by Rick Grant
Grade: D / Rated R / 97 min
Given that the horror genre is critic proof, there are certain standards in this cliche style of filmmaking. Even based on lowered expectations, this remake of the original Friday the 13th fails on all levels to deliver scares or a plausible story. It’s strictly formulaic pulp with young actors hoping to get noticed.
However, for older viewers who raised teenagers, the film is a wish fulfillment fantasy watching the psychotic killer Jason (in a hockey goalie mask) off these annoying bimbos and clueless dweebs one by one. Yes, the setup is as old as horror films. A group of hormone addled teenagers go off on an adventure in the woods (for sex and pot smoking) near the old Camp Crystal Lake where Jason Voorhees lurks in his underground lair.
It’s fun to guess who will be murdered next in a variety of gore splattered methods. Jason loves to use ordinary garden tools to impale his victims. His machete is his favorite weapon. With one swipe, he can lop-off the head of a dumb blonde, or fire an arrow through the head of an obnoxious slacker in a speed boat. (I hated that guy.)
This teenage sex and drugs party suffers from an appalling attrition rate as they wander around the area, fresh meat for Jason’s frig. The blood lust of this wonton killer has no boundaries. Chop, chop, Jason can clean up a woods party faster than a cop, who himself is run though the eye by Jason-the good-‘ol-boy goalie-mask ghoul.
Most of the young actors who appear in this film were not ready for prime time, except Danielle Panabaker who plays Jenna with stand out talent. Panabaker co-starred with James Woods in the now defunct TV series, Shark. Of course, cheesy horror is the launching pad for these young actors. All they want is face time in front of the camera. Since looks are everything in Hollywood, this group of actors meet the beauty criterion perfectly. But they need more acting lessons.
A guy not part of the original group has traveled to the Crystal Lake on a motorcycle to find his missing sister. He joins Panabaker’s character Jenna in a desperate quest to find out any information on his sister. Unbeknownst to her brother, the girl is being held captive by Jason because she resembles his kin. So, we can easily see where this story is going.
Ah, but Jason has work to do hacking to death a cadre of teenagers. But, the film is not scary. We see too much of Jason. In quality horror, it’s what you don’t see that’s scary. Jason is all too real to cause the viewers to scream. Yeah, he wears that scary goalie mask, but big deal. He can be taken out. Or can he?
The story implies that Jason can’t be killed-he’s a sprit in the flesh like Freddy. Yeah you can run him through with a machete, but he can come back. Clearly, Camp Crystal Lake is like the Roach Motel, the teenagers check in but they don’t check out. If you go missing in this area, everyone will assume you’re dead. So to find a live victim of Jason is significant.
Overall, this is a pathetic remake of the original. The concept is cliche squared.
Friday the 13th (2009)
by Rick Grant