The Jason Voorhees Marathon: Part XII
Well, this is it. We’ve seen Jason Voorhees grow from a child in a man, switch from a sack to a hockey mask, die and come back (several times), inspire a copycat, vacation in Manhattan, go to hell and space and fight Freddy Krueger. All that’s left is for him to face the inevitable remake.
Friday the 13th (2009)
Director: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle, Derek Mears, Julianna Guill, Aaron Yoo, Ryan Hansen
Plot: After the accidental death of her son, Pamela Voorhees goes on a killing spree at Camp Crystal Lake. Twenty years later a group of teens get killed camping in the woods with one being held captive by Jason Voorhees. A month later a new group ventured out to smoke dope and have pre-marital sex.
Back in our review for Freddy Versus Jason we noted that, if nothing else, the director understood what worked in both the Friday and the Nightmare franchises. This movie does not. From the get-go it’s clear that they’re taking the familiar character and brand recognition and simply dumping them into a tired, cliched modern horror movie with every shitty trend that was popular in the 2000s. It’s just things popping up with SUDDEN LOUD SOUNDS to startle you and piss you off because you just turned up the volume to hear what they were saying. When did everyone forget how to mix sound?
There’s a lot more that they do poorly. We watch Slasher movies because they’re fun, and the death scenes were always shocking and, to a degree, funny. We want to laugh at how ridiculous they are as much as we’re horrified by the insanity of it all. This movie, much like the Halloween remake that came before it, is sadistic in the way it handles the death scenes. They’re deeply unpleasant and the film-makers seem to revel in stretching out the murder scenes. It’s not fun.
The characters are also completely unlikable. It’s good to see the odd douchebag get ironically killed, but you also need some sympathetic characters. Everyone in this movie appears to be an asshole. The intended sympathetic character, that dude from Supernatural, isn’t exactly the cuddly type.
This isn’t the Jason we’ve gotten to used to over the years. There’s also been something primal about Jason, he works on instinct. Driven by need. This Jason is noticeable smarter and faster. He keeps people captive and he sets traps. He’s got his own electrical grid set up. This is a pretty big departure from the established character and it’s not for the better. Jason is no longer a lumbering, unstoppable force but a crafty, forward thinking foe.
There is very little creativity on show. Everything from the character tropes to the colour scheme is replicating more popular films of the time. There are some creative moments but they are far and few between. Given that there are some decent, or at least charismatic, actors on board such as Padalecki and Panabaker it could do better than these stock characters.
Being a more recent film it does, on the surface, look better than most of the others. Colour grading and digital film has helped it look better. But it’s a lazy script, it doesn’t understand the characters and there’s very little to seperate it from other horror movies of the time.
At the end of the day, watching through the previous 11 films (11? holy shit!) was mostly fun. The movies had a sense of fun. This one is a nasty, grimy movie. If that’s your jam there are better films out there, but is this case they’ve missed the point of Slasher films.
This is lame.
Rating: THREE out of TEN
Jason’s Best Kill: Veronica Mars’ Dick getting an arrow through the head was pretty gold.
Whelp, that’s the end of the Jason Voorhees Marathon! I feel that we’ve all learned something from the experience, grown as people and a community. I was thinking that a Freddy marathon might be a solid follow up, but I’m going with a different idea. For your consideration…