Thursday, December 17, 2009
Friday the 13th (2009) review: When being "true to the original" is not a good thing.
Overall verdict: 5.5/10
The Good: Retains everything good thing about the original. Stylish camera-work, action packed chase scenes, a new and improved "Jason Voorhees".
The Bad: retains every BAD thing about the original. Unlikable characters, cheesy dialogue, too much sex, illogical plot holes.
Availability: On discount priced DVD in singapore
- Rebirth of Jason Voorhees "making of" featurette
- deleted scenes
DVD Value for money grade: C
When you get down to the nitty gritty of this movie, the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th specifically caters only to existing fans of the genre. It takes EVERYTHING synonymous with 80s slasher movies and ups the ante on them. A huge pity that "everything" also includes the flaws of such slasher genre films such as annoying teenage characters, too much sex and a less than adequate story.
For starters, those who have watched at least one of the previous 1980s Friday the 13th movies can feel safe in the knowledge that this movie is pretty faithful to the spirit of the Friday the 13th franchise. However, it also means that the story is clichéd and stale to the core. Instead of doing something new with the franchise, it falls back on standard slasher movie re-threads. As usual, we follow a bunch of horny/idiotic teenagers who come to the lakeside for whatever silly reason (in this case, it is either to look for Marijuana or to party away from adult supervision), and then get hunted down and picked off one at a time by a crazed serial killer.
The movie jumps straight into the action for the first 20 minutes or so starting with the murder of Jason's mother and then Jason's attack on a bunch of campers many years later which would then lead into the story proper of Clay(played by the star of the "Supernatural" TV series Jared Padalecki) looking for his sister who went missing at camp crystal lake. But other than that, there is hardly anything else of interest to speak of.
If the story is not going to hold an audience, at least the characters should. right? Also no.
All of them are your usual, stereotypical horror movie stock characters who are just there to provide eye candy until they die. Even the character of Clay, who could have been given a more well rounded development, falls flat. Almost all of them are portrayed in such a terrible light that one would actually WANT Jason to kill them off just to prove Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest(or in this case extinction of the silliest). The actors(mostly culled from TV series) seem to do their best, but a mediocre script ruins everything.
Well, at least for a horror film it has to be scary right? wrong! There is not a single scare or even a shock in this entire film! So what silly excuse can anyone give to even waste their time with this movie?
Where Friday the 13th fails to reinvigorate the genre and fails even more as a competent horror movie, it suceeds in its "slasher" aspect coupled with some impressive production values and directing.
For starters, the film looks great, easily the best looking horror movie ever. Slick camera-work, a dark gloomy but crisp lighting style and some creative directing skills bring out the most in every single kill scene. Though the kills are not spectacular in any way, they are quite realistically played out. Every chase scene is a tense nail-biter, every bloody slash, bash and impalement is done with the flair and style of a big budget action flick.
The second "saving grace" of the film is the Jason Voorhees character himself. Face it, Jason in the previous Friday the 13th movies was a goofy looking retard who then became a dim witted, lumbering Zombie freak. THIS new Jason(played by Derek Mears) actually feels more threatening for a change. He plans his kills, he baits his victims into traps, he strikes with uncanny precision; more like a savage commando than a retard.
If anything, Friday the 13th 2009 succeeds at delivering the fundamental desire of any fan of slasher films: watching people you dislike getting dispatched in the most horrific and gruesome ways. It is sheer escapism and it blatantly focuses on that aspect while disregarding all others, for better or for worse.
************Personal rant**********There came a point in the movie when i actually started rooting FOR Jason to make his next kill only because the characters were just THAT unlikable.
I bet the producers were like, "Silly teenager characters with little development? All the more reason to want them to be killed off! Story?? Who needs story?! Just think up some shenanigans for them to go through until the next on gets offed."
*************Personal rant over. Back to review Proper*******************
At its core, Friday the 13th 2009 is no where near the standard of a "good movie". Merely good for 106 minutes of violent escapism. It adheres too much to the blandness of the original films but manages to up-the-ante on the aspects that matter to slasher fans; Better kills, a slick new look, a clear directing style, an improved re-imaging of Jason. Even the disgusting but mandatory sex scene(a staple in all slasher movies) is taken up a notch by having not one but two sex scenes to please the hot blooded male audience. Sadly, Friday the 13th fell back too much on its franchise's staples. It failed to carve a fresh new identity of its own and thus ended up tipping over into mediocrity.
It is violent and fun in a sick escapist sort of way, but fails as a "horror" show due to its lack of scares. Maybe being too faithful to the original wasn't such a good idea afterall.
Replay value: B+