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14 Alternative Movies to Watch This Valentine’s Day

From horror to celebrations of friendship, there are many films to replace romance movies this Valentine’s Day.

sad woman holding paper craft heart
Credit: Shutterstock/Nicoleta Lonescu

Historically, Valentine’s Day has been the pinnacle of romance. It’s the time for couples to celebrate their significant others with a shower of gifts, extravagant gestures, or a mix of both.

However, recent numbers show that these displays of affection are on the decline. According to a 2023 Statista study, the number of Americans over 18 celebrating Valentine’s Day has dropped by 11% since 2007. Part of this could be due to the loneliness epidemic faced by Gen Z, which may have led to a change in their viewing habits. According to a UCLA study, Gen Z wants to see more depictions of platonic relationships in film and TV. 

So, if you’re sick of the holiday, rather than watching romance flicks, here are 14 alternatives to watch this Valentine’s Day: seven anti-romance horror movies and seven films all about friendship.

1. My Bloody Valentine (1981)

promotional still for My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Released during the slasher boom of the early 1980s, this Canadian horror flick centers around a group of small-town teenagers celebrating Valentine’s Day for the first time in 20 years following a horrific holiday killing spree. After ignoring the killer’s warnings to stop celebrations, each of them gets picked off one by one. The film was remade in 2009, featuring a 3D gimmick and increased violence. Both are entertaining watches featuring gruesome kills that fall upon any character who attempts to celebrate the holiday or love. They are sure to make anyone feel glad to be single.

2. Possession (1981)

Isabelle Adjani in Possession
Isabelle Adjani in Possession. Credit: Gaumont

Upon release in 1981, Possession was banned as one of the ‘video nasties’ in the UK. The film follows the relationship between an international spy, Mark, and his wife, Anna. After it’s revealed that Anna has been having an affair, she leaves him and their son. Mark keeps tabs on Anna, but as she descends into madness, it seems that something more sinister is at play.

A divorce movie in the most unconventional of ways, the film utilizes body horror as a metaphor for the couple’s resentment. The film boasts an early role for Sam Neil, more than a decade before his iconic role in Jurassic Park. Isabelle Adjani garnered herself a Best Actress award at the 34th Cannes Film Festival thanks to her unhinged performance.

3. Audition (1999)

Eihi Shiina in Audition. Credit: Omega Project

Audition was released on the cusp of the Japanese horror boom of the early 2000s. Notorious for its iconic brutal scene involving piano wire, this film isn’t for the faint of heart. It follows Aoyama seven years after the death of his wife. He holds auditions for a fake production, using it as a dating service to meet someone new. He takes a liking to Asami, but she isn’t who she seems. The film is directed by Takashi Miike, who is known for films with graphic violence such as Ichi the Killer. This is another flick that will make anyone happy to be single.

4. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Picnic at hanging rock
(From left to right) Anne-Louise Lambert, Jane Vallis, and Karen Robson in Picnic at Hanging Rock. Credit: B.E.F. Film Distributors

Based on the novel by Joan Lindsay, Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of Australia’s most iconic films. On Valentine’s Day in 1900, a group of girls attending boarding school are out having a picnic at a volcanic formation known as Hanging Rock on a field trip. Disobeying their headmaster, a few of the students venture off, and it’s not till the end of the day that the faculty notices the girls and one teacher have mysteriously disappeared.

The tale received a remake in 2018, this time as a mini-series. Picnic at Hanging Rock is a perfect mystery to unravel, set against the backdrop of a usually cheerful holiday.

5. The Love Witch (2016)

The love witch
Samantha Robinson in The Love Witch. Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Shot on 35mm film, The Love Witch draws on the aesthetic of the 1960s with elaborate sets and costume design. It takes place in the modern day, following a young witch determined to find a man. She concocts spells and potions that work too well on her lovers and ends up with a string of victims.

That is until she meets the man of her dreams, but her desperation soon drives her over the edge. While paying homage to 1960s horror and Technicolor films by embracing the genre’s campiness, it also explores issues through a feminist lens.

6. Lovers Lane (1999)

Anna Faris, Megan Hunt, and Collin F. Peacock in Lovers Lane. Credit: First Look Studios

Thanks to Scream, the teen slasher genre had a revival in the late 90s and early 2000s. With it came a bunch of copycats; Lovers Lane is one of them. On Valentine’s Day, a man kills a couple at a spot called Lovers Lane and is later captured.

Thirteen years later, he escapes and goes after more teens on Lovers Lane. Featuring one of Anna Farris’s early roles, this flick may not be as well-known as other 90s horror movies, but fans of the genre may still get a kick out of this flick based on the urban legend of an escaped mental patient with a hook for a hand. 

7. Valentine (2001)

Denise Richards and Marley Shelton in Valentine. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Another film from the same batch of post-Scream teen horror, Valentine follows a group of friends stalked by a killer while preparing for Valentine’s Day. The killer in this film dawns a cupid mask, slashing his way through each member of the group. Released during the tail end of the teen slasher craze, it is not highly regarded as a great film. However, familiar faces such as Katherine Heigl, Denise Richards, and David Boreanaz trying to avoid a gruesome fate will entertain even casual horror fans. 

8. Strike! (1998)

Kirsten Dunst, Gaby Hoffman, Rachael Leigh Cook and Monica Keena in a promotional still for Strike
(From left to right) Kirsten Dunst, Gaby Hoffman, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Monica Keena in a promotional still for Strike! Credit: Miramax Films

Also known as All I Wanna Do, this late 90’s teen flick may not be as well-known as others, but it is highly regarded as an underrated gem. The film takes place in the early 1960s and centers on two friends at an all-girls boarding school. They go on strike after learning that an all-boys institution will be merging with theirs.

The cast features famous 90s teen stars such as Kirsten Dunst, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Monica Keena. Strike! is a film able to stand alongside classics of the decade, such as Clueless, taking on a feminist angle and celebrating female friendship.

9. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)

Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Front and center are Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino as the titular characters heading back to their ten year high school reunion. The leads give hilarious performances as they try more and more to improve their lives before meeting up with their former classmates.

Rounding out the cast are Alan Cumming, Janeane Garofalo, and Justin Theroux, who all give amusing performances. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is able to explore the importance of friendship in our lives and how it can uplift us.

10. 9 to 5 (1980)

(From left to right) Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin in 9 to 5. Credit: 20th Century Studios

An 80s classic, 9 to 5 follows Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda as office workers who are tired of their sexist boss mistreating them. The three quickly become friends after bonding over their hatred for him. Following some confusion involving rat poison and a stolen dead body, the trio ends up running the office themselves.

The movie balances heavy themes with comedy, commenting on gender equality and labor rights of the 1980s while being hilarious and silly. It also features Parton’s classic tune “9 to 5” which earned her two Grammys.

11. Muriel’s Wedding (1994)

Rachel Griffiths and Toni Collette in Muriel’s Wedding. Credit: Miramax Films

Toni Collette leads this comedy playing a woman named Muriel who wants nothing more than to be married, though her reality could not be further from her daydreams. She lives in a dead-end town under watch of her tyrannical father, who belittles her and the rest of the family.

After being uninvited to an island getaway by her egotistical friends, she follows them anyways and meets an old high school acquaintance, Rhonda. From there, Muriel goes on a journey to redesign her life to match her fantasies. The film was critically acclaimed upon release and Collette garnered a Best Actress nomination at the Golden Globes.

12. Thelma & Louise (1991)

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise. Credit: MGM

Featuring one of the screen’s most iconic duos, Thelma & Louise follow two best friends who find themselves as fugitives during a weekend getaway gone wrong. What lies ahead is a high-speed journey through the southwest. The film is led by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, who both garnered Best Actress nominations at the 64th Academy Awards. It also features a young Brad Pitt in his breakout performance. Directed by Ridley Scott, Thelma & Louise has been praised for its strong feminist overtones.

13. Stand by Me (1986)

Will Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman, and River Phoenix in Stand By Me.
(From left to right) Will Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, Corey Feldman, and River Phoenix in Stand by Me. Credit: Columbia Pictures

Based on Stephen King’s novella The Body, this iconic coming-of-age movie is about four young boys who travel to find the body of a missing boy in the 1950s. On their journey, the group faces hardships about growing up and confides in one another. The film is elevated by strong performances and showcases the importance of friendship during adolescence.

14. Someone Great (2019)

(From left to right) DeWanda Wise, Gina Rodriguez, and Brittany Snow. Credit: Netflix

This Netflix original follows Gina Rodriguez as an aspiring music journalist who is about to move to San Francisco after landing her dream job. Soon after, her boyfriend of nine years breaks up with her. To cheer her up, she and her two best friends have one last night out in New York City. Praised for its charm and chemistry between the leads, Someone Great declares that friendship can thrive no matter the distance.

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My name is Brandon Budhram and I am currently studying journalism at Seneca Polytechnic. I have loved writing ever since middle school and am now pursuing my passion.

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