Entertainment » Movies

Friday The 13th

by Padraic Maroney
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 13, 2009
Friday The 13th

Jason Voorhees isn't scary. Sure he was scary at one point -- before his number of film appearance ranked at a dozen. But with each film we've seen him has become diluted into a Neanderthal killing machine without much brain capacity. Voorhees has entertained a generation of horror fans, yet existing in a world of self referential slasher films he doesn't hold the same kind of punch he did during the first couple of entries in the Friday the 13th series.

Having last appeared in a solo film in "Jason X," the hockey mask wearing killer took on zero gravity. Murdering in space and terrorizing Manhattan turned Voorhees into a joke. Platinum Dunes, the company behind successfully remaking "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hitcher," is hoping to change the series' direction and even possibly make the villain scary again.

Rather than doing a re-imagining like "Massacre" and Rob Zombie's "Halloween," this new "Friday" works itself into the existing series. Picking up where the first film ended, it skips any knowledge of the previous sequels similar to the way "Halloween: H20" did it previously. Doing this allows the filmmakers to play fast and loose with the other films, keeping only the parts that worked and ditching the rest.

After the initial scene tying the new film to the original, "Friday" jumps to modern day with a group of campers looking for a marijuana stash growing near Crystal Lake. When the group goes missing, the sibling of one of the campers' comes to town looking for her. While embarking on his search, Clay ("Supernatural" star Jared Padalecki) gets mixed up with a group of college kids spending the weekend at a friend's cabin by the lake.

For fans of the series, the good news is that the feel of the classic series is fully intact. Updates have been made for the film - Jason actually runs at one point in this one - but the classic touchstones for the previous films are still there. Gratuitous nudity, one dimensional characters and a double digit body count are all still here. For people who have gotten tired of the same retreads, hearing this is also the bad news.

Unlike previous "Friday" films, the plot involves more than just a group of kids going away for the weekend and meeting their end with the sharp edge of a machete. The plot doesn't aim to be high concept, keeping the focus on the co-eds and their impending deaths.

The eposition works the best in the film because in the roughly half hour that it unfolds, the five characters are given time to grow and endear themselves to the audience. Once the carnage begins you are rooting for some of the characters to make it out alive, unlike the later characters who leave you counting down the minutes until they meet Jason.

While the previous entries in the series had a cast of unknown actors, there are some recognizable faces in the crowd in this outing. Along with Padalecki, former pop star Willa Ford is milking her "Dancing with the Stars" comeback for everything it's worthy. Among the cast, it's Danielle Panabaker ("Mr. Brooks," TV's "Shark") who fairs the best within the co-ed set. Mainly it is because as the virtuous Jenna, Panabaker is one of the few likeable characters in the later part of the film.

All of her friends are characters too paper thin to garner any audience traction or are just downright unlikeable. Each of the characters represents a clich? that has been seen dozens of times in similar films from the rich, good-looking, pompous guy tryin to score to the ever willing blond cheerleader or the guys who spend the whole film stoned.

Director Marcus Nispel helmed the "Massacre" reboot previously for Platinum Dunes and was able to make Leatherface relevant again. Working with a script written by "Freddy Vs. Jason" veterans Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, the same doesn't happen here. The film is too steeped in the same mythology - from seeing Jason find his hockey mask to that of his mother talking to him - that there isn't much room for growth. There are some interesting changes to the story though, like the lair that Jason lives in and his new aptitude for running.

"Friday the 13th" offers homage to the original and could be the beginning of a new franchise. But with an outdated killing machine and badly clich?d victims, there isn't much steam running through the film. Thanks to a few good gotcha moments, "Friday the 13th" is less painful then getting a machete through the head.

Friday the 13th


Runtime :: 97 mins
Release Date :: Feb 13, 2009
Language :: English
Country :: United States


Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook