Thursday, June 10, 2010

Horror Movie Review: Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th

Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, and Derek Mears

Directed by: Marcus Nispel

Written by: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift, and Mark Wheaton, based on characters created by Victor Miller

Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Platinum Dunes, and Crystal Lake Entertainment

Awards: Won Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards

Release Date: February 9, 2009

Let's face it, a remake has an automatic strike against it. With Hollywood already being accused of being unable to come up with something new (which, is that really an attainable goal?), taking something old and doing it again is just asking for criticism. And while there is the occasional good remake, such as 1982's The Thing and 1986's The Fly, most remakes leave us wondering why they bothered to do it at all.

Friday the 13th 2009 is basically the first three original movies crunched into one movie. We see Pamela Voorhees being killed by the one survivor of her killing spree. We see years later a group of young adults looking for an abandoned crop of marijuana get hacked, slashed, and burned by a grown-up Jason.

Then we get the main story. One of Jason's victims from the pot scavenge has a brother who, 6 weeks later, is still looking for her while the police are giving up. He and a group of young adults vacationing in Crystal Lake become Jason's next set of victims.

The set-up is clearly very similar to the original series of movies, but Jason himself is a bit different. He's more calculating that Classic Jason who would just kill whomever he encountered with whatever he had on hand. This Jason sets bear traps, has rope triggers to alert him when someone's in Camp Crystal Lake, and uses bow and arrows. Classic Jason was also one the the great 80s slashers who walked after his victims and still caught up to them even if they were sprinting through the woods. New Jason runs. Technically I prefer Classic Jason, but I'm ok with Newbie Jason.

We have plenty of the horror movie cliche's here with plenty of sex and drugs. In fact, there was so much use of female frontal nudity that I couldn't just choose one image, I've had to use them all. Two sex scenes even border on soft core porn, at least in the extended Killer Cut. While Hollywood's insistance that it's not a horror or teen movie without some pot annoys me, the ample titty shots counterbalance it well.

But then there are the things which don't make sense...An old woman says that outsiders cause trouble because they don't know where to avoid and if the sister went missing, she's dead. Sounds like there's a history here, but the local sheriff just dismisses the brother's concern. The sheriff says that she probably ran off with her boyfriend, but then doesn't address the three other missing friends. Did all five decide to run away and start their own commune? And if enough people go missing in Crystal Lake for a local to say that if they go missing they're dead, then why is tge sheriff so flippant?

I'd be willing to say that the sheriff knows about Jason and just tries to stay out of his way, you know, self-preservation and all. After all, brother finds the GPS which one of the first group was using to find the marijuana, but the sheriff had said they searched everywhere and could find no trace of the group. It could be explained as the sheriff not going close to Camp Crystal Lake except when brother makes a call about a killer, the sheriff drives out to investigate. If he knew about Jason and was trying to stay out of his way, then why would he investigate a report of a killer?

Plus the random killing of a local with little explanation. He mentioned finding some marijuana, so assuming it was the marijuana the others had been looking for, Jason killed him for...trespassing? He was so offended he went offsite to track down this guy because he stole Jason's pot? What?

Almost every horror movie has some situations where we are left saying, "Now why the hell...? That doesn't make sense." The way I figure it is if the inconsistency or illogic doesn't leap out at me like I'm wearing 3D glasses, or if I can explain it away with something at least approaching possible, then I'm ok with it. Unfortunately, these questions jumped out screaming at me and I couldn't find justification for the events.

All-in-all it's a pretty good film on its own, but it pales in comparison to the original Friday the 13th, although it'll be hard to ever beat the beheading of Kevin Bacon. It has its troubles, but provides enough blood and boobs to make it worth glossing over the bumps the way they glossed over them in the script.

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