Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Well, I don't quite know how to start this review.  If I just come out and say that Friday the 13th is a bad movie, I'm sure you'll instantly roll your eyes and sigh to yourself while thinking "yeah, Eddie...duh." However, no matter how much I try to tell you that the movie is utterly worthless and put together by people who just don't seem to give a damn, you'll never understand the sheer boredom that I felt at about 12:45am when I realized that I still had an hour to go.

Friday the 13th fails on just about every level.  The storyline sucks, the acting is wooden, the effects are questionable,  the photography is grainy and shaky, and finally the direction is just plain terrible.  

This remake starts out directly at the end of the first Friday the 13th.  It's 1980, and Mrs. Voorhees has been killing teenagers who she feels are responsible for her son Jason's death.  In the first few seconds of the remake, we see just how much she's lost her head (...sorry...).  The film picks up in present day when a few campers are traipsing around Crystal Lake looking for a huge patch of marijuana.  Unfortunately, they run afoul of Jason, and the twenty minute sequence is about the only decent part of the movie.

Soon enough, we're introduced to a new group of twenty-somethings.  We instantly identify with Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), if only because she's the only character given any amount of screen time.  Yes, there were other campers with her, but they're obviously red shirts meant for the slaughter.  I didn't even realize that there were three females in this group until close to the end of the film.  Jenna runs across Clay (Jared Padalecki) who is searching for his sister, who looks suspiciously like one of the campers from the beginning.  

Well, you can pretty much guess where it goes from there.  The campers get to their enormous cabin (I can't really call them campers...I guess partiers is a more appropriate term) and Jason begins to pick them off one by one while Clay searches for his sister and Jenna falls for Clay.

The movie has a host of problems.  It definitely suffers from Stupid Character Syndrome, where the movie's characters do the dumbest thing possible because it serves the script and allows for another kill scene.  I couldn't tell one character from the other, and after about twenty minutes, I didn't care.  For instance, I didn't know until the film was almost over that Jenna had TWO female friends with her.  I couldn't tell because they weren't characters.  They were nameless women who existed to flash their bare breasts and then get a machete through the head.

"Hey!  Hey, you!  Have you seen an arrow?  No?  Huh.  Strange.  Hey!  Come closer!  No, but for real, come over to the dock!  I want to tell you something!

I've mentioned that the effects are questionable.  They're all boring.  I've never seen a slasher movie with so little blood.  Listen, I'm not a very violent person, but the Friday the 13th series is kind of known and appreciated for it's violent and inventive kill scenes.  They're not the goriest movies, but they show quite a bit of blood.  I really expected them to ramp up that aspect, and was both relieved and a little disappointed when I noticed the lack of blood or gore in the movie.  What gore is in the movie...well, it's more minimal than most movies of this sort. 

The camera work is another huge problem with the film.  I understand that shaky cam is becoming more and more prevalent, but it seems that no one can really do it right yet.  It's certainly not done well here.  The camera shakes so much that I half expected Jason Bourne to crash through the window and save the day.  Horror is such a visceral genre (film itself being visceral as well) that I can't imagine what they were thinking when they shot this movie.

"Hey!  Let's not let our audience know what's going on and who's dead!"

I'm not certain how this is a remake since it deviates pretty wildly from any Friday film that I've seen.  As a matter of fact, this could have been called Friday the 13th 11: Return to Crystal Lake, and it would have fit in perfectly with the rest of the films.  I suppose what makes this film different is that Jason has strung lights, alarms and traps throughout the woods of Crystal Lake.  Oh, and he's an excellent athlete, as his childhood trophies show us.  Also, he has a bit of a "creepy serial killer keeping the girl in the basement" thing going on.'s not scary.  It's absolutely not scary.  Listen, I bite my fingernails.  It's a disgusting habit that I'm trying to break.  The more nervous I am, the more pain my fingers will be in the next day.  Well, when I wake up tomorrow I'm going to feel just dandy...because there's nothing scary, stressful, or exciting about this movie.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's missing the gravitas that Kevin Bacon brought to the original.

Friday the 13th is about as boring a movie as you can imagine...which is just about the most damning thing that I can say about it.  A horror movie shouldn't bore you.  I can't say that I recommend the movie to anyone.  I wouldn't even recommend that horror fans go to see it.  Instead of seeing this movie in a theater tomorrow...just turn on the television.  I'm sure that at least one (if not several) of the original series will be on cable t.v. tonight (I'm looking at you, USA Network).  It's a safer bet, and you won't spend any money.

Perhaps Jason X will be on.

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