My Valentine (2020)
A Scott Pilgrim horror vibe collides with music industry relationship trauma in this well lit Into the Dark installation, My Valentine (2020). Benedict Samuel plays an extremely unhinged character, Royal, an abusive artist manager who has decided to lock his girlfriend and current business partner, Trezzure (played by Anna Lore) and his ex-girlfriend and ex-business partner Valentine Fawkes (played by Britt Baron) inside of a club to hash out who has the rights to the persona created originally by Valentine and Royal together.
Upon Valentine and Royal’s breakup due to Royal’s abuse, Royal finds another victim and forces her to take on the Valentine persona including the look, the music, and the performance style. Trezzure has seen great success and by proxy Royal has as well. Due to this success Valentine Fawkes has had issues going back to her career due to accusations that she is trying to rip off Trezzure’s shtick.
The songs are good, better than to be expected in a movie especially a horror movie, catchy. They carry throughout the movie as the backdrop for many flashbacks and intense moments of realization for both Valentine and Trezzure. What starts as Royal very creepily trying to confront Valentine about the use of the songs he stole from her and registered under his name turns into Royal’s personal murder spree. Valentine’s kick ass friend and bandmate Julie, played by Anna Akana, is his first victim after the escalation of the confrontation between the two sides. His killing spree doesn’t stop there however as he also murders the bartender he paid off to leave him alone inside the venue with Valentine and Julie after their set.
Alongside the flashbacks of Valentine beginning to suffer abuse at the hands of Royal and coming to the realization of who he is, we also see Trezzure go through the same in real time as he devolves into madness. The relationship violence is parallel to the physical violence and horrific actions of Royal that are more tangible damage than the emotional and mental trauma enacted upon both Valentine and Trezzure.
Royal is able to attain control of the situation by enlisting the help of three Trezzure stans and people at the club like another band and the bartender who are willing to bend to his will due to his status and money. He however isn’t talented enough to come up with new material and needs Valentine to continue on in success, thus his master plan of attack at this venue.
Throughout the film the absurd nature of a lot of the action and performances of the talented cast cause several humorous moments like that of Trezzure and Royal dancing to disco music with starlight twinkles on screen. There are also added sounds to motions like Royal pulling the knife and a zoom in that resemble that of Scott Pilgrim and the implementation of video game elements into the film. The humor is also similar, deadpan and matter of fact. What would otherwise be a rather predictable story has unexpected moments due to these elements.
At the beginning of the movie we watch Valentine struggle while a self-help tape plays about getting out of abusive relationships. Later on this plays as Valentine centers herself and gains the courage to fully stand up to her abuser. The performance by Britt Baron when she calls Royal out and challenges him to kill her for real this time instead of “bitching out” is truly a magnificent moment and a HELL YES to women everywhere. She even cordially invites him to “suck the biggest bag of dicks” which had me nodding my head in appreciation for her moment. Though she believes she’s broken in this moment and hopeless, this is such a powerful example of women being the warriors they really are and able to stand in the face of monsters like Royal and still break them down despite the pain they themselves are experiencing.
When Royal is broken down and begging for Valentine back Trezzure is witness to this whole exchange and comes into her moment as well realizing the abuse that Royal has used to manipulate and brainwash her. When Royal uses a cord to essentially strangle and partially decapitate a band member from the beginning Trezzure takes the mic stand and confronts Royal and she smashes his head in while yelling that she is breaking up with him. I do want to know why the fuck they let Royal kill that guy while they watched but at least she killed Royal I guess.
In the end Valentine and Trezzure hug but Trezzure threatens to sue her if she doesn’t take her allegations of stealing her act down. Trezzure even says it's not her fault she did Valentine’s shtick better than her. At this point I’m okay with Trezzure getting got as well and sure enough she is electrocuted in a pool of blood. Valentine then takes on the identity of Trezzure and she’s off to the races with the music career she always wanted.
Due to my time spent watching YouTube drama videos I recognized this tale from the beginning, that of Poppy, Titanic Sinclair, and Mars Argo. Mars Argo alleged that she and Titanic Sinclair were in an abusive relationship as well as being business partners in creating her persona and music and that upon their breakup Titanic Sinclair took that persona and entered a relationship with Poppy, making her that persona. I’m not sure how much big media traction this got but the parallels between this story and the movie, My Valentine (2020) are stark.
I enjoyed this movie for what it was and it hit the spot in terms of a Valentine’s Day horror movie to enjoy this weekend.
Recommended Score: 4/10