Friday the 13th
1 hour, 35 minutes
The date: June 13, 1980. It's Friday. It's dark and raining. A grief-stricken Pamela Voorhees (Nana Visitor, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) goes all wack-a-doo, murdering the counselors of Camp Crystal Lake for letting her son Jason drown. As a young counselor enacts her revenge on Pamela, the allegedly dead Jason witnesses his mother's death. Fast forward to the present where an adult Jason (Derek Mears, Cursed) guards his Crystal Lake stomping grounds from carefree trespassers.
This reimagining wraps Friday the 13th Parts I, II and III all into one neat little package. Granted, Part I is summed up in about two minutes and what could pass for Part II is covered in the next twenty or so minutes. Maybe condensing the trilogy in this manner wasn't the intention of director Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but that's how it felt to this Friday fan.
However, the more densely packed story works well. Subtle inclusions such as young Jason's dusty shelf of archery trophies explains to viewers that the maniac has skills. Mentions of stolen kerosene prove Jason to be resourceful. Even ominous ramblings of townspeople explain Jason's territorial nature.
I was a little disappointed by the hollow-eyed Kewpie doll inhabiting Jason's childhood digs. This was reminiscent of the backwater The Texas Chainsaw Massacre home and not the toy of a boy from the late seventies. Honestly, with his love of archery where are his Bo and Luke Duke dolls!? Could he at least have had some Matchbox cars or a Colonel Steve Austin action figure?
As for the young adult victims, some are prattling, annoying douchebags so nothing's really changed over the past thirty years. But other characters such as Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki, House of Wax), Jenna (Danielle Panabaker, Mr. Brooks) and Trent (Travis Van Winkle, Accepted) are adequately developed, giving audiences an emotional connection to Jason's would-be victims. Not to spoil anything, but seeing one particular character scream like a little bitch is worth a full price admission alone!
Revisions to the Voorhees mythology and improvement of victim development aside, it really comes down to the slaughter. Jason is more sadistic than ever. Though his first killings occur offscreen, they quickly escalate to brutally graphic killings that gore lovers can relish. I'd have to count, but I wager there are as many F-bombs as in The Big Lebowski. This newest installment also returns to form by adding more nudity than were in most of the later sequels. Good Googly Moogly! The underwritten Bree (Julianna Guill) is most memorable, thanks to her extended sex scene.
The Money Shot
Friday the 13th is not without its problems. The desire to satisfy hardcore Friday fans' expectations totally ruined the ending for this fan. Also dedicating a few more minutes to the Voorhees history would have only improved the tale. Still, this is far and away one of the best in the series. I could nitpick, but the bottom line is that Jason is back, stacked and ready to hack!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Friday the 13th