If you don’t know by now what to expect from a Friday The 13th movie then you’ve been hiding somewhere dark and damp for far too long. And not been reading any of my other reviews. Jason Voorhees wears a hockey mask and kills a selection of young, fit teens (usually after they’ve just either gotten too drunk, too high or engaged in pre-marital sex). That’s it. Alongside Michael Myers this horror icon really stands as THE main man in the slasher/bodycount movie subgenre.
This remake kicks things off with a quick recap of the end of the original first movie and then moves on from there with some references to other instalments of the franchise and plenty of little touches to keep the fans happy. In the here and now, a young man (played by Jared Padalecki) is searching for his missing sister. She was last known to be visiting the infamous Crystal lake area with some friends. There is also a crowd of disposable teens hanging around, spending time at a lodge by the lake and about to engage in all of the activities that will attract the attention of Mr Machete himself.
Marcus Nispel previously managed to get things just right with his impressive remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by layering a modern horror with grime and grit while also retooling things for the new generation it was being foisted on to. Can he manage it again?
The simple answer is no. While this movie definitely stands head and shoulders above many other lame remakes of recent years it has a number of major failings. First of all, this movie gives us absolutely nothing that you could not see in any of the other eleven Jason movies. Yes, part of the appeal of this franchise is the familiarity but if you’re simply providing another outing for Jason to go on a killing spree then why bother to do it in the form of a remake? This could easily have been simply yet another sequel and the decision not to go down that road is bizarre.
Secondly, by following the Friday The 13th formula so closely it already feels dated. Yeah, Jason X was a dumb movie but at least it tried to feel fresh with it’s tongue-in-cheek approach. If fans dislike that then how about trying something along the lines of the referential moments and fan-pleasing scenes that were interspersed throughout Freddy Vs Jason? Oh, and there’s not enough use of the well-known, classic music motif.
It’s not all bad though, not by a long shot. Some of the kills are impressive and inventive (I especially enjoyed the opening scenes before the main title), there are moments of humour and Jared Padalecki makes for a likable lead. It’s a shame that hardly any of the others are worth spending time with (though Danielle Panabaker is sweet and Julianna Guill is scorching hot and pleasingly not averse to gratuitous nudity) but that’s always been a factor in the series anyway, if you grow too fond of characters you don’t want to see them getting hacked up. Not a bad instalment in the series, and there are one or two enjoyable surprises here and there, but it’s not worth classing as a remake as it brings nothing new to the franchise and simply feels like a remastered “greatest hits” mix.
DIRECTOR: MARCUS NISPEL
WRITER: DAMIAN SHANNON, MARK SWIFT
STARS: JARED PADALECKI, DANIELLE PANABAKER, AMANDA RIGHETTI, JULIANNA GUILL, TRAVIS VAN WINKLE, AARON YOO, DEREK MEARS, RICHARD BURGI
RUNTIME: 97 MINS APPROX/106 MINS (EXTENDED EDITION)
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