Friday The 13th (2009)

It is the franchise that will not die.  Nearly 30 years after the theatrical release of the original Friday The 13th, here comes yet another follow-up.  (Movie number 12 in the series, if you’re keeping track.)  God knows why anyone thought it needed to be made.  What’s peculiar about this Friday The 13th (yep, it has the same title as the first one) is that it’s not quite a remake nor does it behave like a traditional sequel.  (It doesn’t reference any other films beyond the first three.)  Nevertheless, I’ve had bowel movements that were scarier.
 
If you’re a curious newbie, it’s thankfully not necessary to screen the eleven previous chapters in order to understand the basic storyline.  However, the characters in the movie probably could’ve benefitted from an all-night marathon.
 
The finale of the 1980 film is reworked as the black and white opening of the 2009 update.  Jason Voorhees’ mother is after the last surviving camp counsellor during a dark and stormy night.  (We know she’s a camp counsellor because a brief flash of lightning reveals the word "counsellor" on the back of her T-shirt.  Thanks, lightning.)  As you may recall, Mommy is greatly perturbed at camp counsellors in general because two of them supposedly preferred getting busy to looking after her deformed freak of a son when he was a little kid.  (He drowned when they weren’t looking.)  Just like in the original, the old bag gets decapitated.  But guess what?  Jason didn’t drown.  In fact, he witnessed her murder.
 
Cut to the present day.  A small group of friends are on the hunt for some marijuana plants that just happen to be in the same area as Camp Crystal Lake.  As per usual, this is a horny bunch with very little charm or personality.  When one of these assclowns accidentally stumbles upon the mother lode, Jason is there to give him a typically warm greeting.  You know, slashing one of his ears off, stabbing him against a tree.  Good times.  Later that night, there’s more mayhem.
 
Six weeks later, Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is desperate to find his sister, Whitney (the lovely Amanda Righetti).  She was dragged out by her dopey boyfriend to join those pot hunters on that ill-fated camping excursion.  (He figured she needed a reprieve from looking after her cancer-stricken mother for so long.)  Clay and Whitney are not as close as they used to be but when she failed to show up for their mother’s funeral, he became gravely concerned.  He’s been showing her picture to the local townsfolk ever since.  The police have long given up on finding her.  Common sense says they barely made an effort.
 
Meanwhile, another group of horndogs have arrived in the area.  Led by douchy rich kid Trent (an obnoxious Travis Van Winkle), this diverse group of college kids are spending the weekend at his father’s cabin.  During a pit stop at a gas station, they encounter Clay who can’t convince the clerk to showcase his Missing Sister poster.  (His reasoning inspires an unexpectedly funny moment.)  Greatly annoyed that he can’t pay and leave quickly enough, Trent acts like a total jerk to Clay since he’s ahead of him in line.  Trent’s cute girlfriend, Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), is a lot more understanding.  Clay could care less and clearly feels threatened by the man.  It is not their only encounter.
 
In the meantime, Clay continues his increasingly futile search for his sister.  He encounters a bitter old lady with a nasty dog.  When asked about Whitney, "She ain’t missing.  She’s dead," is her blunt reply.  She goes on to complain about the lack of peace in the area and how Jason (whom she never names) ought to be left alone, like he’s the victim.  Then Clay startles a creepy-looking dude who is more interested in selling him pot (yep, the same stash the first group of kids were seeking) than giving him a good lead.  Just before Jason puts him out of his misery in a later scene, we learn that this solitary man really, really, really needs a girlfriend.  On one hand, it’s hilarious how he expresses his appreciation for a magazine photograph of a naked woman.  On the other, it’s sad how he considers nailing a mannequin his "first time".
 
All the while, Jason pops up again and again to knock off these underwritten characters one at a time.  He hasn’t lost his depraved touch.  It remains an uncomfortable experience to watch him obliterate one human life after another with no emotion whatsoever.  He’s been killing brainlessly for so long you’d think he’d be bored by now.  I wonder if he’s heard of cable.  He might like it.  (Oh, right.  There’s a hole in his TV.  My bad.)
 
Believe it or not, Michael Bay attached his name to this monstrosity.  (Besides producer Sean S. Cunningham, it’s the only one I recognized in the opening credits.)  One wonders why.  This is unsurprising, unscary, unimaginative, putrid drivel.  Many of the sequences are so dark you can barely follow what’s happening.  The recycling of the mama plot from the first film and Jason’s bloody trail of vengeance from the second remain as illogical and perplexing as they ever were.  The fact that Jason lives permanently at Camp Crystal Lake and hides all the bodies in his cellar makes him a fairly easy suspect for police to nab and yet, we’re asked to believe they’ve done all they can to solve all these murders.
 
When we find out that one character is kept hostage down there (guess which one), it also makes no sense.  If this person resembles a certain someone, why would you bound this unfortunate soul in chains?  If you’re worried about a possible betrayal, you do have a machete, remember.
 
All that being said, it is something of an advancement that the film has ended one nasty franchise tradition.  The women in the picture are never once referred to as "cunts", "sluts", or "whores".  (A nude centerfold is referred to as a "hot bitch" but that’s rather complimentary.)  One character (played by the absolutely stunning Julianna Guill) has a body and an outfit that are so spectacular that they inspire three very funny lines from two smitten dudes.  You wish the repressed Jason was one of them.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
2:44 a.m. 
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Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 2:44 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] thought it would be a swell idea to remake the original 1980 film that began all this bullshit.  Released in 2009, this version of Friday The 13th is just as bad as the first one.  Unfortunately, it made 90 […]


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