Mike’s Review: Friday the 13th (2009)

out of ★★★★★
Directed by Marcus Nispel.

Because of money grubbing, legal hassling, and Hollywood head-butting, we haven’t seen a Friday the 13th film since 2009. Word on the street is that the 1980 Friday the 13th originator Sean Cunningham is BACK. Just like Jason never died!!! He’s teaming up with the writer and the director from a new horror flick, the Night Driver, and they’re making a reboot/sequel/requel happen. 

To temper this exciting bit of re-reboot news your pals at the Scariest Things Podcast decided to take a peek at the 2009 reboot. While we’re normally opposed to the idea of reboots, re-imaginations, and otherwise re-working the original source material — in this case it’s TOTALLY warranted. 

If you haven’t heard already, 2009’s Friday the 13th is a bloody heap of all the worst elements and summer-slasher tropes jammed into a single film. Don’t go to Camp Crystal Lake and definitely don’t seek out the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th. 

Incredibly the film is void of scares, tension, and dread. More incredibly, director Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2003) decided to place the original climax with Alice (Adrienne King) and Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) at the front of the film. During the credits?!?!

Assumedly, by establishing who Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) is from very beginning of the film the director is afforded much more space for hacking, slashing, poking, and chopping. In reality, we’re left with little-to-no story. It’s not devoid of a story, but what remains is awfully damn thin. 

In this installment Jason has abducted a young woman, Whitney (Amanda Righetti). Apparently abducting teens, as opposed to chopping them in half, is now Jason’s thing. Whitney’s brother Clay (Jared Padalecki) is convinced that she’s still alive and it’s up to him to head back to Camp Crystal Lake and get to the bottom of this Jason Voorhees mystery. 

Fangoria! Woo!
Hint: He’s behind you.

Along the way Clay, who’s deeply dumb-jock voice is a significant distraction throughout, encounters a group of too-pretty teens — who mostly look like strippers and porn stars — that are partying at their parent’s cabin (read: mansion) for the weekend. Turns out *gasp* their cabin is right next to Camp Crystal Lake. If it’s not next to Camp Crystal Lake it’s awfully close. Also distracting is the fact that the film, while originally set in rural New Jersey, is now set in rural Texas. To be sure, a very different and bothersome look, feel, biome, and climate. 

This pile of useless teens couldn’t be any less likable or affable. They actually manage to act their way into something lesser than one-dimensional acting. Negative one-dimensional acting? One-dimensional un-acting? Or just the run of the mill bad acting?

All of the lousiest horror tropes are on obvious display like a pile of last season’s 50 percent-off socks at the Gap. Car won’t start. Dog barking jump scare. I’m too stoned. I’m so horny. Hillbilly female objectification. And, spoiler alert, Jason chops his way through every last teen and trope. Calling this a killing-by-numbers exercise would actually be a major compliment. 

Probably the saddest thing about 2009’s remake? It’s dull. Remove all of its bumps, warts, and foibles and it’s still just a dull film. We’re hopeful that Sean Cunningham’s return to the franchise will breathe new life into the 13th (?!?!?) installment. Come on lucky number 13…you got this!

Friday the 13th is Rated R and streaming everywhere, and it is available in the junk DVD bin at your local WinCo.

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