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Friday the 13th slashes its way to relative success

Jim McGuire | Monday, February 16, 2009

If you’re a slasher movie fan, your taste for blood has probably been wanting at the cinema lately. Who wants to watch some girl get haunted by her dead evil twin or, worse yet, see anemic vampires talk about their feelings? Never fear because one of horror’s favorite sons, Jason Voorhees, the machete-wielding killing machine in a hockey mask, is back at Camp Crystal Lake to start some mayhem for any sexy teens who happen by in the remake of 1980’s “Friday the 13th”. In the tradition of other recent horror remakes like 2003’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with Jessica Biel and Rob Zombie’s 2007 “Halloween,” this “Friday the 13th” has a much more polished and stylized look to it than the low-budget original. It is also a lot more gruesome with some of the most needlessly elaborate on-screen deaths in years. The plot is really inconsequential but here it is anyway. Jason Voorhees has hidden himself away at the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake and, in order to avenge his long-dead (and equally insane) mother, kills whoever happens to intrude. This spells trouble for a group of rich co-eds (played by mostly unknowns, including one-hit-wonder Willa Ford) coming to the lake to party as well as a guy named Clay (“Supernatural’s” Jared Padalecki) who’s come to the lake looking for his sister Whitney (“The OC’s” Amanda Righetti) who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. What transpires over the next hour and a half is pretty much an old-school slasher movie bloodbath, and there are plenty of needlessly elaborate, cringe-worthy demises to suit anyone’s tastes. Without giving spoilers, some of the best macabre moments involve a mishap with an iPod, a decorative wall furnishing and a sleeping bag being put in a precarious position. The film does try and inject some black humor throughout with moderate success, but basically you are just waiting for the next person to get axed. One certainly never ends up caring for any of the over-sexed, perpetually wasted teenagers that get slaughtered in what ends up being a pretty predictable, check-list fashion. Although all the effects and gore are very (technically) well-done, it really isn’t anything a horror fan hasn’t seen or heard before a million times. Jason Voorhees has always kind of been second-in-command to the likes of big horror movie baddies like Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. This is pretty unfortunate because Jason has just as much history and on-screen presence as those icons, he’s just a little different. That being said, Jason certainly deserved a high-quality Hollywood reboot like this, but it would have been a lot more effective if he had gotten a more original script to work with and something more to do than just brood and stab