Thursday, October 16, 2014

Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th (USA, 2009) - Color, Director(s): Marcus Nispel
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 97 min.

Z-rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5

Jason's pretty much done it all. He haunted Crystal Lake for decades, ran amok in Manhattan, he's been to Hell and back, and he's even gone into space. There really wasn't much left to do with his character but retell his story. Director Marcus Nispel also directed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake a few years earlier, so he's got a bit of experience rebooting horror franchises. Surprisingly, Michael Bay also produces.

The movie begins with a flashback to 1980 where a counselor from Camp Crystal Lake is being chased by Jason's mother. With a young Jason looking on, the counselor decapitates his mother with a machete. Flash forward to present day Crystal Lake and a group of teenagers are hiking through the woods. The camping trip is just a cover for two guys who are looking for marijuana that grows wild out there. Jason shows up with the classic burlap sack over his head and wreaks havoc on the group. This new Jason is a lot faster and more agile than the lumbering powerhouse the character had become in the series up until now. This Jason also sets traps whereas the old Jason was more into theatrics like posing dead bodies to scare people.

A few weeks go by and another group of teens are headed up to a rich kid's cabin at Crystal Lake. (Fun fact: They're headed to up to Trent's cabin, who is played by Travis Van Winkle. He plays the same character, Trent DeMarco, in Michael Bay's Transformers) While stopped at a gas station, they run into a guy who's looking for his missing sister, Whitney, who came with the first group. What bothers me is how generic all the characters come off. There's the snobby rich kid, the slutty blonde chick, the responsible girl, the disposable couple, the good looking stranger, the Asian guy, and the token black character. There's a moment where one of the girls assumes the black guy, Lawrence, is working out a music deal in the rap genre but he says that it's racist she would just assume "because he's black, he can't listen to Green Day." She corrects herself and asks when genre of music he's working in and he says rap. I thought that was kinda funny at first but then later he's getting ready to go outside to get his buddy even though everyone knows that Jason is out there killing people. Lawrence seems really confident that Jason won't be able to lay a hand on him. He even says that he'll "surprise you every time" but ends up getting killed anyway. I like that they addressed the stereotypes in these kinds of movies but the characters play right into them.

Like most Asian men, this guy has a foot fetish

Nudity: There's a good amount of nudity in this one, two different couples are shown having sex and one girl is skinny dipping. Some of these girls have REALLY nice boobs.


Gore: In the wake of hyper-violent remakes like The Hills Have Eyes and Marcus Nispel's own Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the violence and gore isn't overly graphic but it's cringeworthy at times. One of my favorite kills is when Jason jams the fireplace poker through a cop's eye and the front door of the house. There's some fantastic camerawork at play here as it pans sideways through a wall to show the poker coming out the other side.

Awesome: This is actually a pretty good retelling of Parts 1-3. The movie starts with the end of the first movie where Jason's mother gets decapitated, then we follow Jason through his burlap sack phase all the way through when he finds the hockey mask. One of the girls even pretends to be Jason's mother to distract him, a move that Ginny pulls in Part II. In this retelling, they really downplay the supernatural aspect of the story and make Jason's character more believable. He didn't drown as a child and then come back 20 years later, still a child, then become a full grown adult in 5 years. This isn't some twisted version of Captain America. Overall, this is a pretty good re-imagining, I would recommend it for fans of the franchise. This is better than the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. As I write this, there's already another reboot in the works for a new Friday the 13th movie.