Feb 11, 2009

Friday the 13th (2009)

Jason is undoubtedly the greatest horror movie icon ever created. Some may argue Michael Myers, some may scream Freddy Krueger, some may even mutter Chucky's name under their breath, but the fact of the matter remains that Jason Voorhees is the scariest (if any were scary), meanest, and toughest villain of all time. When a Friday the 13th re-imagining was announced, many were speculating the success of the film, both monetarily and within the allotted fan base. Seeing as how the original films were trashy body count spree's, the expectations for this film could only rise above 90s cheese.

Friday the 13th begins with a "Kill first, ask questions later" paraphrasing. You will encounter a group of teenagers searching for weed growth in order to harvest and become rich. This classic "Drugs and sex" vantage is necessary to start the tale off on a right foot. Early during the credits, we're given a flashback to the scene of the death of Pamela Voorhees. This alludes to the plot that will be slowly, but surely, fleshed out to your prying eyes. I must admit for a sense of needless anticipation for this film. While scoping out the theatrical trailer, I noticed something elusive to the older Jason films - style and lighting. Marcus Nispel took something ugly and made it beautiful. In a similar tactic that Rob Zombie used to horrible effect in Halloween, Friday the 13th, for the first time, is tenderly beautiful to look at.

On the matter of gore/violent deaths, it doesn't disappoint. Normally and frequently, I tend to stray from the topic of violence as it never really adds anything true to a film but Friday the 13th features some barbaric scenes that flash back to the heydays of classic Friday the 13th films. One amazing scene in instance is the stringing of a slutty teen in a sleeping bag that is tied to a tree. Oh yeah, she's suspended over a fire and is slowly being burnt to a crisp. Much humor is carefully intersected into each scene. With a multicultural cast including a Black and Asian male, Friday the 13th takes very little time to build up a body count. But be wary of other pre-release reviewers. They have laid claims that this movie is as ultraviolent as it gets and as much as I'd like to agree, the majority of death scenes are simple impalement's with the occasional elaborate murder. It's absurd, the effect of violence on horror fans that is. As many teenagers as we see die, we'll never quite get the feel of a loss. Maybe the slasher genre is to blame.

Many strokes of genius can be discovered within the confines of a shallow slice n' dice film. For example, within the opening scene, a male requests for a can of Heineken. The all-American man exclaims "Fuck that Euro shit!" and holds up a can of the great Pabst Blue Ribbon. Now for those in the know, you will quickly discover that this is a reference to David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Not bad, Marcus Nispel. Just like with many Jason films, there will be questions, albeit small, that will never be answered. As in, why in the sex scene are they listening to M.I.A. whilst fucking? Not so much the choice of music but why, with the minutes later cut-back, is the same song playing? Sure, repeat is an option but the song wasn't playing during the foreplay. Another is the very concept of a "retard" living in the forest, built like a train, gallivanting around, decapitating teenagers and local folks, and never having to use deodorant. Prescribed deaths always equalize into a jump out scene of Papa Voorhees but if someone was creeping behind me that didn't bathe in 20+ years, I'm pretty sure I could smell him from miles away.

The tale is short but sweet. Friday the 13th has been given the reboot it deserves with style, grace, and an all-star teen cast of teenage heart throbs. My only real complaint is the choice of survivors. Many can agree with me concerning the invention of a "Choose your own" adventure-like method to filming a slasher film. I'm tired of seeing nice people die the cruelest. Of all the trash featured, why when the innocent dies, is there such a lingering suspense and disbelief. Now that's proper horror movie magic. I can imagine many people complaining but the expectations were low. Jason Voorhees has been successfully reborn and I'm not sweating it. The legend of his terror breaks into a new millennium (not counting Freddy vs. Jason) and he's given motive, reason, and a fervid dislike for anything with a lifeforce. Welcome to 2009.



Unknown said...

Awesome! I was getting worried about this one because of the lack of reviews. Great review SS! Now I know I can go see this

Phantom of Pulp said...

You put it into perspective very nicely.

I'm looking forward to the fire scene.

I was one of the few fans of the original TEXAS who liked Nispel's remake (for the very different thing of grotesque beauty that
it was), so I'm eager to see this.

Ross Horsley said...

Good good! I'm seeing this tomorrow and am now OFFICIALLY excited!

thebonebreaker said...

Great review mAQ!

I must admit that I skimmed it, just in case there were any spoilers, but I got the point that it is worthwhile and for that I am excited!

Also, I'm with Phantom on Nispel's re-make of TCM - I liked that one enough to be glad that Nispel was the one put behind this one!

Quint-R said...

I'm going against the grain here, but I and every single person I know hated this movie. TOO predictable, not scary and (for the first time in a Jason film) I hated every character. Yes, Jason and Crystal Lake look more cinematic than ever, but nothing seemed inspired. Having MTV-level victims to slaughter wasn't even satisfying. It was just a ton of stale 80s slasher moments given new breath. Nothing was fresh or exciting. But it is cool to know Jason grows pot these days.

Soiled Sinema said...

Quinton - Now now, that's unfair. Jason didn't grow the pot but it remained as bait for teenagers. Had this new installment been another oh-hey-let's-go-camping-at-this-sinister-lake churning, I would have been bored to death. These kids needed initiative to be slaughtered. True , true. The MTV style kids are there but remember that these bastards deserve what happens to them. In the 80s, it was all idiots who died. Should it be no different that the scum of our generation be picked off? Why not make a few girls swoon before making them scream. As for the scare factor, no Friday the 13th film had anything of the like. Hell, the Nintendo game was scarier than the films albeit being a horrible game. Remakes are slaughterings, ideally. Not since Carpenter's The Thing had an idea been taken out of context, severely altered, and lived to even become a staple in horror. Friday the 13th doesn't want to risk an entire reboot so we're given this. The only way we'd be given something new is if Jason was in space and remember if you will, that's been done. And to play fair, this IS new. Remember, Jason grows pot. :)

As for Jason, his character was realized with more fear and persona than ever. Any other Jason minus Part 2's Quasimodo rendition would find himself in a wooded glen. There'd be the iconic slow head pivot then he would slowly walk towards his incapacitated victim with some form of obscure weaponry only to deliver a gag of sorts.

This Friday the 13th is a step up from the entire series, it's just that we're not growing up with it. If I were to talk to my mother about the glories of, say A Walk to Remember (An enormous amount of sarcasm and a horrible example), she'd gasp and mention Somewhere in Time or Love Story. It's classics that define a genre and each person has their own little niche of era pieces they hold dear. Think about it like this, your children are going to fucking love this movie.


665+1 said...

In the process of watching the eight original F13 flicks- as reliable and forgettable as Law and Order marathons or a Big Mac Value Meal. Especially after having just watched Carpenter's The Thing for the first time- now THERE is a movie I can't quite shake. Christ.

Amelia said...

I Don't care what anybody says, this movie is shit! Total waste of my money. It's all about G.P.S, pot and fake tits. The humor is typical and something that wont last forever unlike the originals. Jason is seen as some idiot who has a home? and is stupid enough to believe some slutty teenager is his mother. The acting in the first teenage group goin' camping, oh I mean finding pot (this is mentioned way too much) scene is terrible, they couldn't act their way out of a paper bag. I've seen better from high school independent films. If you love Friday the 13th- STAY AWAY from this piece of crap! But if you cling to your g.p.s system like you life depends on it and would like to see a dumb cop die them this is for you.