Review: In Defense of Friday The 13th (2009)

As a horror lover myself, I am always skeptical like most, when our old favorite films are being remade. We could have the great debate that the classics should never be touched, but we probably know the answer to that one. Why can’t it be possible every once in a while for a remake to have you questioning how you really feel about the original? That’s what the Friday the 13th reboot by director Marcus Nispel did for me. I’ve been a Jason fan since childhood, I’ve seen those movies over and over again so you need to understand before I go on that they are some of my favorites. The films were perfect for their time, but why not put a modern twist on it?

Friday-the-13th-friday-the-13th-2009-6783290-1680-946This reboot has everything a classic slasher requires from partying and perfect boobs to a damsel in distress, all while fulfilling the needs of our fast paced generation. It basically covers the first original 3 films all in one.  We all know Mrs. Voorhees is the killer in the 1980 classic and we don’t see Jason work his magic until Part 2. I laugh my ass off every time at the thought of those teenagers letting that old lady kill them! In Nispel’s version, we see a quick segment at the beginning of Mrs. Voorhees’ back story and then it moves on to what we really want to see.

Friday_The_13th_Guill_6_9_13_This movie has the best introduction to a slasher film ever. (I said slasher not horror) It starts with 5 friends going camping in the woods to get away and look for rumored marijuana crops. Gathered around a camp fire, one friend shares the infamous ‘Camp Crystal Lake’ story but no one seems to be concerned. Their fun ends fairly quickly when Jason doesn’t just slowly stalk them from behind but runs, jumps and destroys everybody within the first 24 minutes. He looks bigger, faster, stronger and scarier than ever, especially in his one-eyed canvas mask.  Anytime I have watched this film with somebody who has never seen it before, when this intense intro is finished and the movie title comes up, their eyes are bulging and they think the movie is over. In my opinion, that speaks for itself.

AppleMarkThe plot follows Clay who’s searching for his missing sister around Crystal Lake. He comes across a group of college kids that are vacationing at their friend’s family cottage, and makes friends with one of the females. The two of them go searching amongst the woods and come across the cabins at Camp Crystal Lake. They do what anybody does in a horror film, and go ‘investigate’ the cabins. During this time, Jason has already discovered their friends, and it’s only a matter of time. The cottage is located close to Camp Crystal Lake, but the distance makes an aggressive Jason seem even faster, this also allows the viewer to get a better look at him. In the original Part 3 Jason finds his famous hockey mask for the first time. He takes it from a young man he kills, but you don’t see him physically put the mask on. This bothers me because it is or should be such an iconic moment. One positive change from Part 3, in this version you watch Jason’s mask being ripped off and his distorted face is revealed for the first time. He’s in a shop that seems to be full of junk and maybe antiques and he finds the goalie mask and puts it on and before our eyes a legend is born! I feel this scene is very necessary. The writers paid homage to the original with a few similar kill scenes, most notably a much better much more gruesome ‘sleeping bag’ scene. It also doesn’t go too far with blood and gore, just like the originals you’re truly left scared of Jason himself.

00050.m2ts_snapshot_00.55.10_2013.09.08_19.59.30Overall, this reboot allows you to grasp a better understanding of the making of Jason Voorhees. The added details are appreciated, such as a young Jason discovering his headless mother, and picking up the machete for the first time, or finding the goalie mask.  We saw the important moments, rather than being told or having to assume they happen. I get it, a remake isn’t for everybody but maybe I convinced one more person to give it a try. The bottom line is, if you want a slasher film that will make you physically feel this terrifying masked villain running toward you while you’re screaming for your life, this is the movie.