What better to celebrate the holiday of love and giving by going to the movies to watch college kids get slaughtered by a man in a hockey mask? It seems as if remakes, or "re-boots", of popular horror franchises are fast becoming all the rage lately. We got The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes a few years ago, Halloween and The Hitcher last year, and Nightmare on Elm Street to look forward to. But for now, we have to make do with Friday the 13th, yet another blood and boob filled slasher movie that takes place in a world where no one watches slasher movies.
Friday the 13th begins at a pretty good pace. We get a, about, 20 minute prologue, in which a couple of teens on a camping trip indulge in their carnal desires, and as such, get a machete to the face. Fast forward six weeks, and we get to the actual premise of the film. The brother of one of the teens that went missing has come to Camp Crystal Lake to search for her. Along the way, he runs into another group of teens who are up there for the weekend with only a few intentions. Drink, get high, and fuck. I think you can figure out where this is going. Little do these teens know, but they've stumbled upon the hunting ground of the most tenacious serial killer, EVER, Jason Voorhees. Blood flows like wine, clothes fall like leaves. It's business as usual.
Most of the cast are throwaways. You got your honorable guy who you know will survive, the nice girl who you know will survive, the smooth, sex machine who you know is going to meet a horrible end, the douche bag host who you know is going to meet the most satisfying death, the two awkward guys that look out for each other who you know will die within five minutes of each other, and the resident hotties, who you know will get naked, and then die. The only real standout is Jared Padalecki as the brother. I like him; he's been pretty good on Supernatural and Gilmore Girls. He is the only one that has some real meat to work with in his role. Plus, he looks really good, so there's that. Everyone else is just there to screw each other and spill bodily fluids.
The movie a has a cool sense of style, thanks to some pretty nifty direction from Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). He does deliver some startling moments, and some pretty inventive kills. Jason is a resourceful fellow, let's leave it at that. Unfortunately, he also delivers unto us, once again, a slasher movie drenched in cliches. Friday the 13th follows all the rules set down by it's older siblings, and follows them to the note. Everyone who doesn't act like a God fearing Christian, dies. I'm not even kidding. The survivors, in the end, didn't drink, get high, or fuck each other. Everyone who did... well, you get the idea. It's kind of annoying that the director got a great opportunity thrown at him and didn't do anything special with it. Friday the 13th is the exact same thing we've seen from all the horror movie "re-boots" in the last ten years, where people do the stupidest things they could possibly thing of, and, as punishment, get a knife shoved into their throats.
I may seem on the fence here, and that's because I am. I can't decide whether or not I should crucify Friday the 13th or just let it be. I'll admit, I was kind of entertained. It's so god damn ridiculous, I couldn't help it. I guess if I view on it's own merits, there's really nothing to complain about. We all knew the acting would suck; we all the knew the characters would act really stupid; we all knew that enough blood would be spilled to fill a lake. For the people who enjoy that sort of stuff, this will do just fine; it is one of the better slasher "re-boots" to come along in a while. But, on the other hand, I had a really hard time getting over the fact that nothing new was brought to this increasingly boring genre. All it is is just a sadistic celebration of sex and violence. So, if you enjoyed the Saw movies, The Hills Have Eyes, and can't wait to see the re-make of The Last House on the Left next month, go for it; you'll enjoy the hell out of Friday the 13th. For the rest of you, I can't in good conscience recommend it.
I give nothing away by saying that the movie ends with Padalecki and Co. dumping Jason's "dead" body into the lake. Now, before I finish up, let's review, for a second, Jason's exploits over the years, courtesy of Wikipedia. So far in the series, Jason has been drowned, sliced by a machete in the shoulder, hit with an axe in the head, supposedly cremated, aped by a copycat killer, buried, brought back to life by a lightning bolt, chained to a rock and thrown in the lake again, resurrected by telekinesis, drowned again, resurrected by an underwater electrical surge, melted by toxic waste, killed by the FBI, resurrected AGAIN through possession of another body, returned to his own body, thrown into hell, used for research, cryogenically frozen, thawed, turned into a cyborg, blown into space, freed to continue his rampage on another planet, returned to the present to face of with Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street, and drowned again! Anyone who thinks they can kill Jason is foolish optimist! C+