Friday the 13th (2009)

Synopsis: College kids seeking a weekend of kicks have made a horrible mistake. They’ve come to party at eerie Crystal Lake, the deadly domain of machete-mad killer Jason Voorhees.

Terror goes to extremes in this reimagining of the Jason legend for today’s horror fan. Enter for the first time the subterranean lair that is Jason’s den of torture and fear. See him discover the mask that hides his deformed face. Experience a whole new level of fright. And try to remain calm. The intense violence, the unique kills, the jolting scares: live them all in the all-new Friday The 13th.

Friday the 13th (2009) 6.75

Well, this was a squandered opportunity, if ever there was one. I had heard mixed things about this remake, but had also heard that they had inspired themselves on the first three films – meaning that they had likely taken elements from them and made a more cohesive whole.

Because, as anyone who knows the series can attest, the films are uninspired, weak on development and a little on the disjointed side.

So it would have been quite a coup to finally give the series substance. Sadly, the filmmakers failed to make the most of this gift, of this open window. Last chance for a while, I suppose, as they won’t be rebooting the series again in the near future.

To think that I was really enjoying the first half of the film. It had no pretense of being more than it is: a slasher film, a mindless piece of entertainment for people looking for a quick thrill. They were even poking fun at the genre’s clichés, sometimes by revelling in them, and they tied things together relatively nicely.

But then they took a more serious turn in the third act, and things went from dumb fun to dull.

Let’s face it: ‘Friday the 13th’ is hardly Masterpiece Theatre, so making it too serious only works if you give it credibility. And this remake does not have much of it. I mean, the characters started to do more and more illogical things as their actions became more critical – when the filmmakers should in fact have tightened things up.

…if they truly wanted to be serious about the proceedings, that is.

Which, I suppose, they tried to do. But failed (not epically, as my rating can attest to. Except that I was giving it a 7.5, maybe even a bit more, at first. Sigh… so much for that, then). Heck, they didn’t even use the iconic music/sound effect (“ki-ki-ki, ma-ma-ma”) that creates such creepy tension in the original series.

On the positives, their new Jason Voorhees had a more realistic demeanor, even if his look is a mixed bag (pun intended! You have to know the series to get this one). You can tell that the guy behind the mask this time is an MMA fighter; he’s not “just” a stuntman. Also, the way they tied up the elements from the first three films was pretty good (mind you, the credit sequence that explains the character’s back history is done in a cheesy way).

Anyway, all this to say that my hope of being able to trade in this lame-duck horror series for one film compiling its best bits in one neat package has been tossed to the four winds. A shame, ’cause I want to like this series in some fashion; there are some appealing elements (for the genre), but too few to invest much time in. At this point, I would have been happy to have just ONE half-decent film I could turn to for a ‘Friday the 13th’ craving. Just one!

This is not that ‘Friday’.

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