Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friday the 13th

This 2009 horror film is a reboot of the legendary and iconic film franchise and is directed by Marcus Nispel, who frankly right now is the king of iconic horror reboots, creating a fantastic reboot of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. It's also from the writers of Freddy vs. Jason, Damion Shannon and Mark Swift, which was frankly every horror geeks wet dream. God I love that movie. This reboot stars Jared Padalecki (he of the Supernatural tv show fame) as Clay, who travels to Crystal Lake in search of his missing sister who was last seen gallivanting around Camp Crystal. When will anyone ever learn? Anyway, along the way he comes across some sexed up 20-somethings staying at a lake house, as Jason stalks the woods, beginning to hunt people that have wandered into surrounding the area. What happened to Clay’s sister and will Clay even survive the day to find out?

The original Friday the 13th film came out in 1980, and in the 28 years since the franchise has had 9 sequels. However, it has also been 7 years since the last time we saw Jason in a Friday the 13th movie with Jason X, which effectively ended the franchise by putting Jason in space and making him a mechanized killer. Does this new remake of the series warrant a rebirth in the classic horror franchise, or is it just another retread and a waste of everyone’s time?

Much like how Superman Returns was a sequel to the second Superman film, Friday the 13th is a sequel to the original film. It begins with how the first movie ended, with Jason’s mother being killed and Jason taking on the mantle of fine citizen, doing away with all the noisy campers that come a sexing. The opening tells you all that you really need to know, and you don’t need to be a Friday the 13th aficionado to enjoy this reboot. Beyond that though, this remake is like a best of the Friday the 13th series. It’s pre-Zombie Jason. I don’t remember when he became Zombie Jason, probably around part 4 or 5. This one has the crazy silent redneck version of the original. And unlike the original second film, Jason dons the hockey mask early on. Also, many of the kills were culled from previous films. So yeah, this is a hit parade of all the great and iconic moments in the Friday the 13th film franchise, and is a fantastic beginning.

There were also some nice homage’s littered as Easter eggs throughout the film, like the wheelchair from a victim in part 2 and the original sweater Jason’s mother wore in part one. Its touches like those, that really convey how much care and respect the writers and director had when making this film. The key to every Friday the 13th movie is Jason, and the filmmakers here kept a lot of the things that previously made Jason so great (his hulking physique, his deformity, his soundless hunting, his superhuman numbness to pain, his anti-rusting machete), and the one update that I was hesitant about, Jason running, was nicely done and didn’t feel thrown in for shock value. The story is also secondary for this kind of movie, but it’s adequate enough. Nothing feels too hackneyed, the dialogue is perfectly cheesy, and the scares are nicely done. However, you watch a Friday the 13th film for the kills and while not all the deaths are amazing, a few of them are just downright incredible. I mean one character has the best death I have ever seen in any horror film. It involves a woman, water and some fantastic nudity in death. When you watch this film you’ll know what I’m talking about. I mean it’s stellar.

The acting is pretty nicely done here. I mean no one is stellar, but no one puts forth a bad performance either. Like I said before, Jared Padalecki’s in this film and he does a nice enough job. However my favorite character by far is that of the douche bag frat boy Trent played by Travis Can Winkle. He just has this look, like he’s one of those cocky frat boys from an 80’s movie, like he wouldn’t feel out of place picking on the nerds in Revenge of the Nerds, Weird Science or sweeping the leg in Karate Kid. He’s just a great character and by far has the best scene in the movie when he screams like a girl. I mean it’s on par with Mickey Rourke’s take in the Wrestler, it’s that good.

There’s some fantastic nudity as well. Former pop princess Willa Ford has a nice topless scene. However my favorite scene is an extended sex scene where the douche bag Trent is having sex and has a running commentary on how fantastic the breasts are of the woman he’s having sex with. I mean it’s like, “your breasts are mind-boggling. There so round, and the nipple dimensions are perfectly symmetrical.” It’s hilarious and that’s really what makes this film so enjoyable, for a horror film, it’s actually really funny. While humor has always been a major aspect of the the Friday the 13th series, I found the humor in this movie really the best part of it.

Beyond a reboot, Friday the 13th works as just a new entry in the horror franchise. You don’t have to have been a fan of the original series to enjoy this film, but if you are, you won’t feel cold and leave the theater with a bitter aftertaste. This film is easily one of the best in the horror franchise, so I give this a “bring your lunch from home because you do not want to miss this one.” A great film, a lot of fun, and wonderful counter programming for a Valentine’s Day weekend.

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