Directed by Jamie Blanks, starring Mary Shelton, David Boreanaz, Denise Richards, Jessica Capshaw, Jessica Cauffiel and Katherine Heigl

There's a scene in mock-shock horror flick 'Scream' where several of the characters, including an obsessive scary-movie fan, volunteer various rules that supposedly cover the scary movie genre. Included are instructions never to say "I'll be right back" and haunted heroine Sidney Prescott's declaration that all scary movies feature "big-breasted girls running up the stairs instead of out the front door". Even the killer laughs at a victim who asks, "who's there?" responding acidly with "you might as well just go outside and investigate a strange noise". These scary movie clichés - the pantomime equivalent of "He's behind you!" - are all to be found with bells on (or knives in hand) in 'Valentine'.

The film opens with a pretty med student returning to the darkened lab in college to do some extra work after a disastrous date. While not quite as violent or as gory as Drew Barrymore's grisly demise in the opening scene of 'Scream', it initially promises to be satisfactory horror fodder. As she prepares to autopsy a corpse, the strange "milk-bottles-being-knocked-over" noise is heard in the distance and with a swish of her all-American ponytail, she's off to wander around dark corridors with no one else around. She discovers a Valentine card pinned to her locker, with a – wait for it – chilling, rather than romantic verse inscribed inside. What follows is a tad predictable but scary enough, and the killer is clad in an eerie child-like mask of Cupid.

And so begins the carnage of a quintet of rich, attractive friends (led by Denise Richards) who haven't had to method act to pull off the wide-eyed vacuity of rich, American college girls. Various suspects from the past are touted as potential homicidal maniacs but the killer is not as far away as the girls think and the slasher action steps up as the climax draws near. Despite friends disappearing and more funerals than you can shake a stick at, no parents, other school friends or neighbours feature - such is the cocoon-like world of the blond troupe.

This mildly entertaining horror yarn is chiefly a vehicle for Denise Richards to wander around being bitchy in cocktail dresses and a bikini. The killer comes across as a lug in a mask, whose slaying spree becomes ridiculous in scope, not to mention the fact that no imagination is spared on writing Valentine verses. I almost laughed out loud when Lily (Jessica Cauffiel) ominously reads her card aloud: "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, They'll need dental records, To identify you". Hilarious. The ultimate in horror floss, 'Valentine' will chill you for about 20 minutes before you realise what's going on and spend the rest of the film trying to suppress your laughter: 'Stepford Wives' meets 'Halloween' with more blood and cooler clothes.

Sinéad Gleeson