Friday the 13th (2009)


*. 21:47. That’s when the title comes up! Amazing. It’s like a whole pre-movie before the rest of the movie begins.
*. But in a movie like this you have to throw a bunch of good kills at the audience right away. Otherwise they’re going to be bored waiting for the fresh meat to be slaughtered. Kids today bore quickly.
*. Also you need to eat up the clock somehow to get to a 90 minute running time when you don’t have any plot at all beyond the usual . . . you know.
*. I’m struck by how humourless, dark, and downright depressing the twenty-first century horror franchise re-sets were. These movies just get me down. I guess they’re trying to be more “realistic,” which is a respectable enough goal, but the originals were not that realistic to begin with. They were nightmares and dark fantasies.
*. The same team was behind this as did the equally downbeat 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (the same producers, and the same director, Marcus Nispel). Though apparently Michael Bay walked out of the premiere of this one, claiming there was too much sex. I don’t get it. I don’t understand someone walking out of a movie that they produced. Did Bay not get final cut? Did he not see the final cut? Did he not want to see the final cut?
*. Technically I guess this is more a remake of Friday the Thirteenth Part 2 than Friday the Thirteenth. But who’s counting? Only the fanboys and girls. Then again, they’re also the only ones going to see this movie.
*. Wow, the sexual banter around the campfire with the lines about drinking piss and eating fish hasn’t improved one bit since . . .  I Spit On Your Grave. Ghastly.
*. Jason just isn’t very interesting, is he? His mom was a better villain. Not only is Jason inarticulate, he’s totally unexpressive: a mute in a hockey mask. There’s a limit to how much I can get out of such a villain. I think even the shark in Jaws (Cunningham’s original inspiration for the part) had more personality.
*. Expect the expected. The deaths all seem perfunctory. I can’t say I find anything original here at all. And there are just so many genre and franchise clichés to get through. It’s like the movie is waterlogged with this stuff before it even gets out onto the water. The gratuitous breasts, the two stoners, the initial stop at the gas station, the crazy old coot with a cryptic warning for outsiders, the shadow outside the tent, the running through the woods with flashlights, Jason crashing through a window behind somebody and grabbing them, the discovery of the bodies, etc.
*. Why even bother? Except, of course, for the money, and the chance to re-start a franchise that was winding down as a cash cow. I thought the Hills Have Eyes remake the best of all this period’s horror “re-sets,” and about the only one I can think of that improved on the original. But as the creators of that film said, why bother with a re-make if you’re just going to do the same movie? And so they completely re-imagined Craven’s original.
*. Not only don’t they bring anything new to the table here, they don’t even have the sense of humour or low-budget surrealism of the original series. The photography is better, but aside from that . . . pfft.


*. It is interesting that the prime targets now are rich kids enjoying their parents’ wealth (the luxury cottage, the Cadillac SUV). Is this a demographic that the producers felt worth targeting? Why? Because there are more young people like this today? Or more young people who want to be like this?
*. There’s a real porn sensibility at work here. Like with a porn movie, you just want to see the fucking/killing, and the plot is disposable. Right from the get-go you really don’t want the actors to open their mouths unless they’re going to have something dangerous shoved into it. Meanwhile the girls all look and act like strippers and the young men are focused on getting off. The preppy boy even compliments Bree on her surgically enhanced “nipple placement.” Kill them all, Jason. Kill them all!
*. Keeping with the porn angle, there’s also a weird voyeuristic vibe. When the one couple are fucking in their tent in the pre-movie slaughterfest they’re sure the nerdy guy is spying on them. Later Jason looks through the window at Bree riding Trent (while she films herself, naturally). And out in the living room Lawrence prepares to masturbate to a clothing catalogue but has trouble because he thinks a mounted head on the wall is watching him.
*. Obligatory Psycho references with Jason’s bedroom and the swinging lamp in the woodshed. The twenty-first century is a retro place.
*. Psycho isn’t the only name being dropped, however. I take it the decomposing body in the tub is a nod to The Silence of the Lambs. The tow-truck driver’s waving hand is from Duel. Mounting the girl on the antlers is from Silent Night, Deadly Night. Nothing original to see here.
*. An odd decision to only make a couple of quick references to the original music, which was about the only thing from the earlier films that was worth keeping.
*. Why drag Jason’s (presumably dead) body all the way down to the lake and throw it into the water? Just because. They had to get that final shot from the original in there somehow while still holding out hope for more sequels. As of this writing, however, the franchise seems truly dead.


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