Movie Review: Friday the 13th (2009)

Wow, I’m taking a stab at my first movie review (sorry about the lame pun). I don’t know what’s prompting me to write-up a review on this movie, besides the fact that I just saw it a few weeks ago and, so, it’s fresh in my head. That and I did get a big kick out of it. Here goes…
So just what is a re imagining? I’ve been following the Battlestar Galactica re imagined series since the first season, and I used to watch reruns of the original 70’s series on the Sci-Fi channel when I was little, and I find that the most salient differences between the two are the contemporaneous cultural issues that each series brings up. However, I can’t say that this is so of the newest installment in the Friday the 13th horror series.
If a re imagined movie or series is simply a contemporary remake, then it will probably simply fall flat, but if it’s formed outside of the original’s bounds, then the issue of keeping true to the franchise rears its cute little head, especially for purest viewers. In response to these issues, director Marcus Nispel casts his film in the center of these two poles, keeping the original feel, while outdoing high points from moments in the series’ past episodes. Some might say that the movie is still predictable, but what these people don’t understand is that most all horror movies are predictable, and quite possibly that’s exactly how this one succeeds, and succeeds quite well.
Here’s the plot. We get an in medias res opening scene in which the requisite horror movie teenagers, some of whom are on the hunt for a “lost” marijuana plantation, while the others think they’re on a camping trip, schlep around, not knowing the danger they are about to meet. Enter Jason and we know the result, except Whitney is spared, who seems to resemble Jason’s dead mother–oh yes, and we get the back story to how his mother, in front of his own eyes, is decapitated by campers from years before (“mother,” if you are a Friday the 13th buff, is the main antagonist in the first movie.) Clay is searching the dilapidated Crystal Lake (and its surrounding area) for his months ago lost sister. He runs into a typical group of spring-breaking, rich college kids heading to Trent’s parent’s chateau by the lake, and this group, besides the caring Jenna, could give two rats asses about Clay’s search. Jenna helps Clay, and they both eventually walk right into Jason Voorhees’ bedroom. The movie doesn’t provide much back story on Jason; however, if you’ve seen only the first Friday the 13th movie, you know fully what he’s capable of. So, Clay and Jenna find Whitney, but in the process of absconding her from Jason’s lair, set him off and he consequently kills just about all of those silly, partying college kids.
My first appraisal, as my fellow viewer commented, is that the movie balances a number of horror movie staples: pure, unadulterated gore; well timed, belly-laugh-inducing comedy, often intermixed with the gore; and sex, peppered in with the gore as well as the comedy. These perfectly cued elements, along with the story building that most neophytes will appreciate (Jason, after all starts out with a burlap bag over his head and doesn’t find the hockey mask until midway through the movie). But, in general, the movie’s geared toward the neophyte, and because of this the “jumps,” screams, and bludgeonings come at the viewer fairly telegraphed. I’m a fan of the first installment, and in many ways the 2009 version out does the original with modern movie technology and basic panache. I’m going to have to see them both again.
This entry was posted in Fear, Film Review, Horror.

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