28

Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th (2009)Reviewed by Nomad

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

Directed by Marcus Nispel


For years zombies were slow, lumbering creatures, gingerly raising their arms at you as you passed them by. In small numbers this meant you could easily avoid their bitey embrace and even engage in a game of “tip the dead guy over”. The same could be said for our friend Jason Voorhees, in a sense. So long as you kept him within your field of vision, he would fast walk at you all day long. Losing sight enabled him to activate his supernatural teleport power and most likely meant you were about to run right into the bad end of his axe on the next bend in the road. Today’s technology allows us to always keep Jason on the radar, using GPS to navigate through the woods, the chirp feature on your phone to warn friends Jason has ducked into some shrubbery on the path before you, and even laser pointers to temporarily blind his one good eye. Soon enough you are in your Hummer H3 and barreling away from Camp Crystal Lake, leaving poor Jason at the side of the road with a tear in his eye. Michael Bay and friends know you have the upper hand, so it was time to rebuild Jason. They could make him stronger … stealthier … faster … THEY HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!!!

The newest re-imagining from the Platinum Dunes crew is actually three “>Friday the 13th installments in one. The first 10 minutes show a famous scene from Friday #1. Next we flash forward around 20 years with a pack of horny, good looking teens stumbling through the woods in search of a secret crop of weed. Soon the fires are lit and someone tells the story of Jason, who watched his mother beheaded and still roams the woods to this day. Muahahahahahaaaaa.

Friday the 13th (2009)As the teens pair off and the boobies fly free, Jason makes his entrance (bag head in place) and we get our first taste of how vicious this film will be … and the short answer? Pretty freaking vicious!! This may not be the 10 gallons of blood we remember from the 80’s, but for a mainstream, big studio release, it’s fairly impressive! As well as being faster on the attack, this Jason is more calculating, leaving nasty surprises for those he is not pursuing directly. The unstoppable juggernaut of carnage is replaced by an ice cold killer who may even be taking delight in his handiwork, as evidenced by the particular way you’ll watch him dispatch some of his prey. The freight train of destruction comes to an abrupt halt, and up comes the movie title. HOLY CRAP!! That is what they are considering the opening sequence!!! Any horror fan would have been perfectly blissful to have that as the entire movie! It’s fast, mean, and all about the horror.

Now the scene opens again as a NEW set of kids head to the wilderness to kick back and abuse the good graces of their pompous rich friend named Trent (Van Winkle). I ask you, is anyone in movies named Trent not a complete tool? At the same time Clay Miller (Padalecki) is scouring the countryside in search of his missing sister, who disappeared with the previous weed-seeking crew. As they all journey farther into the woods on their separate agendas, Mr. Voorhees, now sporting his signature mask, takes notice and wants to join the party.

Friday the 13th proves itself extremely effective in setting up scares galore, be they of the creepy build or jumpy variety. Even the jump scare is becoming a lost art nowadays, but when you can make your audience shrink back into their seats with a slow walk down a dark path, you should be applauded! Friday disarms with a healthy dose of stoner comedy, stirring memories of the enjoyment had while watching kickass horror films from years past. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, add a level of depth, or recreate Jason in their own image with plenty of Bay-splosions popping off throughout the forest which is inexplicably exploding. This is a movie about a monster of a man whose only purpose in life seems to be awaiting victims on which to inflict maximum pain. THAT is really all you need to make a damn fine horror film. Of course you gain extra points when you can actually scare people and make them writhe in their seats as you do damage to a body in ways that made me flinch more than once. I’ve got to cop to it. I went into this movie with very low expectations and came out with a big smile on my face.

Friday the 13th (2009)Adding to the believability factor is a superb cast of actors. Jared Padalecki is not given a wide range of feelings to display, and thankfully there are no tight shots on a quivering lip as done to his “Supernatural” co-star in My Bloody Valentine 3D, so his part is covered nicely. Instead he largely takes his lead from Danielle Panabaker as Jenna, a sympathetic “teen in the woods” who takes on his cause and as a result gets into the thick of it. Jenna gives Clay a lot to work with and pretty much conveys every ounce of emotion required of both characters. It’s a pretty smart move. For this turn we have Derek Mears behind the mask. After countless films where Jason was just sort of a mannequin swinging a machete at the call for action, it is fantastic to see someone make a valiant effort to convey menace behind a thick hockey mask. I swear you can see him acting!! The result is one royally pissed off looking Jason Voorhees … and one you won’t forget for some time to come.

Sure, awards are given out for exemplary levels of emotion displayed in many a war epic, but what of the rest of the world running past the hero? Aaron Yoo has perfected the high functioning stoner boy character on a level Pacino could never grasp. Yes, that was meant to be funny. Every time we might hit the doldrums of the film, awaiting the next strike from our favorite man in the mask, Chewie is there to make us spit our drinks out. Julianna Guill actually makes a gyrating, super slutty character named Bree interesting! Have you ever wanted the slutty chick to survive the monster’s attack? You will this time! I can go on and on about main characters acting their asses off, but it is a cast of highly likable, highly capable actors in this film that pull it all together and, most importantly, assure you will have a damn good time.

In approaching a new installment in the Friday the 13th series, you are looking for carnage, hapless teenagers in peril and their ample breasts (respectively), and plenty of scenes for the man, Jason Voorhees. Can you ever recall being scared during a Friday film or wincing in empathic pain from a slow, agonizing death? You just might this time! This incarnation of Friday the 13th ditches the overly used horror film formulas and keeps you guessing as to who will bite the big one next … and how badly they will get it! When a movie company makes an effort like this when they could have pissed all over a franchise and turned out PG13 drek, you have to cheer. Friday the 13th is worthy of the name and, more to the point, is what great horror is all about. Having one hell of a good time.


4 out of 5

Discuss Friday the 13th in our Dread Central forums!

Nomad

  • Demonmonkey

    Jinkies. This wasnt Friday the 13th, this was the most violent Scooby Doo flick ever…with the conspicuous absence of Scooby Doo. Jason Voorhees was just a pot farmer trying to protect his crop by dressing up and scaring people away from Camp Crystal Lake. Then some meddling kids showed up and….well…..he might have gone a little too far. All you needed would be the late Don Knotts yelling “You’re all doomed!” and it’d have been perfect.

  • Johnny Butane

    Well, as you’ll eventually hear on the DFF we’re recording tonight, I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it, it was very “meh”. Had some interesting kills, Mears as Jason was great, and the boobs were nice. That’s about it. It was way too slow for the most part and could’ve used about 5 minutes of fat-trimming.

    • Rorschach

      This is the general consensus I’ve been getting from people, Butane. Not great, not horrible….just….. meh.

      Compared to the hugely enthusiastic response that MBV3D got around here though, it’s kind of telling.

      Heh….maybe they should have done F13 in 3-D too? ;D

      • Nomad

        I actually did not like MBV3d. acting was horrible, 3d was a waste and the twists were fucking ridiculous.

        • Rorschach

          Aw crap, I should have clarified that. I meant my local area when I said “around here” not necessarily DreadCentral. Though MBV3D was greeted rather warmly (and in my mind deservedly so) by the DC staff.

          This is shaping up to be one of those divisive movies that you HAVE to take a side on, it seems. Almost like FUNNY GAMES or REPO.

  • plagiarize

    Jeez guys. Could it be you’re that stuck up about remakes that you can’t even fathom how the remake of something as flawed as Friday the 13th could take all the stuff the first few movies got right, throw out all the stuff that didn’t, and actually put out a fun fucking time at the movies?

    I’ve seen em all of course. 2 and 4 were my favourites until last night, and I have to revisit thwm to figure out where I’d place it, but they nailed it. They had the goofy characters you’d expect with some ones you actually care about mixed in.

    They had some very cool Jasonesque kills and this movies version of Jason is probably the best.

    Is it high art? Fuck no. But didn’t you see the name ‘Friday the 13th’? What more could you possibly expect than some well directed chases through dark woods, some goofy characters, drugs and nudity, great kills and one or two regular people to route for.

    This is the Jason that grew up in the woods that we saw in parts 2 through 4. The Jason that learned to hunt to feed himself. The Jason that would from time to time actually run.

    Basically it comes to this, I don’t see how you can level a single criticism of THIS Friday the 13th that couldn’t be leveled at pretty much all the other ones.

    Platinum Dunes knocked this one out of the park. That shouldn’t be hard to believe given the source material. Texas Chainsaw (and indeed Nightmare on Elm Street) was and is a much more complex, compelling and brilliantly directed piece of cinema that deserves it’s museum status.

    Friday the 13th at it’s best has only ever been a rollercoaster of dumb jokes, tits, thrills and kills.

    • Sirand

      “Basically it comes to this, I don’t see how you can level a single criticism of THIS Friday the 13th that couldn’t be leveled at pretty much all the other ones.”

      My criticism comes that it’s not fun ENOUGH. It’s glossy Hollywood crap trying to masquerade as low-budget crap, and the kills and set-pieces were far less inventive than the other films. That’s what it boils down to and that’s why I hated it.

      • Uncle Creepy

        I for one don’t mind remakes too much at all. I loved the TCM remake. This flick just never rose to the occasion. It’s flaccid tripe.

    • Jim_McD

      There’s NO EXCUSE for making a bad movie. They had 16 million dollars to make A film. The franchise is well known enough that they didn’t need to spend much time on back-story, leaving plenty of room for new story.

      With that much money and that much writing room this movie should be awesome. Just saying “Well, the F13 series is dumb, so it’s okay if this movie is dumb too” is absolutely idiotic. There is no reason at all why ANY movie–even a F13 movie–isn’t great. This kind of apathy from the average viewer is the reason why so many films, especially horror, and so utterly terrible. Giving people PERMISSION to make shit movies is fucking retarded, and people who do it guarantee that we’ll never get out of this rut.

      Basically, to all the people who applaud crap like this: thanks very much for making horror suck.

      • plagiarize

        i bet you only ever eat fillet mignon and can’t understand why anyone would ever want to eat a cheeseburger. me, like a lot of people, sometimes i’m just in the mood for a throw away fun time at the movies. and i don’t think they made a bad movie either. i think they made a Friday the 13th.

        if you went to a Friday the 13th movie expecting *story* that isn’t my fault. that isn’t the film makers fault… that’s your fault for expecting the twelfth movie in a franchise to suddenly change from being a fun slasher movie into something completely different.

        it is what it is. you don’t have to like it, but there’s no reason why a film can’t be made for the pretty large movie that enjoy popcorn horror like this. not every movie has to be made to appease critics and to strive for high art.

        • Uncle Creepy

          That’s just it … I had no throw away fun. I had no fun at all. Just because you have all of the elements in place that should be there doesn’t mean you can successfully make something.

          • plagiarize

            maybe you’re getting old… i’m kidding of course but Nomad here definitely saw the same film I saw. what were your expectations going in?

            I just watched the Lost Boys sequel. that was terrible. that was making a sequel painting by numbers, i’m sure we agree there. for me there’s a stark difference between that and what i saw Friday night. i saw a film by people that got it. that understood what worked and why.

            for me it was what Rambo was to eighties action movies. it was a Friday the 13th movie in a packed house with all the good bits, and the right kind of cheesiness that i found in the handful of films from the franchise i enjoyed.

            out of interest, how would you compare it to My Bloody Valentine 3D?

          • Uncle Creepy

            My expectations were low. Considerably low. Insanely low. I can forgive a Friday film for all its shortcomings. I was more than prepared to do so. However, this at no point felt like a Friday movie. Not even close to a Friday movie. It was more like lifeless pod people got together and tried to make an f13 film. Everything about it was wrong. I’m saving my opinions and reasons for the next DFF.

            MBV 3D was better in every way. Hell, friggin’ See No Evil starring Kane was better!

        • Jim_McD

          That’s crap, there’s no reason why they can’t make these movies good. It’s like going to McDonald’s and we find there’s maggots in our burgers. When I complain you just say “Hey, it’s McDonald’s, it’s okay” and take another big juicy bite.

          Explain to me why it’s okay to make a bad movie. If you make a single logical point why a good F13 movie can’t be made for SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARS and I’ll eat my keyboard. I’m not looking for high-art, just something that’s not dumb. I just want these people to care about what they’re doing instead of just shitting these things out as fast as they can.

          How sad is it that so many people are satisfied with mediocrity, because apathy’s just easy?

          • Uncle Creepy

            Indeed!

          • plagiarize

            but Jim, i don’t think it’s a bad movie do i? i think it’s a fun movie. see that word right there? FUN. i’m not saying it’s okay to make bad movies am I? where did I say that?

            and how are you judging that the film makers didn’t care about what they were doing? they turned out a movie that shows they fully understand why people liked the Friday the 13th movies in the first place.

            i also love that you seem to think that all it takes to make a good movie is to just want it to be good. you’re never going to accept any logical points i make because you’re never going to accept that taste is a matter of opinion.

            i made logical points. i never said ‘why expect it to be good’ did i? i loved it. i had a blast. i plan on seeing it a second time. maybe you can’t understand things from someone else’s point of view, but go ahead just keep insisting that it’s bad.

            protip, spending $16 million dollars on a movie isn’t A: that expensive. B: any kind of guarantee of quality.

            it’s dumb. it’s dumb fun. like all the other Fridays and some of us like that. you don’t… that’s cool… but why should every movie try to do the same thing? why can’t someone make a movie that’s dumb fun from time to time? the packed house i saw the film in got a kick out of it. i suppose we all just don’t know as well as you Jim. we should have all be terribly disappointed because the film didn’t try to be serious even though it cost SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARS.

            and as i keep saying, why would you expect anything else from a Friday movie? which ones in the series would you actually say were good?

          • Jim_McD

            I know I can come off as a prick, but I just can’t justify it in my mind.
            If you never hold anything up to a higher standard, there is no reason to live up to ANY standard.

            What if the movie you had watched had been just as fun, but had been well written too? What if it hadn’t been dumb at all? What if it had a plot without holes, without pandering, or at least a plot without pot? :)

            Don’t you wonder, with some of the *spectacular* horror films that have been made independently for a sixteenth the budget, what this movie could have been had it been placed in more capable and caring hands?

          • plagiarize

            it would have been a different kind of fun. it’s possible that if i had seen Friday on a different day in a different mood i’d have hated it, but as it was, it was the perfect film for the mood i was in.

            i’m eagerly awaiting the next DFF to hear the different reactions to it.

  • nakattack

    I had a blast watching this flick. I hope they do something EPIC for the 13th flick. Perhaps they could put Jason back in New York for more then the last 10 minutes of the movie!!

  • alanrowekelly

    Just got back from the first screening at the cineplex -So much fun- I really enjoyed it!
    Gorgeous cinematography and set decoration plus yummy, yummy boys and girls to kill!

  • nakattack

    Great review NOMAD can’t wait to see this flick tonight with my girlfriend.

  • elric300

    Geez guys…ummm, maybe he just LIKED it ya know? This has been known to happen.

    Seriously, looks like just another Jason film. And I’m alright with that!

  • Huggyface

    Well done Nomad, the check is in the mail. I’m glad you had fun, that is exactly what this movie is gonna do for most.

    • Rottenjesus

      How do you sleep at night anyway? Must be hard with all that Platinum Dunes’ cock in your mouth.

      • Dearly Disturbed Dan

        It would be difficult, I hear their seman is full of grit XD

      • Uncle Creepy

        Rotten … Seriously you want to disagree with his opinion? That’s fine. But writing stuff like that is not. It’s just not cool, man. Please don’t do it again.

        • Rottenjesus

          Sorry man, I did go too far. Won’t happen again.

    • Sirand

      I think Huggyface is Marcus Nispel.