*NOTE: possible spoilers in the review.
Friday the 13th was a bit of a surprise for me. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect having only seen the teaser trailer and the regular trailer, but I can honestly say I enjoyed the movie. There a few good jump scares, and the new Jason is pretty damn intimidating but I feel as though the movie could have done with a little more fan service.
I want to get the positives out of the way first because there are a lot of reasons to see this movie and as much as I don’t want to, I have to do comparisons to the old movies. I usually like to watch a movie as if I’m a newcomer to the series and review it as such but this is impossible for me with this series; it’s one of my favorites.
First of all the acting is not bad. I thought Jared Padalecki did a great job as Clay Miller. He was pretty convincing and likable, you really wanted him to find his sister. And even though he’s considered a throw away character, I really liked Chewie, played by Aaron Yoo. He was funny and had a really good presence on screen playing the goofball. The other guy I have to note is Travis Van Winkle as Trent because you were meant to hate this guy and I honestly did hate this guy, he was such a douchebag! From his attitude to his actual vocabulary during sex. Total douche.
The jump scenes and kill scenes are actually really enjoyable in this movie too. Before the main group of kids comes on screen, you actually have a first group of kids who take a beating (that’s right, two groups for the price of one!) and I think the death scenes in this beginning rival that of what’s in the second group, and this is only the first twenty minutes of the movie. One scene, for example, has one of the characters crawling on the floor of Jason’s house and Jason is stabbing his knife up through the floor and you anticipate, yet dread every stabbing because it means that this character gets stabbed again in another place.
It seems ridiculous to complain about story in a remake, and I’m not, but certain story elements are a bit questionable in this movie. At the beginning when Clay is looking for his sister, he is approached by a cop who explains “You’ll never find your sister…blah blah blah” but I can’t help but feel like this cop didn’t do all he could to help Clay out. If he heard that people went missing while camping, wouldn’t he go and at least look at the local CAMP for them? Call me crazy, but that seems like a no-brainer, even with the rule of Our Logic does not apply In the Story or Actions in horor movies.
Also, I’m still trying to figure out why Jason saved Clay’s sister and didn’t kill her right off the bat. In my group it was decided it was because she looked or sounded like Jason’s mother (if this IS the case, it makes a little sense and explains a little bit about why they included the questionable scene at the beginning) but if this is the case, I had a very hard time telling with that locket containing the picture. I still think she was kept alive for a happy ending.
The new Friday the 13th movie took a bit of a different approach than most remakes in that instead of a remake of one movie it’s sort of a remake of the first few movies in the series. This was both a blessing and a
death curse in my eyes. (spoilers ahead!)
By cramming a few of the earlier movies plot points into one movie, some of the original mystery and feeling is lost. The opening credits feature a girl killing Mrs. Voorhees like during the ending of the first movie. They breeze through this with almost no importance placed on it, which I thought was an important story element in the first movie. You know, the twist ending that surprised everyone? Mrs. Voorhees lines are just lame too. Betsy Palmer in the original was so convincing as a woman who just went crazy and really thought she was doing her son a favor. In this one, the character says something along the lines of “Oh, I’ve killed everyone else, c’mon let me kill you too. It’ll be easy. Oh, my son is Jason by the way! You know the kid that drowned? I guess I’m avenging him?” The other problem with this is newcomers to the series won’t really understand this really shaky credits part. It feels tacked on and very unnecessary, something they could have left for back story in a sequel.
Another piece of the old puzzle that they don’t explain is Mrs. Voorhees head in Jason’s house. Back in the second movie, Jason has a shrine dedicated to his mother and in this remake it looks like he does too. Surrounded by candles, is the head of his mother, whom I assume he talks to, or listens to. Now this brings up a conundrum of sorts because if this is his mothers head, as referenced to from the old movie, then he does use this head as a guiding voice. However, if he is stealing Clay’s sister because she looks like his mother, doesn’t this eliminate the use for the head or even the mention of it during the movie? Would he really give up using the head so quickly for a girl that kind of looks like his mother whom he has to shackle up from getting away from him? CONFUSION! The way this is presented for newcomers though, they would never know the difference. They would think this is just some head in there. If this was the purpose, just to show some head in the house, then why do we have the beginning credits scene again?
Jason getting the mask also did not happen until the third movie in the series. He had a bag on his head in the second movie and his mother was the killer in the first. This, however, I feel is a great addition to the movie, considering Jason is known by his iconic mask. The way in which he finds it is a little odd and feels like a lazy addition but it’s something that needed to be there for old fans and newcomers alike. Hell even newcomers know this mask! It’s so iconic, it’s what scared them from just seeing commercials of older Friday movies in the past.
I really like the throw back to older movies with some of Jason’s movies being reused, like busting through windows and throwing bodies through other windows. These were welcomed and appreciated.
WHERE IS CRAZY RALPH!?!?!
This is my biggest complaint (though I’m sure most people won’t care) that there was no man named Ralph or Crazy So-and-so to say “That place has got a Death Curse!” I mean, c’mon! I would’ve put on the hobo clothes and did it for free if it meant having him in the movie!
So, Does this Friday stand up to the originals? This, as always, is another yes-and-no, gray area, answer. While the new movie is good, there are still certain aspects of the original that will always be prevalent and just too damn enjoyable to forget. You won’t be able to watch this new movie without wanting to watch the original right after and it is part excitement but it’s also part longing and pining for the old 80’s slasher feel that movies really fail to capture today.
Regardless, the new Friday the 13th is really fun and enjoyable and is a gateway to a possible new long running series that I’m sure I will enjoy many sequels in.