At Crystal Lake, what started as the best weekend of their lives could quickly become their last. A group of teens, miles from civilization are about to learn, one by one that the lake has a bloody past... and it's ready for revenge.
Is there a need to remake every horror classic of the ‘70s and ‘80s for a new generation? Since the beginning of this decade, we’ve already seen “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Halloween”, “The Hills Have Eyes” among others go through the remake treatment. None have admittedly achieved the same success as their predecessor- perhaps it was the zeitgeist of the times that made them into the classics they were.
Marcus Nispel’s remake of “Friday the 13th” continues down this well-trodden path, the director himself behind the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” back in 2003. There is apparently a new generation of teenagers that need to be scared shitless and who better to do that than the iconic Jason Voorhees, the masked killer from Crystal Lake who terrorizes his unsuspecting victims looking for a nice summer spot.
There’s nothing new that Marcus Nispel brings to the mythology of Jason Voorhees. Just like “Halloween” tried and failed with Michael Myers, this remake fails to inject anything really worth your attention into the character of Jason- what do you expect from just 5 mins worth of back story? Indeed, the best compliment one can pay to this film is that it is a brutally efficient thriller, one that grips you by the throat from the get-go and doesn’t let go until the end.
Yes, what “Friday the 13th” lacks in depth it certainly makes up for in suspense. There is little time wasted in building any of the characters- Marcus Nispel knows that they are just meat for the cleaver. So what bare bones story there is consists of a brother (Jared Padalecki) searching for his sister who has gone missing more than a month ago while going hiking with her friends up in the woods around Camp Crystal Lake.
But once you accept that “Friday the 13th” isn’t going to be anything more than a balls-out slasher flick, that’s when the fun really begins. The Jason in “Friday the 13th” is one mean heartless killer who disposes of his victims in cold calculating ways. This is not the retard one would expect whose only strength is his brute force. But the Jason here plans then executes his devilishly savage ways of butchering his victims.
Some backhanded compliment is also in order for writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift who avoid the kind of stupidity that teen slasher flicks often relegate their characters to. While none of the forgettable characters display much ingenuity, it’s a relief that Marcus Nispel’s film saves them (and its audience) from idiocy- and manages to sneak in some hilariously cheeky humour too.
Line of the movie goes to horny rich kid Trent (Travis Van Winkle) who in his moment of sexual joy utters: “Your tits are stupendous. You have perfect nipple placement, baby.” Yes, check your brains at the door and you’ll find this a visceral feast for the senses.
The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees: Cast and crew take turns to display their reverence for the iconic character and then how they brought Jason to life- prosthetics, muscle suit and Derek Mears (who plays Jason).
Hacking Back/ Slashing Forward: This time, cast and crew take turns to display their reverence for slasher films and how they hope for their remake of “Friday the 13th” to have a revered place in the history of slasher cinema. Someone should tell writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift that their remake is no equivalent of what “Batman Begins” did for the caped crusader.
Alternate Scenes: A collection of four scenes of the movie that aren’t particularly interesting.
If you need to give your sound system a workout, look no further than this excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. Turn it up a little more- and you’re guaranteed to have an immersive experience good enough to make you jump in your seat. Visual transfer is just as excellent.
Review by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 17 September 2009