Friday the 13th (2009)
(this review’s somewhat spoilery)
I saw the new Friday the 13th this week with my friend Jerry. We were the only ones in the theater, which makes for a fun MST3K experience.
Guys, this one actually wasn’t too bad! I know what you’re thinking. How can a movie with a promo still THIS hilarious not be too bad?:
Well, I’ll tell you. A big factor here is that I have no love lost for the original Friday the 13th. That movie is kind of stupid, a little boring, and badly made. So just the very fact of this remake did not cause me to shake my tiny fists in the air, wheezing, “How DARE they?!” That goes a long way towards my generous opinion of a film. Another factor in my magnanimous rating is the prevalence of Cute Tall Boys on Whom I Have a Massive Embarrassing Crush. Specifically, Jared Padalecki.
JPad is a familiar face in the generic CW crowd, and he is not a good actor. But he’s a tall drink of water w/ shaggy muppet hair and he played Cute Dean, the perfect high school boyfriend, on The Gilmore Girls. (Shut up). And I love him, okay? ILOVEHIMSHUTUP. I also love the other Winchester brother, Jensen Ackles, from his time on Smallville, so I watched an entire season of Supernatural before coming to terms with the fact that two insanely hot actors do not make that show sufferable. But I really tried! (Shut up). So it’s no surprise that I decided to check out this remake in the first place.
Friday the 13th is a re-imagining of the first four films, with little bits and pieces of the original series all smorgasborded into this one. Some of the original chi chi chi chi achh achh achh achh score is used during the credits, which are (weakly) interspersed w/ a quick update of the Pamela Voorhees beheading in the original film. Principal photography took place in that ATX, holla!
The film starts out w/ your typical group heading to the woods, looking for a legendary pot crop (stoner update!). You’ll be happy to know, fellas, that there are boobs right off the bat in this movie. But I’m not going to lie to you, friends. These are not good boobs.
So anyway, the group is made up of a bunch of bland 20-somethings plus one pretty redhead that you immediately know is going to matter, b/c she isn’t slutty or otherwise repugnant.
That’s Whitney and her moronic boyfriend. So anyway, Whitney worries about being away from her ailing mother for too long, since she is a saint. Everyone else is having sex and doing drugs, so they all die immediately. And deservedly, due to the APPALLING FAIL of a Blue Velvet “homage” when one of the idiots mangles the iconic “HEINEKEN? FUCK THAT SHIT! PABST BLUE RIBBON!” line. Now that did cause me to shake my fists and ask, “How DARE they?!”
Cut to the credits! (Actually it was an exceptionally long cold open, leading me to fear that this milquetoast crew made up the principle characters for the film. Imagine my relief when Jason expeditiously eliminates them!)
Up rolls JPad (Clay) on his beat-up old bike, looking like ten kinds of yum. Yes, please.
He’s looking for his sister, who’s been missing for a month (Whitney, duh). She was taking care of their cancer-ridden mother, and didn’t even make it to the funeral. The small-town police are typically inept, so it’s up to Clay to find her. While on the search, he meets up with the quintessential mixed bag of horror movie clichés: Rich Douche With No Sense of Humor:
His Sweet, Sensitive Girlfriend Who Is With Him For No Discernible Reason:
Other Douche Who Does Have a Sense of Humor and His Slutty Girlfriend:
Other Slutty Girl Who is Single:
and the favored Hilarious Minorities known as Asian Stoner and Self-Deprecating Black Guy Who Makes All of the Token Black Guy Jokes:
Of these, we’ll only be giving a name to the Hilarious Minorities (Lawrence and Chewie, l-r) and Rich Douche’s girlfriend (Jenna), because they’re the only ones who deserve it.
Pleasant surprise: the Hilarious Minorities? Actually hilarious! Especially Chewie. Aaron Yu’s comic timing steals the show; Jerry and I were laughing uproariously at almost all of his lines. His awesome scene leading up to his death (spoiler alert! But seriously, being a Hilarious Minority and a stoner, didn’t you just know he was going to be one of the first to die? Along w/ the slutty girls, of course) is the best part of the entire movie. He’s so great that Jerry kept whispering next to me, “Please make it quick, Jason. Make it quick! No, not quick enough! No…that’s not quick at all, actually.” Lawrence’s death is also memorable and respectable: he brandishes a wok against Jason in the heroic attempt to rescue Chewie, albeit unsuccessfully.
So this cast is much more agreeable than the doofuses making up the cold open (Whitney excluded, because she’s actually quite good). None of them is horrible, and some of them are pretty good (namely Chewie, Jenna, and Lawrence). They’ve all appeared on various and sundry CW/WB shows: Supernatural, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, The O.C., 7th Heaven, Chuck and One Tree Hill are seriously all represented here. Jason Voorhees, however, is played by some guy (Derek Mears) who has the following IMDB credits: Inmate #1, Thug #2, Bounty Hunter #2, Jones Thug #2, Thug #4, Skinhead #1 and Werewolf. So, you know, he’s scary.
Okay, so the Mixed Bag are all partying at Rich Douche’s parents’ tony cabin in the woods.
Jenna goes off with Clay to help him find his sister (because he’s gorgeous and she’s sensitive), and they wander into Bad Idea Territory:
I guess they’ve never seen the original?
They see Jason lugging a dead body and go back to warn Jenna’s friends. Dismemberment and death promptly ensue, and the pretty cast members are picked off as Jason terrorizes the hizzy.
A tip I’ve gleaned from the few Friday the 13th movies I’ve seen? Just generally avoid windows, whether looking out or in, when Jason’s around:
(This seems to happen a lot).
Bonus aside: topless water-skiing! And a rather naked but still quite hilarious sex scene. Some randoms: according to Wikipedia, the writers (who also did 2003’s Freddie vs. Jason) are quite proud of the way they introduced Jason’s hockey mask (which apparently didn’t appear until the third film in the original series. Shows how much I know). But I’m not sure why, b/c mostly it just consists of Jason stumbling on it in an attic. Before that, he sported this fashionable sack look:
Jason’s more svelte and speedy here than in previous incarnations, which works fine. The kills are okay—some are just mediocre, some are inexplicably off screen, and some are drenched in hard-core awesome sauce:
(That’s hanging upside down in a sleeping bag over a raging fire, btw).
So yeah, this movie’s got some conventionally bad dialogue, boasts a glut of sub-par breasts and the memory of it won’t stay with me for long. But the acting wasn’t the worst by far that I’ve seen in some of these slick Hollywood remakes, and I found myself actually caring if some of the characters lived or died! That NEVER happens! It’s intentionally and actually funny unlike most of the accidental or premeditated “humor” that’s usually in this type of film. It’s also got a seriously decent soundtrack (Lyrics Born!). And the cinematography is surprisingly good. Some of the shots are really, really cool, actually, and this whole water sequence was quite pleasing to the eyeballs:
And not just b/c she’s topless!
So if you’re into this sort of thing, it’s probably worth a rental. And if you never see it, your cinematic sensibilities won’t be affected in the slightest.