Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Friday the 13th (2009)

Credentials: 25% Certified Rotten ( / 5.5 out of 10 ( / 34 out of 100 (
Plot: A group of twenty somethings head out into the woods for a weekend of fun, booze, illegal drugs and premarital sex. Unfortunately, the woods they select are already occupied by a hulking serial killer with a fondness for machetes and protective hockey equipment who also has some pretty serious mommy issues (Jason played by Derek Mears). Meanwhile, hunky bad boy Clay (Jared Padalecki) seems to have misplaced his sister within the not-so-friendly confines of the same woods. Will he find her before Jason works his magic?
Thoughts: Look, I’m not fooling anybody with this write up. I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting “Friday the 13th” (2009) is the worst movie of all time. Hell, it’s not even the worst “Friday the 13th” movie of all time--- either “Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning” or “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” wears that crown.
                Still, the “Friday the 13th” remake really ticked me off when I first saw it in theaters two years ago and it ticked me off again when I watched it on Sunday.
                Even though it’s not the worst in the franchise, this is still a not good movie. I reviewed it when it came out for WCU’s The Quad Newspaper and I called it a “missed layup.” It should have been easy, but somehow it wasn’t.
                Out of horror’s un-Holy Trinity--- “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th” and “A Night on Elm Street”--- “Friday” is the one most deserving of a remake. The series was usually entertaining, but it was never all that scary and the quality was sort of meh.
                The best one is part 6 and by that point, Jason is not only basically the hero, but also a zombie.
                Slasher movies are, by their very nature, utterly devoid of logic. Usually. But even by those already low standards, “Friday the 13th” is a logical wasteland.
                Characters do the usual dumb stuff: They wander miles off into the woods at night to pee, they investigate the creepy abandoned summer camp, they can’t figure out how to start their car.
                But new lows are reached when our female lead Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) decides to spend all day wandering around in the woods with a perfect (literally, Padalecki is a gorgeous man) stranger. I mean sure, he claims he’s looking for his missing sister, but I’ve heard worse pickup lines.
                And then there’s the movie’s confused geography. Jason is everywhere at all times. Either he’s actually twins or he can teleport. I can’t think of any other explanation for his uncanny ability to kill a character in one place and then show up on a roof top at a completely separate location moments later.
                In addition to the low bar set by its predecessors, I also had high hopes for this movie thanks to the presence of director Marcus Nispel, who helmed one of the better remakes in recent memory: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
                Nispel did his job. “Friday” looks cool, although maybe just a hair too much like “Chainsaw.”
                But he couldn’t overcome the dumb script by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (“Freddy vs. Jason”). The duo basically just pulled plot points from the first four “Friday” flicks, sprinkled in a couple of twists and amped up the gore.
                Unfortunately, this created a massive plot hole with Jason’s backstory. In the first film, Mrs. Voorhees is the killer, out to avenge Jason who drowned in a lake as a young boy. When he shows up in part two as a fully grown and very much alive man, we can forgive the obvious flaw. After all, it’s a sequel. They rarely make sense.
                Swift and Shannon make use of this same storyline early in their movie, only those elements don’t work in the same film. Why didn’t Jason ever tell his mom he was alive so she would stop killing people? Why did he hide from her all that time? Why did he just stand there and watch her die?
Quick Thoughts
                --- Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) and Chewie (Aaron Yoo) provide some wonderful, moderately against type comedic relief in a sea of d-bags and whores
                --- God I love Jared Padalecki. What hair that man has
                --- So am I to understand Jason is protecting this pot garden? Did he plant it to lure teenagers in?
                ---Man, Crystal Lake has more tunnels than Stalag 13
                --- Jason is like a hockey-loving Rambo with all these traps… “They drew first blood… and tried to smoke my pot…”
                --- These kills are super gory… and very clever.  I’m not scared, but I AM disgusted AND impressed
                And so there you have it, “Friday the 13th” (2009).
                Bumblebee tuna.  

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