Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kill kill kill! Die die die!

Any seasoned fan of the Friday The 13th franchise will be familiar with that little catchphrase, which plays during most of the stalk scenes. So I was a little disappointed it didn't show up in the remake, which I went and saw at the cinema last night. But that being said, the movie was a lot better than I was expecting, as I had read quite a few negative reviews. The movie is a veritable slaughterhouse, as we are introduced to a group of campers who are all butchered within the first 15 or so minutes. Then we meet a second group of young folk going to a cabin for the weekend. And the cabin just happens to be near good ol' Camp Crystal Lake. Also loitering about is nominal hero Wade (Jared Padalecki), searching for his sister, who was one of the unfortunate campers in the first group. As we soon learn, however, said sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti) is alive and well and being kept prisoner in some underground cavern.

Now, this is where Friday The 13th 2009 veers off a little from what we expect. Jason Voorhees is not the type to hold on to a victim for six weeks. When it comes to slicing and dicing teenagers, he's generally quick and to the point. It's never really explained why he's keeping Whitney alive, other than a slight suggestion she bears a passing resemblance to Jason's mother. Not to mention how Whitney survived what looked like Jason's machete swinging directly towards her head during their confrontation.

Also, here, Jason runs. In the original series he was able to thump about at his own pace while his victim ran and stumbled, ran and stumbled, then hid somewhere stupid. But he always found his target. The victims here do the usual silly things I just mentioned, but they're further disadvantaged by the fact Jason can now work himself up to a jog. I guess you need to stay fit when you spend all day chasing young, healthy adults.

Anything else that doesn't work? Yeah. I lost count of the number of scenes where a hapless victim would investigate a strange noise/go looking for a missing friend, build us up to a false scare, then have Jason silently pop up behind them. It got old pretty quickly, and the scare just never worked. And don't shoot me for this, but it also went overboard on the T&A. Sure, exploitation horror wouldn't be exploitation horror without a girl dropping her top, but here it's distracting. Nearly half the female cast gets their boobs out before meeting the wrong end of a sharp implement, which gives the proceedings a slightly sleazy feeling it didn't need. And one sex scene in the later half of the film just goes on and on and on.

That being said, Friday The 13th circa 2009 looks great, moves quickly and provides a couple of jolts. There are plenty of gory murders and while the film generally takes itself seriously, does provide moments of incidental humour. The cast are young and pretty, obviously, but most of them are veterans of multiple TV shows, so the acting is above average too. Therefore in my opinion, this counts as one of the remakes that works.

1 comment:

  1. I've just remembered Jason (yes, I'm as stupid as I look). Wasn't his mum a handy little mass murderer as well? I also remember watching Freddy vs Jason. It scared the crap out of me.