Friday the 13th (2009)
by Evan ODell 2/17/09
(2009) Directed by Marcus Nispel from characters by Victor Miller. Story by Damian Shannon, Mark Swift, and Mark Wheaton. Screenplay by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. Starring Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle, Nana Visitor, and Derek Mears.
It has been almost 29 years since director Sean S. Cunningham brought Friday the 13th to the big screen. Since then it has become a horror phenomenon. It would be difficult to find a young adult who didn’t know the name Jason Voorhees. In that time, he has gone from a poor drowned boy to a supernatural force hell bent on slaying. After 9 films he even went to space. Some say that was the final straw. The original title had even been dropped by that point, for his character name. And apparently he had earned that level of recognition. He would return two years later to battle the other horror franchise monster phenom of the Eighties, Freddy Kreuger in Freddy vs. Jason.
After many attempts to revisit the vs. title, Jason would instead be remade for a new generation. Cunningham would come back to executive produce with Marcus Nispel, the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, helming the picture. For some, Friday the 13th is holy. For me it is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was the film to me that epitomized the rawness and terror of the Seventies horror movie. The raw camera style led to a cinema verite type feel which greatly enhanced the atmosphere of that particular film. Which is why I found it hard to enjoy the slicked up remake. Though I am willing to admit I enjoyed it more than any previous sequel to Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
When I heard Jared Padalecki was in it, I was a little nervous. I thought it was that same Supernatural guy who was just in the My Bloody Valentine remake, not two weeks prior. I find his acting feels a bit forced, and was in no mood to see him in another horror movie so soon. But it turns out that guy's name is Jensen Ackles and Friday has the other Supernatural guy, whom I don't find anywhere near as annoying. Can you tell I don’t watch Supernatural?
I had heard going in, that this film takes from the first three. If that's so, then part 1 is all of two minutes, part 2 is the next 15 minutes and part 3 makes up the remainder. Though, this film merely hits the high points of those films, while reinventing the remainder.
There are definitely some differences about Jason this time. In this one, Jason takes prisoners, well, a prisoner. He's also proficient with the bow and arrow. While its not directly implied it is Jason’s, there is also a marijuana field in his territory and he's possessive about it.
The acting in the remake is better than many of the other Friday the 13ths. After 12 movies, it is all a bit derivative, but I would call this a successful remake. I had fun. I wouldn’t say this was as good as remakes of The Fly, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Dawn of the Dead. But it wasn’t near as bad as The Omen remake which seemed boring and pointless because it brought nothing new to the table and I enjoyed it more than the recent My Bloody Valentine remake or as mentioned, the director's previous remake.
What do they get right about the picture? Well, lots of deaths. At least half a dozen before the titles come up. Maybe not Jason’s most brutal deaths, but they are fun to watch. My favorite of which, was the axe killing. There are also plenty of bared breasts.
What do they get wrong? Well, I don’t like when a character, whom you know from the onset, is set up to be the hero. I kind of like it when most of the characters are unlikeable. Because when you get right down to it, Jason is the anti-hero and I can’t help rooting for him.
I bet you can tell me Jason’s back story, but if not; Jason drowned while Camp Crystal Lake counselors were busy fornicating when they should have been paying attention to their young charges. That didn’t sit well with Pamela Voorhees (Nana Visitor), young Jason’s mom. She went on a one-woman killing spree out of revenge, but before it was over she had a little revenge visited upon her. Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) saw what became of dear beloved mom, and hiding his mutated head at first behind a burlap sack, he continues mommy’s mission of revenge against all who would enter his territory.
This time, that includes five young people on a camping trip, including a couple guys who hope to harvest some marijuana rumored to grow nearby. As well as seven people visiting a lake house to party. Clay (Jared Padalecki) is the lone guy on a motorcycle who is out trying to find his sister, Whitney (Amanda Righetti), who went missing in the region a month ago. Trent (Travis Van Winkle), son of the lake house owner and all around schmuck, takes an instant disliking to Clay which only guarantees that his love interest, Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), is intrigued by this would be do-gooder.