Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday The 13th (2009)

fridaythe13thremake-1.jpg picture by sikomike
Looks like we're back at Crystal Lake.   It's time for the legend of Jason Voorhees and his demented mother to be resurrected for the next generation of Friday The 13th fans.   Will the new era of care free teens outsmart Jason and his machete? Or, will Jason outsmart them because they're all just a bunch of pot headed dummies?  Ain't it always the way? You get a boner and Jason shows up to slash it off!
  On Friday June 13th, 1980,  Mrs. Pamela Voorhees killed seven counselors at Camp Crystal Lake in revenge because she blamed them for her son Jason drowning.  That same night, the last counselor alive cut Mrs. Voorhees's head off with a machete (I can only guess that she cut her head off since the camera shook all over the fucking place) as Jason watched from a close distance.  We skip to the present day where a group of pot smoking and pervertedly challenged idiots consisting of Wade, Richie and his slut Amanda, and Mike and his girlfriend Whitney are camping out in search of some rare marijuana that supposedly grows around Crystal Lake (SINCE WHEN?).  That night, Wade tells the legend of Jason Voorhees or in this case makes fun of it.  Soon, these dumbasses are killed by a burlap sack masked Jason. TITLE CARD 23 minutes into the fucking movie causing the audience to burst out in laughter.  We then skip six weeks later where rich asshole Trent and his friends (Jenna, Bree, Chelsea, Nolan, Chewie, and Lawrence) are spending the weekend at his dad's lake house. They plan to be totally care free with sex, topless water sports, beer, and of course some marijuana.  Later, they meet a guy named Clay who is searching for his missing sister Whitney, who disappeared six weeks back.  The only person willing to help Clay in his search is Jenna.  One by one, they are killed by a now hockey masked Jason. Who will live? Who will die? Who really cares about these teens and wants Jason to kill em' all? I'm game for number three!
      In 1980, a little slasher film was released by Paramount Pictures titled Friday The 13th.  The film was a huge success because it pretty much imitated Halloween except had the location at a secluded summer camp and consisted of over the top murders. At the time,  mainstream audiences had never seen anything like it before. Before 1980, movies of this caliber were done totally independent and didn't receive much attention except for John Carpenter's Halloween.  The massive success of Friday The 13th sent the horror genre's popularity way the hell up and other studios began to pitch in, creating what is now known as the slasher film. These films were very cheap to make and basically guaranteed your film to make a lot of money.  Friday The 13th spawned seven sequels throughout the '80s.  The slasher film trend began to tire itself out in the late '80s and into the mid '90s.   After the eighth installment Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan bombed at the box office in 1989, Paramount Pictures sold the rights back to Sean S. Cunningham. New Line Cinema bought the rights from Cunningham and released Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday in 1993, hoping to finally make a Freddy Vs. Jason movie happen next.  In 1996, Miramax released the box office hit Scream that breathed new life back into a worn out genre by poking fun at the slasher genre as well as casting famous actors.
          The late '90s and early '00s brought on Scream-like slasher films starring actors from television, hoping to make it into movies to further their careers.   New Line released Jason X into theaters in 2001 that placed Jason 400 years into the future and in space so that it wouldn't screw up the possibility of a Freddy Vs. Jason movie.  In 2003, New Line finally found the right script and cast/crew to make Freddy Vs. Jason happen after all these years.  Freddy VS. Jason was released to theaters everywhere in the late summer of 2003. Fans of both franchises (myself included) flocked to the nearest theater on opening night to see our favorite '80s slashers not only kill teenagers, but try to slasher each other as well. Freddy VS. Jason was a huge success, doing major box office cash for both franchises.  Talk soon arose for a sequel as well as other match ups. We had rumors of Michael Myers VS. Pinhead, Chucky VS. Leprechaun, Leatherface and the Sawyers VS. Papa Jupitor and the hills family, and even a Freddy VS. Jason VS. Ash possibility. Sadly though, none of these happened.
       Michael Bay who is best known for his action movies (Bad Boys, The Rock, Transformers, etc.) began a small production company called Platinum Dunes. I can hear you all sighing now. But yes, THAT Platinum Dunes. Anyways, Bay claims that his small company consisting of himself and partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form are to help first time directors break out into feature films.  BUT, what Platinum Dunes is known for is horror remakes. They find whatever they can get the rights to and remake it. Now, I'm not talking small unknown horror films, but big name franchises as well that don't need a remake and are stand alone classics. 
     In the Fall of 2003, Platinum Dunes released their first remake, which was for Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre starring big names like Jessica Biel. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) did majorly well at the box office, beating out the grossing of the original four films.  Platinum Dunes released their remake for The Amityville Horror (their best remake in my opinion) in the Spring of 2005 starring Ryan Reynolds. Again, the film was a huge success. Much like how Hollywood was with slashers and sequels back in the '80s, they took notice of how successful these remakes of old school horror films were at the box office. So, the remake trend kicked off leaving no original film safe from a re-imagining.  By cashing in on these big name titles, studios could garner a lot of cash from teenagers that wanted to see them.
And now we have Platinum Dunes' 2009 re-imagining of Friday The 13th.   Since New Line Cinema only owned the characters of Jason and his mother, Camp Crystal Lake, and the hockey mask, they had to find some way to get Paramount Pictures on board to use just the title " Friday The 13th".  Platinum Dunes somehow convinced Paramount Pictures ($$$) to co-produce the remake along with New Line.   Was Friday The 13th (2009) a good remake? No. Was it a horrible one? No. 
   Friday The 13th (2009) is one of those horror films that is not good, mediocre, or downright terrible. The best two descriptions for it is bland and generic.   It is a film that doesn't really bring anything new to the table except for adding some new elements to Jason as a character.  The narrative, characters, and kills though are nothing we haven't seen before for the most part. 
      I think the weakest part of Friday The 13th (2009) though was definitely the script written by Freddy VS. Jason writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon.  How these two writers can go from the fucking awesome Freddy VS. Jason to writing a bland Friday The 13th screenplay is beyond me. Although, I just have a strange feeling that Platinum Dunes made them change up their original script to fit the bland Platinum Dunes remake format.  I'm not saying the writers aren't to blame, but I'm just saying that this film may have turned out WAY different if Platinum Dunes weren't making it.
 I'll first address what I liked about Friday The 13th (2009). I love the portrayal of Jason in this film.   He's still killing care free idiots at Crystal Lake, but there is more to him than just a guy in a mask.  I loved that they made him territorial and predator like.  Instead of a shack in the woods like in Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981), he is living in an abandoned mine shaft beneath Crystal Lake.  I've read where people were complaining that he put lights in it and that this whole mine shaft was like the Hewitt's basement in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). I do agree about parts of this film looking similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) especially since this film was directed by the same guy, but the resemblance didn't bother me for some reason.  As for the lights, who's to say Jason put them there? I think that the lights were already there from when it was used for mining.  I really loved that Jason was smarter and more clever in this film.  Jason sets bear traps, bells to let him know someone is prowling around, and so on.  Personally, I never thought that Jason was mentally retarded in the first place. I guess people just assume that since he is silent and only knew his mother. Well, the man has been living in the woods of Crystal Lake his ENTIRE life. It caused him to grow up and basically teach himself since his mom wasn't around to raise him. He now knows Crystal Lake like the back of his hand and knows how to hunt to survive. He's really just protecting himself and his home from society.  Also, he holds a grudge against care free teenagers because they caused him to supposedly drown, picked on him, and also killed his mother. All the guy wants is to be left alone, but no, some horny kids have to snoop around in places they don't belong, and disturb him. So, he defends his home and himself by slashing them.  The look of Jason was also pretty cool. I loved the burlap sack used to cover his deformed face at the beginning of the film. It actually in my opinion looked creepier than the burlap sacked used in Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981). And of course, the hockey mask is always cool with me. Although I wish he had gotten it from one of the teens rather than at the barn where that fucking pot farmer was at. That scene where he puts on the hockey mask for the first time and looks into the mirror was taken right out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning where Leatherface first puts on someone else's face. So aside from that, they definitely did Jason himself justice I have to say.  I flat out hated the new Mrs. Voorhees though. This lady was horrible! They basically recycled a few of Betsy Palmer's lines from the original except with a terrible actress. There were a few victims and kills that I did kinda enjoy, which I will get to in a bit.
       The victims were pretty terrible with a few exceptions. I flat out HATED the first batch of victims at the beginning of the film!  These people were perverted as hell! Oh my God! The characters Richie and Wade were the worst.  Now, I know in most Friday The 13th films, the victims are supposed to be cannon fodder, but at least make them bearable to watch.  Most of the dialogue that came out of these characters' mouths was stuff like...
" I'm not gonna go out there with a boner."
" Wade, if you're out there jacking off man, that is not cool!"
"  You wanna slap that ass for Daddy? Yeah Daddy does like that!"
" I am relaxed and you wanna know why? Because that's what rich people do. They relax. You need to fucking relax."
And then there is a scene where they talk about drinking piss, which I will NOT get into.  The point is that I wanted to see Jason shred these fuckers quickly. The slut Amanda, well , she just got poked in the rear and flashed her sweaty tits at my TV screen.  Mike (yeah use my name assholes) was just a blah character as Whitney's boyfriend. He didn't annoy me, but he only had like FOUR lines of dialogue. The ONLY character of this bunch that was not annoying and actually resembled a brain and a personality was Whitney.  Her mother has cancer and her boyfriend brought her out here to Crystal Lake because supposedly her mother asked him to get her out of the house for a few days. 
        Then there is the second group of victims, but they are definitely more bearable to watch than the first batch was.  We have Trent, who is a rich douche bag. I hated this guy for all the right reasons. Here's a guy who brings his buddies who love to party to stay with him at his father's lake house for the weekend, yet won't let them touch ANYTHING! Seriously? Really? You invite your friends and they can't do anything. Well, I want to fuck your girlfriend on the kitchen floor! So, what the fuck are you going to do about it  you jackass?  Anyways, I kinda liked the other teen characters. We have Chewie, who is fucking hilarious. I loved this guy and apparently everyone did.  He was great as the comic relief, which I definitely needed after hearing Trent whine about messing up the house.  Trent's girlfriend Jenna was pretty hot and I liked her. Bree was hot too and I would definitely fuck her without insulting the look of her boobs like Trent did. You know a guy is a bastard when he tells his sex partner that her tits are stupid!   Lawrence was the token black guy of the bunch and surprisingly didn't annoy me. Although I wish they had written him more like Deon Richmond's Marcus character from Hatchet, but oh well.   Chelsea and Nolan definitely seemed like the typical Friday The 13th victims as well as their deaths.  Clay was likeable as the lead character of the film. He was on a mission to find his missing sister and you could kinda tell that they were pretty close.   Officer Bracke didn't do anything except die.  And then there was that fucking annoying as hell pot farmer named Donnie. Holy shit! This guy was probably the most irritable character of the movie aside from Richie, Wade, and Trent. Thank God that he didn't last long. All he basically did was smoke weed, look at porn and then fucking licks the page after he probably also squirted all over it. What was the point of this character aside from annoying me? KILL HIM NOW!!!!!!!! All in all, pretty bad selection of characters.  It's sad when the most likeable character is Jason. Although hell, Jason is the reason we Friday The 13th fans go to see these films to begin with. Show boobs and die!
  And now for what is "USUALLY" the best part of a Friday The 13th film: the kills! The kills in Friday The 13th (2009) are very bland and generic much like the movie itself. The best kill is that of Amanda where Jason ties her sleeping bag over the camp fire as she roasts like a fucking marsh mellow. It's obviously a homage to Kane Hodder's famous sleeping bag home run hit from Friday The 13th: The New Blood.  It was pretty brutal and I liked it.  Richie's death was also pretty cool where he almost rips his entire foot off by stepping into a bear trap before getting a machete right between the eyes.  That whole topless water skiing scene with Chelsea and Nolan was awesome and felt like something that would definitely occur in a Friday The 13th film. I loved it when out of nowhere, an arrow went through Nolan's head. I loved it when Jason sticks his machete right through the dock into Chelsea's head then pulls up revealing her sexy tits one last time before she slides off the blade. I don't care if it's impossible that she slid off. It looked cool to me!  Chewie's death was pretty cool where he got a screwdriver or an ice pick in the throat. I loved when he asked if the hockey stick that he found in the shed belonged to Jason. That shit was hilarious.  I also kinda dug the fire poker through the cop's eye kill.  Trent's death was pretty cool where Jason stuck him with the machete, lifted him and slid him back and forth on the machete before taking him off and slamming him through a pole on the back of a truck as it sped away taking Trent's corpse with it.  And then there was the others. We got Bree's death where Jason impales her on deer antlers. This was kinda a rip off of Silent Night, Deadly Night where killer Santa impaled Linnea Quigley on deer antlers while she was topless.  Donnie as annoying as that fucker was only got his throat slit. WHAT? He deserved far worse than that!  Lawrence just got an axe through the chest.  And even the beheading of Mrs. Voorhees at the opening was lame, probably due to all that fucking shaky cam. What was up with all of the shaky cam in this movie anyways? Oh I get it. The shaking of the camera is supposed to make the scene feel more intense for us. Well sorry, but it just becomes annoying and VERY distracting. It's like the camera operator was getting head while on the job.  Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween had some shaky cam parts too, but at least I could tell what was happening there. Here, I couldn't tell if Mrs. Voorhees got her head cut off or just her throat slashed, so it got annoying real quick.
 What was up with all of the marijuana activity in this movie? Like, really. I know that the victims in Friday The 13th films smoke pot, but not this damn much. When just about every character is a stoner then we got a problem. I wouldn't mind if it was just Chewie and Lawrence, but we got Richie, Wade, and that fucking pot farmer Donnie!  Marijuana grows around Crystal Lake huh? Is that your excuse for why horny teens like to party there so much?  Whatever. If I wanted to see an entire movie centered around doobie snacks then I would simply watch Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle thank you very much. 
And lastly, Jason holds Whitney prisoner in his lair. I get it. She looks like his mom and he is keeping her because she makes him feel that his mom is still there with him.  That's just not something that Jason would do though.  I personally would have rather had him kill Whitney. This subplot really bothered me. She also escapes, gets all the way to Trent's lake house, he catches her, and then right back in chains. What was the point of all that?  It reminded me of Strangeland where they caught Captain Howdy after he had kidnapped and had the main character's teenage daughter stripped naked and her mouth sewed shut then he gets out and does the exact SAME thing again! What was the point of writing it where she escapes when she just gets put back into imprisonment not far afterward?  And I also flat out hated the ending to this movie. It was like they blended the ending to the original with the ending to Jason X.
 The music by Steve Jablonski who handles the music for ALL of Platinum Dunes' productions was pretty forgettable. Just generic horror music.  Speaking of music, where the fuck was the goddamn "KI KI KI MA MA MA" score? I only heard it like three or four times in the entire movie. Wait, why am I complaining that they only played it four times? I'll give them a small bit of credit for playing it at all. Rob Zombie didn't even use the Halloween theme at all in his version of Halloween II  except for half way through the fucking end credits after people already left the theater.
       The direction by Marcus Nispel was very generic. Nispel also directed the WAY better remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  His movies usually look good visually thanks to DP Daniel Pearl, the director of photography on the original and remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  But, Nispel has a nack for toning down movies that are known for violence and playing everything by the numbers. Pretty blah direction.
  The acting is definitely the best part of the film. Jared Padalecki was good as Clay. Danielle Panabaker was good as Jenna. Amanda Righetti was decent as Whitney. Travis Van Winkle played a good asshole as Trent. I hated him for the right reasons. Aaron Yoo was my favorite as Chewie. This guy is hilarious and I could tell that he improvised some of his performance. Jonathan Sadowski was annoying as Wade. Julianna Guill had nice tits as Bree. Ben Feldman was annoying as hell as Richie. Arlan Escarpeta was okay as the token black guy Lawrence. Ryan Hansen was okay as Nolan. Willa Ford was smokin' hot as Chelsea and had NICE boobs! Kyle Davis was irritating as Donnie. Nana Visitor was horrendous as Mrs. Voorhees. I wish they had gotten the lady from Freddy VS. Jason. That lady was creepy and would have worked here as Mrs. Voorhees. And I loved Derek Mears as the new Jason. I haven't seen Jason this vicious in a long time and it was nice to see pre-zombie Jason back on the screen again.  Everybody else was okay. Not totally bad casting, I just wish they had a better crew to work with.  
 Overall, Friday The 13th (2009) is still a disappointing remake that remains bland and generic.  I like that it never really felt like a straight up remake though. They took Mrs. Voorhees getting decapitated from the original Friday The 13th, the campfire tale of Jason and burlap sack masked Jason from Part 2, the barn and him getting the hockey mask from Part 3, and the guy looking for his sister in The Final Chapter and made a new film using little parts from the original franchise. The mythology is basically the same. I do kinda wish that the whole film was done in an '80s fashion since the original franchise took place within the '80s. I don't understand why they would have The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror remakes take place in the '70s like the original films, yet Friday The 13th can't take place in the '80s.  Too bad that the remake had a weak script and a generic crew to work with. I hear that there won't be a sequel. Probably for the best, but if one does happen,  I will still be there opening night.  I just hope they lose Platinum Dunes and that Paramount and New Line make it themselves like they have done in the past.
  It's just another summer at Camp Crystal Lake.  As for Jason, he's still slashing care free teens as we speak.   The legend of Jason Voorhees still remains a staple in the horror genre and Mr. Voorhees and his machete are going to be part of generations of horror to come. Hope you enjoyed your stay at Crystal Lake. Until the next slashing, have a nice fright! HEHEHEHEHEHEHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
1.5/4 STABS


Fred [The Wolf] said...

I got one word for this remake: ugh.

Great review, bro!

TheGirlWhoLovesHorror said...

My friend and I went to a restaurant after seeing this in the theater and when we got there he asked me how I liked the movie. I said, "You know? I've kind of already forgotten about it." And it was the total truth. Forgettable movie! Didn't bring anything new to the franchise or the genre. Blech.

Trick or Treat Pete said...

Bland is definitely the word for this one. I didn't like how the squished parts 1-3 together. Hello? If this is a remake of Friday the 13th, then it should have been about Mrs. Vorhees and not Jason. Jason wasn't the killer until part 2. I think the people who made this film were all smoking a ton of pot while making it, that's why it's soooo prevalent in the film ;) It was kinda like The Monkees getting high with Jack Nicholson and making the 1968 film, Head.
I too, loved Chewie and was sad to see him go as, to me, he was the most enjoyable part of the whole film.
NO! Jason does not just find the hockey mask! He takes it from one of his victims! I will not accept this interpretation as to the origins of the hockey mask!!!! NO! They can kiss my zombie butt on that point.
"Leatherface and the Sawyers VS. Papa Jupitor and the hills family"
Now that would have been the most interesting BBQ ever!
Great review of a lack luster remake. Didn't hate the film, but didn't love it either
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

JennyB said...

To be honest this movie wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but then again I went to the theatre with low expectations cause I was pretty upset with the "new" Jason.

I rememeber watching the preview for it during the Scream Awards and when it showed Jason running I was like "Noooo!!!" Jason doesn't run in the movies he walks. That's why he's so scary cause he walks but he always catches up to you and kills you.

I agree they need to get rid of Platinum Dunes, their not the best movie production company. Great review!