Valentine’s Day, that day on the calendar dominated by flowers, chocolates and mushy romantic comedies.

But let’s face it — not everybody is into the whole romance thing. For many, watching a sappy RomCom ranks way down on their list of desirable ways to spend an evening, whether they are with a significant other or not. That doesn’t mean you have to write off recognizing February 14th. There are still some films you can enjoy that are, shall we say, a tad more expressive. (And given the COVID protocols still in place across the country, it’s a better idea to stay home and watch movies anyway!)

“A good horror movie or intense, action-packed thriller is almost like a twisted love story,” says Ashley Saunders, Social Media Specialist for Hisense Canada and a self-avowed horror movie enthusiast. “Many of them have a love story at their heart — which raises the stakes and makes it a little more exciting to watch ­— they just unpack it in a wildly different way.”

Ashley offers her choices for some movies based on a love story that maybe don’t fit into the traditional Valentine’s Day mold:

  • Valentine — It’s right in the name! A young man scorned by five women while in high school emerges years later, stalking them on Valentine’s Day. Starring David Boreanz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Denise Richards, Katherine Heigl and Jessica Capshaw, daughter to Kate Capshaw and stepdaughter of Stephen Spielberg.
  • True Romance — Nothing wrong with some Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette on Valentine’s Day. A shy, awkward comic book geek gets set up with a call-girl on his birthday. They fall in love, get married and end up on a road trip marked by guns, drugs and killings.
  • The Hunger Games — The dystopian future aside, what’s more romantic than sacrificing yourself for love? First main character Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) does it for her sister when she “volunteers as tribute” to enter the titular contest, then she is willing to do again to save the man she loves.
  • The Shape of Water — Falling in love with a monster isn’t weird at all. Director Guillermo Del Toro’s Best Picture-winner in which a lonely janitor played by Sally Hawkins falls for an amphibious creature being held captive in a secret classified experiment.
  • Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn — A great break-up movie, perhaps an anti-Valentine’s Day story. Pulled from the DC Comics universe, it follows Harley Quinn (played fabulously by Margot Robbie) after she breaks up with the homicidal maniac and Batman arch-villain The Joker. #ByeJoker!
  • Pitch Perfect – OK, so it’s not a horror or thriller, but it can’t exactly be classified as a RomCom either. But there is a lot of heart in this fun Anna Kendrick film — and it is rife with references to the ’80s classic The Breakfast Club.

Once you have picked the flick for your Valentine’s Day thriller, you need to make sure your TV is up to snuff. To maximize your viewing experience, look for:

  • Ultimate Resolution — Don’t settle for less than 4K ULED or Quantum Dot technology.
  • Broad Colour Spectrum — Distinguish the dark from the really dark, and get the most vibrant reds — not just the colour of Valentine’s Day, but also one of the most important colours if you are immersed in a slasher flick.
  • Strong Contrast — Without the right contrast, you could end up watching a black screen, or get pixelated blotches in the dark areas that make it hard to see what is happening. HDR is like a box of chocolates, but better.
  • Killer Sound — Pun intended. Much of the tension in a thriller comes from the soundtrack.

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