Saturday, February 14, 2009

Like A Pair Of Old Socks

I have a theory. Something I've been formulating for more than a decade. In the Friday the 13th movies psycho killer Jason Voorhees stalks the woods surrounding Camp Crystal Lake(and sometimes Manhattan if you want to get technical) and picks off any pesky youngsters who wander near.

Of course, the horror movie laws dictate that anyone caught performing an illegal or morally corrupt act will die. Look, I don't have to explain this to you. I'm sure you've seen Scream. It's such a well known idea that it's a damned cliche.

Anyways, my theory is that Jason Voorhees is actually a fundamentalist christian gone insane from isolation. Think about it! Seriously, he only kills people who have either A.)done recreational drugs or had intent to sell illegal substances, B.)have had pre-marital sex, C.)were dicks or D.)all of the above. The innocent ones might be attacked, but rarely die. Because Jason realizes that they are really good and let's them live, until the sequel at least.

The recently release Friday The 13th rebirth not only reaffirms my theory but takes it to absurd heights.


Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes horror movie label is usually a kiss of remake death. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror have gotten the Michael Bay touch earlier this decade and I was fairly strong in my hatred of those two movies.

I didn't have much faith in Platinum Dunes and when I heard that they were doing a remake of Friday the 13th I was at first skeptical. But then I realized something, aside from the first movie in the series(a genuinely scary thriller) all the other Friday films were fun but in no way good. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Friday movies, but in much the same way that Owen Wilson's mother probably loves her son. Let me be brutally honest, there isn't much that can be done hurt the series any further. I mean, they've already taken Jason into space!

So with that being said, this Friday the 13th is an admirable entry into the series that corrects some of the missteps that the later films made while missing some of the charm that the earlier films contained.

This film is being marketed as a remake/reboot of the series but in the opening flashback teaser(a retelling of the original film's ending with Star Trek Deep Space Nine's Nana Visitor playing Mrs. Voorhees) it is clear that it's NOT a remake but actually could reside within continuity. It's much the same way that Bryan Singer's Superman Returns is a sequel the first two Supes films while ignoring the latter two. This Friday could conceivably exist after Part 2(Jason even begins the film wearing his hillbilly bag from Part 2!).

This is important for one big reason, it allows the filmmakers to dial back the supernatural elements that became so prevalent in the later films and make this just a back-to-basics scary slasher film. It's done well enough that Jason could be shucked from the narrative and replaced with a random crazy killer and the film would have still worked fairly well.

Which probably answers your big question. Is the new Friday the 13th a good movie. Yes and no. If you like slasher horror films then undoubtedly,yes, you will like this movie. It's got some very interesting kills, some very funny lines and most importantly it doesn't shit on the source material. There's a fairly well done dramatic plot with Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki best know from TV's Supernatural) looking for his sister after she disappears near Crystal Lake.

But, if you don't like movies of the horror variety then you probably won't find much here to like. The direction is competent if bland. The only real attempt at a stylistic direction is the shaky cam. Yes, the hand-held camera shakiness that destroyed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake is back in this. Thankfully it's kept to a minimum here, but still rears it's ugly head now and again. When it happens it's very distracting. Director Marcus Nispel is responsible for both films, so I'm glad that he at least had some restraint in this one.

The acting is pretty bad. Aside from Padalecki, Amanda Righetti(CBS's The Mentalist) does a fairly good job slumming it in this as Clay's sister. Other than these two the rest of the cast is forgettable(unless you notice some random actors from other productions, like Dick Cassablancas from Veronica Mars or the Faux Alan York from 24).

Most of the "scares" come from music cues that are fairly predictable and from people turning around to find Jason standing behind them, so it's not a very frightening movie. But, come on, it's a slasher horror flick, it's not supposed to be SCARY!

And, of course, it's an EXTREMELY cliched movie. It uses every horror movie trope. It's both a boon and a curse. It's like slipping on your favorite pair of socks. They are so damn comfortable until you notice the giant hole that your toe sticks through. You can still wear them, but that hole is going to be nagging you all day long.

So this one is for the fans(Jim, Garrett, sorry!) only. If you love slasher horror films or just the old Friday movies, then rest assured you will probably like this. If those descriptions don't fit you then this is certainly not the movie for you.

2.5 snowcaps out of 5!

'Till next time!

2 comments:

dave said...

i think your theory is a little off. you should try and watch the movies again ( 1 and 5 don't count since jason wasn't in them ). his first kill was the girl that killed his mom ( i don't know where she was but it wasn't camp crystal lake ). his second kill was a police officer ( then jason somehow drove his car out of the way so no one would find it ) his third kill was the crazy old guy ralph. i only know this since i recently saw the movie, but i also remember in the forth movie the kids mother was killed, and the man looking for jason was killed too. over the various movies there have been more "innocents" killed than you may think.

Billy said...

methinks you don't understand the meaning of a joke!

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