Friday, January 13, 2017

Kill For Mother Redux: Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th (2009 Remake)
Rating: ****
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti, Derek Mears 

We all know that remaking classic movies can be a really really big gamble. 90s' Psycho was tarnished for being too similar from the original and more or less lacked any real reason to exist, Rob Zombie's Halloween divided attention between praisers and haters, and let's not get started with the Ghostbusters fiasco of 2016. (which, personally, I actually enjoyed. I apologize for those who are appalled but, live with it.)

The original Friday the 13th is a classic of its own kind and reputation being one of the most well known slasher movie and franchise, as well as one of the many key influences to hundreds of slashers to come until recent times, so there is in turn no doubt remaking it for the modern audience would have been no easy task. And yet, here it is, one of the more entertaining reboots to come out of our generation, hitting our nostalgic side and quenching our thirst for sex, blood and hockey masked backwoods boogeymen.

The film opens with a blast from the past as we see Mrs. Voorhees hunting down the last counselor of Camp Crystal lake, circa 1980s. Blaming the poor girl for the demise of her son Jason, Mrs. Voorhees readies herself to murder the counselor, only to meet her demise instead when the frightened would-be victim decapitates her with a machete. But, lo and behold, Jason wasn't really dead and the boy had the unfortunate timing to see his mum literally lose her noggin and vows to murder anyone entering his woods since.

Cutting forward to the present, we see a group hiking down the same forest for the typical teen slasher sins of gratuitous sex and weed hunting. Two of them, however, decided to venture deeper into the woods instead and end up walking into the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake and, long story short, the now grown Jason spots the group, slaughters them one by one except sweet girl Whitney, who he had taken an interest to as she resembles a younger Mrs. Voorhees.

One very late title card and six weeks later, yet another group of teenagers are visiting the lake, this time staying at their rich snobby friend's dad's lakeside cabin. Coinciding with their fun is Whitney's concerned brother Clay, snooping around the lake and woods in hopes of finding his sister, if not at least some sort of closure, a feat that caught our second potential final girl Venna's attention and prompts her to join him in his search. Unfortunately for the two and everybody else, what they will end up with instead is a very long night to survive as hulking Jason again arms himself with all things sharp and deadly, to slice and dice these pesky teens and whoever else getting in his way.

Despite the modernized settings and the again mortal (?) Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th '09 is more or less the classic backwoods slasher plot done not once, but twice (!) in the same movie, as the story, more or less, simply consisted of two "deep in the woods" massacres, each featuring a set wild partying teens doomed to be mince meat by the end of the day (or night). I can't really tell if this is a case of the writers lacking the needed imagination to make their project anymore exciting than any backwoods slasher, or simply them getting in touch with the nostalgic bare-bone slasher formula, but after all of the crazy things the franchise had gone through like having Jason battle a psychic girl (or Freddy Krueger), have the big guy shipped all the way to one part of New York, turned into a demonic slug after being blown to bits, or even have Jason frozen and thawed in a SciFi future, I guess the only problem I have with this reboot is that it hardly tried to be anything else other than the same old shtick we've seen hundreds of times before. But as time flies and occasional viewings were made, I did eventually saw the nostalgic effectiveness of Friday the 13th '09 as it strolls through familiar footings and cut open the same wounds we get to love from a slasher flick.

The film paced itself decently enough that we get to have a fairly bloody murder in between some of the attempted character and/or plot development, which was a fine approach thing seeing not a lot of these teenagers are that likable. A whole good deal of them are your token  stereotypes, beaming with the same rowdy energy as their late 80s/early 90s counterparts, albeit more risque with the plentiful near-softcore sex scenes and copious amount of topless nudity. Drugs are passed, juvenile jokes were cracked (hit or miss, unfortunately), dumb decisions are still made (would you really leave your friends to help a stranger you just met this morning?), it wasn't too long before we are rooting for Jason to come out and put his machete to good use and put it to good use he did! 

I will admit that I did took me some time getting used to another fleshy Jason since I grew up with post-The Final Chapter Friday the 13th movies, and kinda anxious to see if he will remain as invulnerable as his zombified take, it is kinda cool to see that hardly anything changed for the only man to matter in this movie. Jason is still Jason. Hockey mask, uber-sharp machete, 7 foot stature and all. He is still the silent mass of muscle and hate that we all knew and love, though he did have this one kill that felt out of place in a Friday the 13th flick (those who have seen this flick will know what the roast I am talking about) but this is a minor gripe on my end and so long as the results still show blood red, I'm all for it.

Being a Hollywood production, it is to be expected that the production quality of the film from its lighting and camera work (love the lush darkened woods and the stormy finale), to its soundtrack (sadly, no signature "ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma" though. I guess that's another point down) are above (if not simply) average, which is a lot to say about a movie where we are to be entertained by teenagers being hacked to death. It's definitely one of the more polished entry to the Friday the 13th franchise, and one that actually deserves a good watch for not only hardcore Friday fans, but also to true slasher fans as well as behind the glitter and gold is the very same gritty and savage monster we know and love with a few little extra something for our time, so make no mistake on passing this one!

It may be a standalone reboot of a classic it will never beat, it is safe to say that it at least tried and did enough good on its own to recognize its efforts. With this, I say Friday the 13th (2009) stands proudly with and above the rest of its slasher kin, and I myself had and still am having a great time with this simple, yet insanely fun bodycounter.

1 female decapitated with a machete
1 male had an ear sliced off with a machete, found slaughtered
1 female roasted alive above a campfire
1 male slaughtered offcamera with a machete
1 male hacked on the head with a machete
1 male had his throat sliced with a machete
1 male gets an arrow shot through his head
1 female stabbed on the head with a machete
1 male gets a screwdriver forced into his neck
1 male gets a thrown axe to his back and forced through his chest
1 female impaled unto deer antlers
1 male stabbed through the eye with a fire poker
1 male stabbed through the chest with a machete, thrown and impaled unto rebars
1 female ran through with a machete
Total: 14

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