the remnants of a shower door, and a power drill. He'll usually go for those first, then bring out the knife if he has nothing on hand.
    • Ruthie uses a pool cue to fight off the killer, smashing it against his head and knocking him down. Shame she didn't hit him a few more times.
  • Instant Death Stab: While most of the victims are killed in a way that would be quickly fatal in real life (decapitation) or are struck multiple times (shot three times with arrows then falling multiple stories, multiple strikes with an iron, multiple gunshots within five yards), Campbell is notable since he's killed with a single axe blow to the back.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Kate tells Adam about everything regarding Jeremy Melton offscreen at dinner.
    • Max reveals to Kate that Lily has been missing for a week, meaning that Jeremy killed her.
  • In the Back: Campbell is killed with an axe to the back.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Trope name-dropped and Played for Laughs. When Kate tells Adam that some of her underwear was stolen, he makes a Sarcastic Confession that it's him.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Shelley's fellow student does one by accident in the locker room.
    • Adam does one on Kate by putting his hand on her shoulder while she's sitting and contemplating the case.
    • Paige does the same later when she sneaks into Kate's apartment halfway through the film and Kate nearly clobbers Paige with her iron.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Averted since Detective Vaughn has no problem going back and forth between Los Angeles and San Francisco to investigate Shelly's death.
  • Karma Houdini: Adam (really Jeremy) successfully takes his revenge on the girls who framed him, frames Dorothy to cover his tracks (Laser-Guided Karma since she framed him years ago), and patched things up with Kate to boot.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Because of Kate's kindness to Jeremy, she is spared from being murdered by him, unlike her friends.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Not only is Jeremy insulted when rejected by the girls (excepting Kate), he's falsely accused of sexual assault, doused in punch, stripped to his undies, beaten in front of an entire crowd who laugh at the ordeal and then sent to reform school through the testimony of all the girls except Kate, as well as the bully leader.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • Dorothy's housekeeper Millie, who is the first casualty during the climactic party.
    • Detective Vaughn is also decapitated off-screen during the party after Kate contacts him about Lily's death. His head is found floating in a fishpond by Kate.
  • Kubrick Stare: Adam parodies one when imitating Gary at the bar with Kate.
  • Lack of Empathy: In the present day, none of the girls minus Kate show any empathy for what happened to Jeremy. When he's first brought up as a suspect after the maggoty chocolate incident, Lily makes impressions of him for laughs while Paige glibly remarks about how mean they were to him. When Dorothy reveals she lied about Jeremy assaulting her, she tries to justify it by talking about how she was fat in middle school, while Paige attempts to alleviate the situation by downplaying the threat Jeremy poses. Contrast with Kate who asks Dorothy why she would do that to someone.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Arguably for Dorothy, as she was the one who accused Jeremy for something he didn't do which sent him to reform school back when they were kids, putting the entire plot into motion. Jeremy kills her last and frames her for his crimes.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Used at the very end of the film. A soothing set of chords on violin and piano plays as Kate and Adam declare their love and wait for the cops to arrive, which is followed by a piercing whistle, droning cello, and Jeremy's Ominous Music Box Tune Leitmotif, as Adam's nose starts bleeding and conveying to the audience that he was Jeremy and the real killer all along.
  • Liar Revealed: About halfway through the film after talking to Detective Vaughn, Dorothy admits to Kate and Paige that she lied about Jeremy assaulting her, meaning it's her fault that Jeremy is coming after them. Kate is dismayed that Dorothy would do something that horrible to someone, while Paige is somewhat dismissive of Jeremy Melton being a threat.
    Paige: Dorothy... he did attack you, right?
    Dorothy: [after a moment] …No.
  • Logo Joke: The Warner Bros. opening logo is tinted red, one of the main colors for Valentine's Day.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Happens off-screen with Campbell when he and Dorothy try to have sex.
  • Lovely Assistant: Amy, who manages Max's Powerpoint slideshows at the art exhibit; it's implied he's using her to cheat on Lily.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Discussed. At the police station where the ladies tell Detective Vaughn about Jeremy Melton, Vaughn notes, while looking at an age progression machine, that Jeremy could look completely different thanks to plastic surgery. The film's Twist Ending shows that this is probably the case.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Zig-zagged. While Max has no problem trying to make out with his girlfriend (and his assistant) and later tries to smooch up Kate, Adam politely turns down an offer to come up to the apartment with Kate.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • When the killer comes for Campbell, he's first seen in the basement when the light flickers. As Campbell works the pilot light, an axe can be seen behind him. As Campbell finishes, the axe is gone. No points as to what happens next.
    • As Kate walks through the billiard room after finding Detective Vaughn's head, the viewer can see Adam descending a staircase behind Kate, which explains how he winds up behind her when he asks to dance. Adam has already knocked Dorothy out and put her in his costume.
  • Mickey Mousing: The killer beating Gary to death is punctuated in the score with a series of clangs by striking an anvil or brake drum.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Pretty nasty example, too. For what happened to Jeremy, see Kids Are Cruel.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Downplayed. Kate's friends definitely hurt Jeremy by framing him, but for some reason he doesn't target the Gang of Bullies who actually beat him. A version of the script mentions that the leader Joe Tulga died under mysterious circumstances, indicating that Jeremy had targeted at least some of them, but for some unknown reason this was dropped. Jamie Blanks the director later revealed in an interview that the bullies were already dead, indicating that Jeremy's revenge had already started.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Paige, who is the "sexy" girl of the group. Best shown when she's in a bikini in the hot tub right before her death scene.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: Dorothy is shot about seven times by Adam.
  • Musical Spoiler: The Ominous Music Box Tune that serves as Jeremy Melton's Leitmotif is heard whenever the main characters receive their Valentines, tipping the audience off that he is the person sending the Valentines (and probably bumping the girls off).
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Zigzagged; the killer sometimes uses an ironic Valentine or other item (such as a rose) to lure their target before moving in for the kill (even pretending to be a cadaver), but other times they just start straight in with only a small enough pause to grab a weapon. On at least two occasions, the killer just shoots their quarry.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Gary says this verbatim when the killer catches him stealing from Kate. It doesn't deter him in the slightest.
  • Office Romance: Kate mentions that she met Adam because they worked at the same newspaper firm.
  • Offscreen Karma: According to an interview of the director Jamie Blanks, Jeremy Melton murdered the bullies who beat him first before targeting the girls.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: How Jeremy got the funds to change his appearance and identity (gaining muscle, not needing glasses) before reinventing himself as Adam Carr. Unless he grew up to look like David Boreanaz.
  • Off with His Head!: After Dorothy's party, Kate finds the head of Detective Vaughn floating in the fishpond.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Jeremy Melton's Leitmotif is very reminiscent of a music box, with a series of discordant piano notes in the high register. The main theme (typically in a-minor) is most notably heard in the opening titles, every scene where the threatening Valentines are received, the scene where Dorothy reveals she lied about Jeremy, when a rose is revealed beside Paige while she sits in the hot tub, and the film's ending where it's revealed that Adam was Jeremy all along.
  • Once is Not Enough: Both Shelley and Ruthie are able to get a hit on the killer when he attacks them, but neither stays to press the advantage and this costs both of them dearly.
  • One-Word Title
  • Orbital Shot: The camera orbits around Paige trapped in the hot tub as the killer looks for a power drill.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Shelley and Dorothy's parents (or at least her father in the latter case) are still around while their daughters are murdered. Shelley's parents received an unsympathetic remembrance card from Jeremy Melton, which they sent to Detective Vaughn, providing a big clue as to who murdered Shelley.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse:
    • Chad, the cadaver Shelly is supposed to be dissecting, is found propped up in a closet while the killer took his place on the table.
    • Ruthie finding Campbell's corpse whilst hiding from the cupid killer at Dorothy's party.
    • After everyone left at Dorothy's party, Kate finding Paige's and Ruthie's corpses (along with Detective Vaughn's head) while trying to run away from the killer.
  • Playing Drunk: Jeremy/Adam. While it's unclear how much he's been pulling this act over the years, he's definitely pretending to be drunk during the climax when he starts pounding drinks yet conducting coordinated attacks.
  • Psycho Knife Nut: Whenever the killer doesn't have anything on hand to use, he defaults to carrying a kitchen knife.
  • "Psycho" Strings: The film is rife with them, notably during the first chase scene through the morgue.
  • Railing Kill: After being hit by several arrows, Lily topples over a railing and falls into a dumpster.
  • Rasputinian Death: Paige is thrown into a hot tub, stabbed several times with a running drill, then electrocuted when the killer drops the drill into the hot tub.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Dorothy and her stepmother Kim have a brief argument in Cantonese that is interrupted by her father.
  • Really Gets Around: Paige. When Paige chastises Dorothy for allowing a man whose last name she does not know into her house, Dorothy snaps back that Paige has allowed men she has known for less than an hour into her pants.
  • Red Herring:
    • The Cupid mask worn by one of the partygoers in the prologue and later found by Kate in her apartment building. This mask is never worn by the killer throughout the film (for one thing there's no back to the mask and is secured to the user's head by a strap, while the killer's mask encompasses the entire head).
    • One of Shelley's fellow med students initially appears to be the Cupid killer because her Valentine is first seen after he leaves the locker room.
    • Jason Marquette and Campbell. The former has the same initials as the killer and gives creepy stares, the latter just happens to appear as the killings start and none of the other gals know him very well.
    • Paige makes a sudden appearance in Kate's apartment, right where the killer was last seen when he killed Gary. This one is lampshaded in an interview with Entertainment Tonight where Denise Richards said "I could be the killer!"
    • Dorothy is shot dead wearing the killer's costume after revealing the large amount of emotional baggage she has and attacking Kate on the stairs. This last one was a deliberate ploy by the killer.
  • Red Right Hand: The killer's main physical trademark is his nose, which bleeds whenever he kills or experiences any strong emotion.
  • Revealing Hug: The final shot of the film where Kate falls asleep in Adam's arms and Adam's nose starts bleeding, revealing he's really Jeremy Melton and the real killer all along.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Twofold. In the scene where Kate and Adam are sitting in the bar, Kate mentions that Gary is creepy around her, always around her and leering. The next scene in Kate's apartment, the killer finds Gary in her apartment and beats him to death. These two scenes are a pretty strong clue that Adam is the Cupid killer since the only person who knew Kate was uncomfortable around Gary was Adam.
    • Right before Campbell gets a call from his fence, he can be seen with a few power tools next to a hot tub. If the viewer is wondering where the killer got the drill to attack Paige, this is it.
    • A clue that the person clad in the killer's costume isn't Jeremy/Adam is how they jump Kate near the end of the film. Throughout the film the killer never moves faster than a brisk walk, while the person who attacks from the closet quickly bull-rushes Kate.
    • When Adam unmasks Dorothy after shooting her, the latter has a bruise on the left side of her head she did not have when arguing with Kate (the last time Dorothy appeared onscreen). This is a clue that someone knocked her out and set her up...
  • Rhymes on a Dime:
    • Gary, Kate's neighbor, who makes four rhymes in succession while trying to get her to go on a date with him. He apparently speaks in a more normal speech pattern when she's not around, as shown in his death scene.
    • Jeremy Melton makes three rhymes in the Valentines he sent to his enemies. To Shelly, he sends:
    The journey of love
    Is an arduous trek.
    My love grows for you
    as you bleed from your neck.
    'Tis a well-known fact
    That beauty is skin-deep.
    Savor the taste,
    You are what you eat.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Adolescent rejection and a False Rape Accusation turns into an adult killing spree.
  • Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue...:
    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    They'll need dental records
    To identify you.
  • Scare Chord:
    • French horn and piano combo when Lily finds maggots in the chocolate gifted to her.
    • Of the piano variety when Detective Vaughn's head is found in a pond.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Kate's friends and their significant others.
    • Dorothy is Envy; she admits to resenting her friends and stepmother because everyone wanted to hang out with them while she was alone.
    • Paige is Pride; she's a Proud Beauty who takes every opportunity to show off, blowing off death threats and pouring hot wax on Brian's dick because he proved not up to her standards.
    • Lily is Gluttony; she's the vapid, hedonistic one who doesn't take care to watch what she's eating.
    • Shelley is Sloth; while the most ambitious, she apparently procrastinated over her medical exam and gives no thoughts to what happened to Jeremy.
    • Campbell is Greed; he's a Gold Digger only interested in Dorothy's money.
    • Max is Lust; he invited Lily and his assistant Amy for a threesome and tries to smooch up Kate.
    • Adam is Wrath; the entire plot happens because of his personal vendetta against Kate's friends, which claims a number of other lives along the way.
    • Alternatively Paige is Lust (befitting the old-school way of depicting lust) and Max is Pride given his ego.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shower Scene:
    • Kate is taking a shower in her apartment. She hears a noise, and with shampoo still in her hair, puts on a Modesty Towel and goes out to investigate. Her water then goes out, prompting a bit where she dunks her head in the (hopefully clean) toilet to rinse the shampoo out of her hair.
    • Dorothy also has one which is interrupted by her boyfriend giving her a gift.
  • Silent Antagonist: The Cupid killer says nothing throughout the film, not even a grunt. However, they speak a lot more while unmasked/out and about.
  • Slashed Throat: Shelley, the first girl to die, is done in by having her throat cut.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: Averted. Kate, the sole survivor, is a blonde although two of the victims Lily and Dorothy are blondes as well.
  • Soft Glass: Averted as Ruthie is visibly cut and bleeding after being thrown through a glass door by the killer.
  • Something about a Rose: Invoked with the killer luring Paige out of a hot tub by leaving a rose by her bottle of wine, making her think there's somebody who wants to be her Valentine.
  • Starting a New Life: Jeremy Melton did this after his stint in a reform school and mental institution; there's no trace of him after that point, but he never forgot what Dorothy and her friends did to him, infiltrating their circle of acquaintances and biding his time until he could take revenge.
  • Start of Darkness: The film's prologue is essentially one for Jeremy Melton, detailing his obsessive tendencies, which became exacerbated when Dorothy framed him for assaulting her. By the present events, he's a calculating and vindictive Serial Killer.
  • Suspect Existence Failure: Several of the Red Herring characters are victims in the middle of the film, such as Kate's stalker Gary and the Gold Digger Campbell.
  • Swirlie: Kate gives a self-inflicted one by dunking her head in the toilet to rinse the shampoo out of her hair when her water goes out in the middle of a shower.
  • Talking to the Dead: Shelly briefly muses sarcastically to Chad, the cadaver she's dissecting.
  • Teeny Weenie: Brian is implied to have this, judging by Paige's reaction when she sees it.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Kate goes through one of these at a blind dating session.
  • Third-Person Person: Jason Marquette, who constantly refers to himself as 'Jason'.
  • This Is a Drill: The killer picks up a power drill and uses it to stab at Paige while she's in the hot tub. Eventually stabbing her in the shoulder, he then tosses the power drill inside, electrocuting her.
  • Token Good Teammate: Kate is the only one of the girls who wasn't a massive Jerkass when rejecting Jeremy at the school dance, which is why he lets her leave unharmed at the end.
  • Tomato Surprise: It's established relatively early on that Jeremy Melton has been sending the threatening Valentines, thanks to the JM initials and Leitmotif, but since he wears a mask and it's been 13 years since the gals last saw him, there's no way to pin him down because nobody knows what he might look like. The ending reveals that he looks like David Boreanaz.
  • Trash Landing: Lily is shot by arrows until she falls off the balcony into a dumpster aka Death by Irony.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The entire opening scene is an exercise in this trope, with various bad things piling up on each other ranging From Bad to Worse. First, Jeremy's rejected by four girls, three very harshly, the fourth not-so-much. Then he asks another girl to dance, she starts kissing him under the bleachers, they're seen by a Gang of Bullies, she accuses him of sexual assault. Finally the bullies douse him in punch, strip him to his underwear, and beat him in front of the entire student body as they laugh at him.
  • Twist Ending: Adam Carr is Jeremy Melton the killer.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: Adam Carr is the public identity of Jeremy Melton.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When the ladies realize that Jeremy Melton must be the killer and that Dorothy lied about the dance, Paige tries to reassure her by saying "Jeremy Melton couldn't manage a water fountain without screwing up. I don't think he's capable of an intricate revenge plot." She proved to be wrong about that, dead wrong.
  • Valentine's Day Violence:
    • The prologue is set at a Valentine's dance years prior, when Jeremy Melton asked each of the girls to dance with him. Only Dorothy accepted, but when they were caught making out, Dorothy accused Jeremy of raping her. Their classmates then attacked him and pigs' blood poured on him.
    • Years later, Jeremy returns in the run-up to Valentine's Day and murders the girls he asked to dance (and anyone else close to them). He sends them gory Valentine's Day cards, before hunting them down and killing them in a Cupid mask. He then attacks at a Valentine's Day party, where he kills all of them (the police, and plenty of the guests) except Final Girl Kate, gets Dorothy killed by the police and misidentified as the killer in revenge, and appears to get away with all his crimes.
    Roses are red, violets are blue, they'll need dental records to identify you.
  • The Voice: Kate's landlord Murray, who's only heard via his answering machine.
  • Wham Line:
    • In-universe, Kate bumps into Max at Dorothy's party. When he tries to smooch her up, Kate rebuffs him, so he changes tact by asking about Lily. When Kate says that Lily is in L.A., Max replies, "Well sweetness, Lily is not in L.A."
    • The final line of the film. After Adam calls the police, he and Kate sit down for a hug and declare they love each other. Adam adds on "I always have", which segues into the film's Wham Shot.
  • Wham Shot: The Twist Ending. After Adam kills the killer, and then reveals that it's Dorothy, Kate apologizes for suspecting him and they hug, relieved that it's over. But since Kate's eyes are closed, she doesn't see Adam's nose start bleeding, which reveals to us that he was Jeremy all along, and just got away with multiple murders by setting up Dorothy to be his Fall Guy, just like she had with him all those years ago.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The last that is seen of Brian is when Paige leaves him Chained to a Bed. This means that at the end of the film, he is very likely still tied to a bed in a house full of dead people.
    • What happened to the bullies from the opening?
  • Wicked Stepmother: Played with. Dorothy and her stepmother Kim have a mutually antagonistic relationship and Dorothy resents Kim butting into her life.
  • With Friends Like These...: The central group of friends have a real tendency to bicker, with Lily chiding Paige for showing off at a funeral and Dorothy and Paige arguing over each other's choices in men. The only one the gals seem to get along with at all times is Kate.

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