Into the Dark: My Valentine
into the dark | into the dark: my valentine | maggie levin | britt baron | benedict samuel | anna lore | contained | gaslight | thriller | united states | anna akana | tiffany smith | shaun j. brown | sachin bhatt | alan chow | ally maki | ruben vernier | blumhouse
Film: Into the Dark: My Valentine
Director: Maggie Levin
Writer: Maggie Levin
Starring: Britt Baron, Benedict Samuel and Anna Lore
Now I decided to check this movie out as I wanted a 2020 horror film to keep up with my pace for the year, but one that I could do a mini-review for as well. Since this was the oldest of the Into the Dark on Hulu I hadn’t seen, I decided to give it a go and came in pretty blind. The synopsis is a pop singer’s songs and artistic identity has been stolen by her ex-boyfriend/manager and shamelessly pasted onto his new girlfriend/protégé. They end up getting locked together in a small concert venue to sort it out.
We start this off with Valentine (Britt Baron). She is in a hoodie and is listening to a podcast about how to fix yourself after being in a co-dependent/abusive relationship. She stops to a poster for Trezzure (Anna Lore). At first, I thought they were the same person, but that is the point. Valentine grabs a piece of glass and attacks it. With a bloody hand, she sits on the ground.
What is really happening here is that Valentine was dating Royal (Benedict Samuel). He would gaslight her, physically abuse her and she finally had to get away. The problem is that he registered all of her songs in his name and molded Trezzure to look just like her. Valentine decided to return to the music scene and has been fighting with a message board fan club called ‘The Trezzury’, who supports this other artist.
At her first show back, Valentine is there with Julie (Anna Akana). Heckling them on stage is Trevor (Alan Chow), Allison (Ally Maki) and Dave (Ruben Vernier). They run the message board and they’re convinced she stole Trezzure’s material. Coming to the duo on stage’s aid is Rosa (Tiffany Smith) and Nick (Shaun J. Brown), but they end up getting confused about the truth.
Also showing up at the show is Royal. He pays the bartender a lot of money to close down early, so he can talk with Valentine. He gets the fan club to watch the door and Trezzure eventually comes into the building. While locked in, we learn the truth of what really happened and who really came up with all of this music. Royal is a worm, but when he is pushed to the brink, he will do some unthinkable things to continue his success, even asking Valentine to come back to him.
Now I’ll admit, I’ve seen a few of these Into the Dark episodes, but not all of them. I’ve been pretty entertained from the ones I have while still knowing some of these get picked apart pretty bad. I’ll preface my thoughts with that; I don’t think is the best one I’ve seen and actually has the lowest rating for me thus far, but it does explore some interesting aspects.
Since this was the February episode, Valentine’s Day is the go-to holiday. It is interesting making the main character’s name be Valentine, as you don’t really need to use the holiday itself and this one really does focus on relationships. I found it intriguing that we’re introduced to Valentine when she is being heckled. No one really seems to believe her and it isn’t until we meet Royal that I’m really started to pick up what this movie is putting down.
I’ll admit, it wasn’t until listening to podcasts and being more socially aware of things that I discovered what the term gaslighting is. I have seen old movie with that title, but it didn’t click until recently. Royal is a master manipulating and that is what he did to Valentine until she had enough. He reveals to her the truth and I really like that we explore this idea in the movie. I feel horrible for Valentine and what she’s dealing with. I also feel for Trezzure as she’s been pressured into becoming Valentine in this master plot. The movie does well in fully putting us in Valentine’s camp though and as I said, it is heart-breaking to see the toll Royal has done on her to the point where she has given up.
We also get an interesting look at toxic fandom here. Some people I respect on social media have brought this up about the horror community and we really did get to see that in things in group pages. I’m all for social justice and doing the right thing, but there has to be a point where you stop yourself and not going on the offensive. It is interesting that we get to see the group of fans who are from ‘The Trezzuery’ have been duped and they’re in the wrong. I love seeing how misguided they are.
Despite all of this social commentary we get in this movie that is relevant, I did find the movie to be problematic as well. I do have to admit; I did find it boring and didn’t really feel like it knew where it wanted to go. I also found Royal’s character to be a bit off as well. All of the psychological damage he is doing fits and I like to see him when he’s challenged, but it would have been better in my eyes to keep him a ‘puppeteer’. Him doing some of things I don’t just buy if I’m going to be honest. I can see those that could disagree and that’s fine, I can see their point of view as well.
I would say the acting is fine across the board. Baron is quite attractive and I like that we get to see her at her lowest point as well as her finding her strength to overcome everything around her. Samuel fits as well, but like I just was stating about him, I don’t necessarily buy everything that he did. He seems like a snake and behind the scenes kind of guy, not necessarily doing what we get. Lore is interesting as a duality to Valentine. I like the character we get for her in the end. Akana was solid as well. If I do have a gripe, it would be Smith and Brown along with their storyline are just there for padding and not necessarily needed in my opinion. The fans for Trezzure add an interesting dynamic as I was saying as well.
Something that I did need to talk about would be the effects in the movie. I hated the cheesy effects used at different times surrounding characters. It just felt out of place to me. The blood we get looks good. The gore is subdued aside from that and I enjoy the practical approach of using angles for things. The cinematography works in that regards as well.
The last thing to briefly go over would be the soundtrack. It might surprise you, but I kind of dug the music that Valentine and Trezzure sing in the movie. I know there was an artist commissioned to do it all and it is not songs I’ll listen to regularly. I will admit though, there are times where I could put it on and enjoy it if I’m going to be perfectly honest.
So with that said, I’ll reiterate that I dug the social commentary this movie is conveying. I thought that the acting was solid for the most part in bringing this to light. Both Valentine and Trezzure are interesting as well as attractive characters and I would say the rest of the acting was fine for the most part. If I did have any issues, the movie is a bit boring as I don’t really care where it is going for the most part. Outside of some cheesy, gimmick effects, the blood and what not was fine. I did dig the soundtrack for the most part as well. I would rate this as above average, but don’t think I’ll go much higher.
My Rating: 6 out of 10