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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.41%
Worth A Look: 17.65%
Average: 25%
Pretty Bad: 10.29%
Total Crap42.65%

5 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Friday the 13th (2009)
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by Erik Childress

"Just Like The Originals: Still Bad. Maybe A Little Worse."
1 stars

The Friday the 13th films have never been good. Let’s get that little nugget out of the way up front. Some horror geeks would immediately disqualify my opinion on the latest updating and that’s OK because I would just as easily dismiss theirs. Other than out of a sense of youthful nostalgia I have never run into anyone who has any true fondness for the series past the non-Jason original. At least its not something they volunteer in a conversation of groundbreaking horror fare like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween or A Nightmare On Elm Street. Those are superior examples of the genre. Skillfully directed with a consistent sense of dread and, aside from the latter, was conspicuously minimal when it came to actual bloodletting. This is not a prudish attitude. There’s nothing wrong with gore when used in excess to produce laughs or to reinforce our squint reflex and continue recoiling us in our seat knowing that danger is staring us and the characters dead in the face. The remake of Friday the 13th wants to have it both ways and that makes it a miserable failure that maintains no attempt to reimagine the villain, the cliches, or the bloody kills and it becomes a depressing experience that offers zero enjoyment and even less fright.

After a brief prologue set in 1980 that revisits Mrs. Voorhees rampage and the survivor who chopped off her head, we see a young Jason receive a telepathetic message from the decapitated to kill for mother. Enter Prologue #2. A group of present-day campers on the hunt for some primo chronic have a run in with the pushin’-40 Jason. He dispatches them just shy of the filmmakers topping Martin Scorsese’s 19-minute pre-title prologue for The Departed and sets into motion the story of our true heroes. Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is motorbiking his way through the backwoods area posting missing person pics of his sister, Whitney (Amanda Righetti), one of the Prologue Deux Campers whom is told bares a striking resemblance to Jason’s mommy. From here any character potentially served up as gore fodder is barely worth a mention. But to understand how far out of the way the writers and actors go to actually give us a rooting interest in Jason, we’re going to give them a full paragraph.

There’s Nolan (Ryan Hansen, more or less reprising his jagbag from Veronica Mars), who wears a T-shirt that reads “F*** Christmas.” His girlfriend, Chelsea, is played by “I Wanna Be Bad” pop star Willa Ford, who has since showed more breasts (on film and the pages of Playboy) than songs on her first album. God bless her to be sure and her topless water skiing scene provides a momentary reprieve from the rest of the ugliness on screen. Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) is the token dark meat who reminds us he’s black. Chewie is the token Asian played by the indescribably vexatious Aaron Yoo (of Disturbia and 21) who can’t get killed hard enough on screen for my money. Julianna Guill plays Bree, another token hottie who also allows us a happy place thanks to an extended look at her bouncing body. Such pleasure is nearly ruined thanks to running commentary by the defacto owner of their cabin, Trent (Travis Van Winkle). Let me tell you about this guy. Our first impression of him comes at a general store where he tells Clay, who mind you is trying to get the clerk to put up pictures of his missing sister, to quit yapping so he can check out. He’s repeatedly telling his idiot friends not to mess up his daddy’s cabin. He welches on a game of Beer Pong after trying to get Bree to take the hit and drink the final prize from a sweaty shoe. On top of everything he cheats on his girlfriend, Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), the only tolerable one in the group, while she goes out to help Clay with his search. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s necessary to give these people such a shout-out because its imperative to know that these are the folk you are going to be spending time with during the film’s final 80 minutes. And with a film that just wanted to have some fun killing off annoying specimens to the human race, the criticisms would not be so severe. But director Marcus Nispel, who managed to maintain consistency with his Texas Chainsaw Masscare remake, can’t make up his mind what kind of horror film he’s making. The original Friday the 13th film (along with most of its sequels) were relatively humorless affairs - and very poorly made, often boring exercises. It wasn’t really until Jason was battling telekinetics and punching the heads out of wannabe pugilists in New York that the franchise finally started to get its own joke. Reintroducing actual terror (or just finally INtroducing it) into the series was what I was hoping to find from Nispel, who may have upped the gore quotient with Leatherface and provided a wholly unnecessary backstory but nevertheless kept the tone appropriately bleak and was benefitted from one of the better scream queen performances in recent years from Jessica Biel. While it seems that direction is on pace through the prologues and a farmhouse attack, it soon gives way to not one, but two wacky arrow through the head gags that would have been welcome with My Bloody Valentine’s 3-D glasses, but is definitive proof that Nispel has little more to offer than the cheap scares and tedious stalking from any of the originals.

Once you attempt to establish the visceral punch of Jason charging a helpless young woman at full speed while she crawls on the ground, how many scenes of characters cluelessly investigating their surroundings until Jason can magically appear behind them do you grant the film before you start bailing on the notion of this being a reimagining. When initially first announced, this was supposed to be more of a Jason: Beginnings, not a smush-up of the first three films with a little part 5 finale thrown in with the goofy humor of 7, 8 and X. Will horror fans honestly be pleased with Jason now being a hostage taker or will they delude themselves that he’s now some Bin Laden metaphor with his own underground cave who only kills when his territory is invaded? By watching this version you could honestly walk away from it believing that Jason is merely defending his weed garden like some deformed Mr. McGregor with a machete.

And walk away I wanted to, far away from a misbegotten collection of stale cliches and unconscionable references to films that (other than one shameless homage to Jaws) don’t even belong to the horror genre and should produce groans from film lovers louder than any of the victim’s death gasps. By the count of myself and colleagues we registered nods to Blue Velvet (involving beer brands and a found ear), Die Hard (after I joked about the solo cop arriving on the scene and then, no lie, having a body thrown onto his windshield), Fargo (one shot recalls Peter Stormare's axing of Buscemi plus a woodchipper plays a vital role) and even Bob & Doug Mackenzie has their drinking game desecrated to the point that I pretended I was just watching a live-action version of the bonus round from Tapper. There was even a casual joke prior to the screening about what Paul Thomas Anderson’s Friday the 13th would look like only to see one character jamming to Night Ranger’s Sister Christian (sans the coked-up Alfred Molina and a firework-tossin’ Asian far less annoying than Aaron Yoo) and a missing gun that inspired memories of John C. Reilly’s desperate search in Magnolia. About now, some of the gorehounds and horror geeks are poo-poo’ing my glib observations but they are precisely the people who should be absolutely furious at what this film has delivered. No amount of nostalgia can save whatever defense they choose to mount and its proof to this film lover why the horror genre will always have problems being taken seriously. Because casual dismissals of everything that’s wrong with this film and this franchise in general shows that you can lead most horrorses to water and they will drink it up. Like a milkshake. As for Friday the 13th, I’m finished.

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originally posted: 02/13/09 16:00:00
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User Comments

6/11/14 Charles Tatum Predictable, on par with the awful original series 2 stars
9/25/13 David Hollingsworth average remake, but has great kills 3 stars
3/16/12 Sean This was an awesome reboot and it was even more epic seeing it in theaters. 5 stars
10/05/11 Rich Everyone responsible for this movie should get cancer 1 stars
5/30/11 art friday the 13th is a just A COPYCAT of HALLOWEEN! 1 stars
3/14/11 art THIS EXCELLENT REMAKE is an EQUAL to the 1980 ORIGINAL! 5 stars
1/27/11 Danny Not. 2 stars
10/03/10 art A NICE HOMAGE to the FIRST 3 FRIDAY the 13TH"S! 4 stars
1/06/10 art THE 1980 FRIDAY THE 13TH IS A HALL OF FAME horror film!,this remake doesn:t measure up! 1 stars
12/31/09 Maria Atleast it's a little better than the wretched 80s seqels, but thats not saying much. 2 stars
12/21/09 mr.mike Just saw it on Cinemax, not bad at all. 4 stars
9/03/09 art a worthy remake! 4 stars
8/27/09 Laurey Martin It's not great, it's not horrible. Jared is good! 3 stars
8/13/09 Dan Suppose it's ok, though it doesn't hold up well on a 2nd watch 3 stars
8/12/09 gdurso Wanted something different, got more of the same 2 stars
7/23/09 art rated f for forgettable! r 1 stars
7/11/09 CODY A OK REMAKE, but when has jason ever kidnapped somebody and not kill them, not that scary. 3 stars
6/21/09 art it buries the first one,it is ACTUALLY IT"S A REMAKE OF PART"S ONE,TWO,THREE! 4 stars
4/08/09 Marion There was also that completely random To Have and Have Not reference 1 stars
3/22/09 james obrien again why remake this? 2 stars
3/15/09 Scary Movie For better spooky stuff, I would recomend Jareds TV series supernatural. 2 stars
3/14/09 geetus Terrible. Grew up on the orig. series. This one's no fun. No creativity at all. Doesn't fit 1 stars
3/05/09 Aaron Was very pleased with this remake. 4 stars
2/24/09 aliceinwonderland Jason was to human in this one if you ask me... 3 stars
2/23/09 littlered pretty good, not great, wasent scary but made me jump a couple times 3 stars
2/21/09 Jack Sommersby No scares or suspense, and terribly staged and acted. 1 stars
2/19/09 Drew Typical Jason movie 3 stars
2/18/09 David Pretty generic, but still decent for the slasher genre. 3 stars
2/17/09 Todddi Same as always, nothing special if not boring 1 stars
2/16/09 martz well done remake. Best film of the seris probably. 4 stars
2/16/09 IVomitBloodOnSmallChildren Another generic soulless remake..I'm suprised this franchised hasn't been milked dry yet. 1 stars
2/15/09 whentempersflare It wasn't all that great. I'd only recommend it to people who hadn't seen the original 3 stars
2/15/09 Jason Sturges I loved it and have seen it twice 5 stars
2/15/09 Brian Mckay meh, at least it had plenty of titties and gore and was better than "Jason in Space" 3 stars
2/15/09 Anthony Feor This remake is better than any other friday the 13th film out there. 3 stars
2/14/09 Normal Erik Childress, you're nothing more than a dorky little pussy. 2 stars
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  13-Feb-2009 (R)
  DVD: 16-Jun-2009

  13-Feb-2009 (18)

  12-Mar-2009 (R)
  DVD: 16-Jun-2009

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