While I found it sacrilege to remake TCM, Friday the 13th sinks to new depths.The original film added suspense to the grisly killings with a secret killer whose identity was revealed at the end. Only in serialized sequels does the saga of hockey-masked Jason Voorhees commence. Here in redux land we get a mini intro explaining the decapitation death of Jason's mom and his subsequent rampage. The first part of the movie is strong, reminiscent of 2002's Cabin Fever. Marginally interesting characters actually seem like they're interacting, and the inevitable demise of the oversexed, weed smoking campers is hilarious, frightening and, true to any early slasher flick, ripe with abundant sex, gore and nudity.
Not so much for the second half of the film. This is where we get into Prom Night territory. We get the TV hunks and supermodels and the scary "who's-out-there" vibe of the stalking Jason, who undoubtedly picks them off one by one. We must tolerate stereotypical characters, such as stoner black dude, kooky Asian, good stud, bad stud, smart hot chick and dumb hot chick. It's set at a cabin close to Camp Crystal Lake where all the evil was dished out before. With no explanation whatsoever, Jason returns to kill all the nit wits. This version is so by the numbers that it loses any insight to ingenuity.
Sure, Jason is huge and menacing and the ol' standby machete is still the wielding weapon of choice, but there are also bear traps, bow and arrow, ice pick, ax, wood chipper-nothing we haven't seen before. There's also no creativity in the murders and not even that much gore. At least Friday the 13th follows the "drive-in rule" whereby any chick that exposes her breasts dies. I counted three deaths as a result of booby exposure.
With loud thwacking and sloshing sounds to emphasize head trauma and blood oozing, the most ripped off horror franchise essentially rips itself off. And so goes the rest of the film, which subsists on perpetual plagiarism of the legacy that once was Friday the 13th. There's no attempt to separate itself from the piss-poor sequels that dominated the video stores throughout the '80s and '90s.
The movie is riddled with bad acting and only one actor (Travis Van Winkle) stands out in this entire fiasco and that's simply because of his uncanny resemblance to Tom Cruise (only bigger and blonde).
Director Marcus Nispel unimaginatively recreates the exact gritty look he brought to TCM and makes Jason just a shadowy humungous villain. Here he misses the chance to exalt in Jason's horror movie icon status. Alongside Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers, Jason is in the company of horror legends that will never die. Writers over the decades have been coming up with ways to keep Jason going like some kind of serial slaughtering Energizer Bunny. He's been to Hell, Outer Space, Manhattan, and even fought Freddy Kruger.
Friday the 13th will only entertain people who have never seen a slasher flick or one of the gazillion "Jason-goes-berserk" sequels. This movie should sink back into Crystal Lake forever. But as we all know Jason will splash back out, alive and well, emerging from under the murky depths to taunt us with more sequels- for once I say enough is enough.
Friday the 13th ★✩✩✩✩
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Travis Van Winkle, Aaron Yoo, Amanda Righetti. Directed by: Marcus Nispel. Rated R