For all its efforts to be creative and heavily thematic at the same time, Hulu’s Into the Dark: My Valentine educates but fails to trigger meaningful engagement.
This review of Hulu’s Into the Dark: My Valentine (Episode 5 of Season 2) contains minor spoilers — the film will be available on Hulu on February 7, 2020. You can read the review of the previous installment of the series by clicking these words.
For all its efforts to be a neon-colored, themed slasher story, Into the Dark: My Valentine is a story of cyclical domestic abuse. The story centers on Valentine, a singer that has had her entire identity and songs stolen by her ex-boyfriend/manager who created the exact same brand for his new girlfriend/protégé, Trezzure.
The tragedy is that Trezzure is successful, while Valentine is a hated social media figure, even attracting aggressive Trezzure fans, who attend her “return” at a small concert, just to boo her. The story spins on its head when Valentine’s ex-boyfriend shuts down the small-concert club and turns up with Trezzure.
As the story develops it’s evident that Into the Dark: My Valentine is embroiled in dark relationship manipulation. The plot enjoys showing glimpses into Trezzure and Valentine’s past with this manager, a man that romantically commits to them but controls their every thought and physical appearance to a tee with obsessive suggestions and threats. The dialogue is on point with the theme, with the women leads voicing their experiences with this man and how they have struggled to release themselves from his grip. It has #MeToo intentions in the plot, with careers dependent on the man in power.
The outstanding issue with Into the Dark: My Valentine is the story progress. The main scenes are boxed into the small-concert club but the dialogue is barely creative, resorting to just expositive statements leading to the next slasher moment. It tries hard to be thematic, but its neon-like ways are heavily distracting, with the director opting to use split screens and funky editing to tell a story. It, unfortunately, does not work.
That’s not to say that Into the Dark: My Valentine is the worst addition to the Hulu series, but its creative output with the editing and scene-setting is not as powerful as the characters and their words. It’s all lackluster and predictable with overegging, heard-before dialogue.
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