FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Feb 13, 2009

Friday the 13th review: Jason and the Jerks

Be warned fair reader, this post will be chock full o' spoilers! If that makes you feel funny, then turn back now lest ye be doomed. Doomed! You hear me? You kids are all doomed! This post has a death curse!

So, the new Friday the 13th. What follows will probably be the most inconsequential review I've ever written, in that people are completely predisposed to seeing or not seeing this film, and I don't think anything is going to change anyone's mind about it one way or the other. I mean, it's Jason. It's Friday the 13th. Calling it the most craptacular piece of crap that ever crapped a crap won't make people avoid it, and claiming that this film healed the lame won't make people seek it out. It is what it is, and either it's your bag or it ain't.

Similarly, it seems the bar is set rather low for this movie; attending the screening and subsequent press day, I heard variations on "Well, it's just Friday the 13th" more than a few times, as if that alone means the film is exempt from anything that makes a movie worthwhile. I'm bothered by this attitude. Sure, it's "just" a slasher movie and as such, folks don't expect much from it. I think, however, that it's alright to expect that a slasher movie should mostly make sense, and that- above all else- it'll be a bit scary. How did Friday the 13th fare on those counts?

The film quickly makes haste telling the backstory about Mrs Voorhees's homicidal rampage over her son Jason's death; the 90 minutes in the original film are condensed to about 90 seconds of freeze frame flashbacks. Essentially..."You let him drown!" *chop*...out of the woods strolls young Jason to collect his mom's head, his mom's locket, and the machete used to kill her. Take note, Part 2 fans, he does not collect her sweater. Feel the sadness.

Twenty years later, a bunch of douchebags set out to find a giant marijuana crop hidden somewhere in the woods. How do they know about it? Eh, who cares. Just know that two couples and the obligatory nerd set out to find mass quantities of drugs in the hope of reselling it later to reap a gets dark and they need to set up camp for the night. They do so in Jason's territory. Yes, the Mary Jane MacGuffin here is the same one used in that other Platinum Dunes production, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Let's hear it for...err, consistency.

One couple breaks off to explore the environs; they stumble across Jason's house, complete with mom's head, mom's locket, and a bed helpfully labeled "JASON". Upon finding the locket and seeing the photos inside, it's noted that Whitney (Amanda Righetti) bears a passing resemblance to the late Mrs Voorhees. Hmm.

When Jason finds all these kids stumbling around his domain, he quickly sets about doing his thing: by "his thing", of course, I mean "serving tea and petit-fours to his guests".

Okay, I don't actually mean that. But wouldn't that be kind of awesome? What really happens is, he kills them more than just a little bit, even working in a loose homage to Part VII. Whitney's fate, however, hangs in the air.

A month has passed and a new group of douchebags (this group is, like, douchebags with jerk sprinkles on top) head on up to Crystal Lake for a weekend of partying. Also cruising around Crystal Lake is Whitney's brother Clay (Jared Padalecki), convinced that his sister is still alive even though police searches have turned up nada. As he hands out fliers to the "locals", however, we're led to believe that something's wrong at Crystal Lake; one old weirdo lady (perhaps meant to be a more subtle, subdued Crazy Ralph) informs Clay, "Somebody go missin' round here, they gone for good." Again, I say: hmm.

So, the douchebags set about partaking in "teen activities", ie copious amounts of drugs, booze, and sex. Jason upgrades from a sack to the hockey mask after he finds it on the floor of a barn- a scene which has far less eerie impact than his simply standing on a dock being mistaken for someone else in Part 3. Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) finds Clay dreamy, however, and decides to help him search for his sister instead of hanging out with the doucheys. Eventually they find Jason's...underground lair...somewhere.... around the lake, where Jason has been keeping Whitney chained up.

In related majorly spoileriffic news, Jason kills everyone but the sibling combo. They chain him to a wood chipper, which apparently just grazes his head enough to smart real bad.

Then they unchain him, haul him to Crystal Lake, and dump him in. Then he pops out, the end.

Right off the bat, let me say: I really loved this incarnation of Jason. He's mean, he's fast, he's relentless, and he's definitely human- albeit a hulking human who apparently spends his days in the woods working out...and by "human" I don't mean he has a life story, necessarily- I just mean that he's not an unstoppable supernatural monster. Derek Mears really did a fantastic job with the character, and I'd rank it up there in my ultra-cool, extreme list of "Best Jasons Evarrrr".

Pretty much everything else in the movie, though...I just about hated. Please, don't bust out the "But it's a slasher movie, a Friday the 13th!, what did you expect?", because that just doesn't fly. Even in its own shallow, ridiculous universe, the film has to make sense.

Alright, so they've essentially done away with the plotline of the original film because people just want to see Jason, not some mom running around. I can deal with that- this is a complete franchise reboot. But...a young child is standing about 5 feet away from his mother as she's killed and he does nothing? I mean, no yelling, no anything. If he didn't drown and he's been lost, wouldn't he run to his mother? How did he find her? If he didn't actually drown, why is Mama V killing everyone?

Crystal Lake. Yes, the douchebag family has built a big beautiful home on the shores of Crystal Lake, where the teens head to party. This is not their first time at the house or frolicking on the water. Yet he comes after them- why didn't Jason kill them before?

The locals seem to know about Jason- and let me say, I kinda dig the idea that the locals know about him, that he's the boogeyman in the woods you don't talk about. many people have gone missing around Crystal Lake? The authorities never find any evidence of missing people or of Jason himself? Kids go missing, and no one investigates the abandoned summer camp? Clay found his sister on the first day he hit the camp. Yes, law enforcement in slasher movies is generally inept, but if enough people go missing in a small area- so many that Kookadook Neighbor Lady Who Never Leaves Her House notices- and the perpetrator has a sprawling house and campus in the midst of it, you'd think the cops might figure it out.

And can we retire the "Hi kids, I'm here to help!" "Sheriff, BEHIND YOU!" *kill* horror movie cliche? Thanks in advance.

Speaking of the Kookadook Neighbor Lady Who Never Leaves Her House, the townsfolk (for lack of a better term) in Friday the 13th are just as "scary" and "gross" as those in Texas Chainsaw Massacre- in fact, they're even portrayed by the same actors. Again, let's hear it for...err, consistency. Yes, yes, we city folk are terrified of country folk, but is it a rule in Platinum Dunes Country that city folk are nothing but supermodels while country folk are nothing but filthy, stinky, toothless weirdos who would eat you as soon as look at you?

Notice I said "abandoned summer camp". As in, it's not being used. Of course, the setting isn't used in the film either. See, the action here takes place largely at Chez de Douchebag or in Jason's underground lair. Which is a disused mine.

Yes, someone built a mine underneath a summer camp. Next to a lake. What kind of mine? We don't know. Isn't it a bit...unsafe to build a camp over a mine? Or a mine next to a lake? Yes, we can assume so. Why is the mine there, and why is Camp Crystal Lake not utilized in a Friday the 13th movie? Well, during those interviews I did with the filmmakers I learned the answers to those questions. There is a mine (a general, all-purpose "mine") because director Marcus Nispel wanted one in the film. The film does not take place at summer camp because Michael Bay doesn't think camps are scary. And that's that.

All right then, is this campless Friday scary? Despite all of Jason's power and menace, I'd still have to say no. There are jump scares a-plenty, but there's no tension- and jump scare after sting after jump scare simply gets irritating. There's no stalking, no question about who might be lurking out there in the darkness. Harry Manfredini's famous score is sorely lacking here. That classic "ki ki ki ma ma ma" is used but once, at a time when it adds nothing to the atmosphere. How can you have a Friday film and not use that sound to its maximum potential? Again, you can thank Nispel- he thinks the sound "telegraphs" the scares and he just wanted Jason to "appear"...and thus "There are jump scares a-plenty, but there's no tension".

It mostly goes down like this: character stands looking at something with a big empty space behind him, Jason pops up, death. A few deaths might stand out as homages for Friday vets- otherwise they're not nearly as outrageous as those in that other recent slasher remake, My Bloody Valentine.

My biggest gripe, I think- even beyond the horrible characters populating this film, beyond the women as blow-up dolls, the guys as jerks- came at the end. I understand suspension of disbelief. I understand the "need" for Jason to pop up out of the water at the end. Though I try, however, I simply can't wrap my head around how they achieved that end. Upon enduring this horrible night, upon watching everyone get slaughtered, upon escaping Jason's lair after being held captive for a month, Whitney and Clay are going to loosen the tangled chains around Jason's neck, freeing his mangled body from a woodchipper...then they're going to haul his 200+ pound body all the way to the lake just to dump him in? This guy- he's just a guy, after all- who killed all those people? They're going to go through all this trouble and destroy the evidence?, they're not. People don't do that. Yes, people do stupid things in horror movies all the time- splitting up, investigating noises, etc- but sometimes, screenwriters need to stop and say "You, know, this is a bit much..." and figure out ways to make the characters' stupidity seem plausible. Even in its own shallow, ridiculous universe, the film has to make sense.

Am I being too hard on it? Maybe. It's just a slasher movie, after all, right? It's Friday the 13th. Jason gets his mask, he kills people. That's what folks want, mission accomplished.


Bloody Mary said...

Oh. I was afraid you would be disappointed. I think the bar being set so ridiculously low is what allowed me to enjoy this film. I really had a great time.

I don't remember the Egg McGuffin in the TCM remake being drug procurement. I remember them picking up a girl alongside the road who blew her own head off in their van. But maybe I need to see it again. Or not.

I agree, I too loved this version of Jason, and I rather expected he would be badass just from the press Derek Mears did. I did feel he took on a bit of a Leatherface vibe, though - that I didn't mind.

I really loved the recast mother and would have liked to have seen a bit more, much more than Betsy Palmer, who barely hides her disdain for her involvement.

I'll try not to fill up your entire comments section, I'm going to go see it again and take some notes this time.

Unknown said...

I do have to wonder, what if this were an experience unto itself. If you hadn't seen all (or any) of the previous films. If you didn't have any experience with slasher movies in general. Would that make the 2009 Friday the 13th experience any better, or at least more enjoyable?

Bloody Mary said...

And, oh, yes, I'm fairly certain I would have finished wood-chipping him.. Seeing as he was right there next to the chipper and all.

And I would have been entirely willing to believe Jason would have been able to reassemble himself afterward to drown Whitney in the lake. But I would have given just about anything to see him drown Padalecki.

They did need some excuse to be hanging out at the lake at the end instead of hightailing it home because it really did HAVE to end that way. I thought there was an even balance of the characters doing exactly what you might in the same circumstances, or even being more resourceful and still biting it, which is fun, and alternately doing boneheaded unreasonable things you want to yell at the screen at, which are just as essential.

Anonymous said...

It's good to hear that Derek Mears interpretation of Jason is well done. Jason did look extremely menacing in the promos. However, it is unfortunate that they've chosen to surround him with more typical teenage slasher flick cliches.

FatalPierce said...

I won't lie, I still want to see the movie. But I'm not putting it off until rental time. A trip to the theater these days is too far and too spendy to have a movie break my heart.

And* of course the sound would telegraph the scare, the soundtrack in movies is meant to help Enhance the feelings being portrayed on the screen. That includes scares! Someone please teach Nispel about suspense.

So it looks like Jensen Ackles made the proper film choice this year out of the Supernatural stars eh?

Tim said...

"If he didn't actually drown, why is Mama V killing everyone?"

Isn't that a problem that was introduced way back in Part 2 where he supposedly watched her die?

Arbogast said...

Just what Friday the 13th needs... a hero.

Bloody Mary said...

One big reason that Jared Padalecki was cast, I'm guessing, is to pull in his big fangirl demographic, many of whom most likely haven't seen a Friday the 13th movie, which is really hard to imagine. I think they are going to love it!

Stacie Ponder said...

Mary- In TCM, the kids are on their way to a concert AFTER they're taken a big trip to score copious amounts of weed to sell and kind of gets the whole ball rolling.

I just don't understand why they didn't set the finale AT the lake in order to get Jason into the lake at the end. Would have been more believable to me.

dreamrot, that's a good question. These Platinum Dunes films fall into some weird gray area- not exactly appealing to hardcore horror fans or lovers of the originals, but they're vaguely antiseptic and decidedly UNscary, so I don't know if they're a true gateway to horror for newbies. Platinum Dunes is to horror what Hot Topic is to punk.

Tim, I think the key difference is time passed. In the original series, Mrs V goes nuts when the camp is reopened 20 years later- THAT'S when Jason sees his mom beheaded...he's an adult. In the remake, he's still a child. Mrs V is killing the counselors DIRECTLY responsible for letting Jason drown when she's killed.

Not that either scenarios is entirely plausible, obvs, but still. :D

I really get the feeling that people are going to like this movie...I just basically didn't. I didn't think it was very much fun, or particularly scary. But I'm fine with being in the minority.

Frank White said...

The whole series has revolved around a plot hole so big it threatens to destroy us all, why should this be any different.

Nothing will ever compare to the midnight show of Friday the 13th 3-D I saw in Milwaukee. It devolved into a hoard of drunk assholes yelling "For the love of God stop going into the barn!"

If I do end up going to see this, it'll be hard not to holler swears in front of the 14-year-olds who are sneaking in.

Anonymous said...

Bring back the final girl in modern horror :[. Seriously whens the last time we've seen a really good/smart/brave one? Not for a while. And if a girl just happens to survive with her brother/love interest it's just not the same thing :[.

Anonymous said...

Not to be too snarky, but how does one expect quality from a F13 film, especially a remake from the schmucks who did the TEXAS CHAINSAW remake?

Always remember Rule #1:


Alana Noel Voth said...

Thanks for the review, Stacie.


Anonymous said...

So does he have a big watermelon head when he is a kid?

Stacie Ponder said...

"how does one expect quality from a F13 film..."

The long of it is, please see my 3rd paragraph. The short of it is, I don't happen to think the first 2 Fridays are turds, though I understand tastes may vary.

Leaving the debate over what constitutes a "quality" film in the general sense, I really don't think it's too much to expect a "quality" Friday the 13th film at the least.

I did go into this with high hopes, despite my general "meh"-ness over the Platinum Dunes efforts (I didn't completely loathe the TCM remake, after all) because the previews looked pretty good and Jason looked great. In the final product, it was a let down. Yes, I expected better, and there shouldn't be anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I will almost definitely use "Mary Jane Macguffin" as a pen name at some point.

Anonymous said...

There's also a scene in Demonwarp where two women are looking for a pot plot in the woods. One of them ends up being chased topless by bigfoot.

That is a good scene.

Anonymous said...

What did we expect really? If the filmmakers had any kind of talent, they would've MADE a film instead of REMAKING a film.
Takes too much creativity to do that, I guess...

Stacie Ponder said...

Good point there, Adam...and you know, I asked Andrew Form and Brad Fuller (the producers behind all these remakes) about that during the press day interviews. According to them, based on their budgets they can't afford marquee name stars, but they CAN afford marquee name properties, so they're going to milk the remake train.

I asked if they ever thought about developing their OWN properties, about trying to launch a NEW franchise, and whether or not they thought there was a place in the current market for new masked killers, new horror icons. Basically, they blew it off with sarcasm ("Sure, when we get an original idea"), and stated that that's what they were trying to do with The Unborn.

So, don't expect them to stop any time soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with everything you said, Stacie. Here's my "review":

Jason's latest adventure of teen carnage does not take place in space, New York or Elm Street. It's a return (in the form of a remake...or "re-imagining") to his original home and lair, Camp Crystal Lake. It's where Jason seems to feel more comfortable and deadly in the dark, heavy woods of Crystal Lake, silently observing his victims and waiting to kill them in the most gruesome and over the top ways. This seemed like a sure thing for Platinum Dunes (responsible also for the remakes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hitcher among others), it was safe, familiar. There wasn't much place to make the wrong move. Well, somehow, they managed to make a Jason Voorhees movie boring.

It begins with a quick, poorly directed flashback of Pamela Voorhees (the killer's crazy mother) going after the last survivor responsible for drowning her son. We all know how that ends, Pam's head ends up on the floor. But this time we see Jason watching her demise, sitting next to her corpse and taking the bloody machete that was used. Cut to present day: A group of horny teenagers in search of a free pot crop makes a stop for the night to rest. The only character that needs to be mentioned here is Whitney (Amanda Righetti), for Jason might not be ready to kill her off just yet. The others? They all die. Cut to six weeks later: A rich annoying guy and his non-friends are going to his cabin for a fun weekend. They run into Clay (Jared Padalecki) who is searching for his sister Whitney. The only one that seems to remotely care about his problem is cutie Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), who helps him look for her in the woods. Oh, yeah, Jason starts to slice them.

There are a lot of things wrong with Friday the 13th. First of all, it takes the movie 20 long minutes to get to the group of friends that matters. When the title card appears you get a "WTF" feeling. For those who don't know the complete plot line will definitely be confused. It's starting over with a different, equally annoying group. And I just didn't feel like it. Instead of making the opening a quick, brutal and bloody 5-minute massacre, it takes director Marcus Nispel (who also directed the TCM remake) a lot of pointless time and could've saved us the grief. It wouldn't have been a problem if the second group was actually interesting. But it's not. I'm fine with slashers having no character development but this went even beyond that. These kids are anorexic paper thin. You usually sympathize with a few of the bunch before they die, but not here. There's only two characters that seem to have life in them: Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta), the token black guy and Jenna (Panabaker), the caring final girl. The rest, even leading man Clay, are as dull as they come. I could even say that the group from the introduction was cooler and more likable. At least some of those kids were actually funny.

No characters we can relate to or care about at all? That's fine, I'm just here for the hot chicks and the inventive, nasty gore, right? Wrong. Yes, there's plenty of nudity. Out of the entire female cast members only two do not show their tits. Which is fine, tits are always fun. But somehow Nispel managed to make them a "couldn't care less" item. The fun, naked feeling from the '80s was not present at all. As for the gore, there are very few memorable deaths. Very few. Jason didn't seem to be inspired at all in this entry. Not only the kills lacked imagination (which is the high point of any Friday movie), but the gore was boring and there wasn't much of it. There's absolutely no excuse for this. It's the year 2009 and the film had a big budget.

The odd structure didn't help with the pacing either. This re-imagining was so boring and suspenseless that, to be completely honest, I wanted it to end. The final act does try something different, which I enjoyed: Most of the characters knew about Jason but he still managed to get them to be alone and kill them. In the other flicks Jason's presence was not revealed until the last few characters were left standing. Here, they know almost from the middle part that Jason is out there to get them. This gave a fresh twist to the flick but it wasn't taken advantage of completely. Neither was the final battle between Jason and the final girl/guy or whoever. There's a scene where they battle on top of an abandoned school bus (?) which was mediocre to say the least. The ending is predictable but for some reason it didn't work.

In the end, Friday the 13th 2009 is a big disappointment. It's surprisingly bad to be honest. And making a Jason flick bad takes quite an effort.


Anonymous said...

so he's not deformed in the movie, just a guy wanderin' the woods?

Rhubarb said...

The original series never provided a good explanation for Jason still being alive but it's more grating if they're trying to retcon his death in the same film it's supposed to have occurred in. I suppose they could do the scene like this

Mrs Voorhees: You let him drown!*CHOP*
Jason: No they didn't.
Mrs Voorhees: My only son!*SLICE*
Jason: Honestly, I'm fine.
Mrs Voorhees: I'll kill you all!*HACK*
Jason: What the hell, let's just go with it.

OK I know Jason's supposed to be mute. That would actually be even better, imagine an exasperated little melon-head Jason doing a "Hey Mom, over here" dance as old Mrs V is dismembering counsellors.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed to see that the movie wasn't everything you might have hoped it would be, but at least I know this comes from a genuine disconnect with the movie on its merits and not because you hate slasher movies. The latter dislike makes traditional review outlets a waste of time for this movie, but you're Final Girl, so you know whereof you speak. You'll have to count me in the, "Yea, it doth rocketh the heavens" folk, as I thought the movie was terrific.

As far as the ambush-scare ending: it's a dream. It only makes sense as a dream, so that's how I'm going to look at it.

kindertrauma said...

I just got back from seeing this and I have to say I too was REALLY disappointed. It was like an avalanche of missed opportunities. All that time spent with those pot hunting campers should have been spent with Pamela. What a waste. This was supposed to be a combination of the first three films? Really?Oh but we did discover how Jason obtained the hockey mask....he found it on the floor! That's pretty creative!!!!! I think I'm going to have to see MBV3-D again just to clean my palate.-Unk L

Stacie Ponder said...

Sam, the end was no dream. I asked! I essentially got "Well, we had to get him to the lake" for an answer.

Supposedly there are more scenes that will be on the DVD- or at least, were shot. The flashback, of which more was shot, was originally supposed to occur during the middle of the film. The mask-finding scene is supposedly longer. The relationship between Jason an Whitney is expanded upon...I wanted to know what he DID with her. I mean, she's chained up for a month- he HAD to feed her! Amanda Righetti told me that Nispel wanted a scene where Jason feeds her peanut butter...

I'll let that sink in for a moment.

...but it wouldn't fly. However, Nispel put a jar of peanut butter in the shot, next to her mattress. I didn't spot it, but at the time I wasn't looking.

Apparently the writers wanted the Mrs V's sweater to be in there as a treat for fans, but it got taken out.

None of this, of course, will make it any more scary. I found the sex scenes off-putting...and I'm USED to sex in slasher movies. They just felt tacked on and way too long and pointless. If you found yourself wondering why no one was killed during the sex scenes- not in the tent like Part 9 or in bed like Part 2, well, that's because Marcus Nispel refuses to mix sex and horror.

What bummed me out was the "campfire tale" of had NO impact at all. Is that because I knew the story already? Or was it because NO ONE IN THE MOVIE SEEMED FREAKED OUT BY IT? From Madman to this film, the campfire tale is supposed to freak out the audience and the characters...who will promptly forget all about it and get killed.

Bwana, Jason IS deformed, although we don't see much of it...which is fine.

SikeChick said...

I am among those who found the film disappointing. Everything about it seemed really slap-dash. I know most horror films don't flesh out characters very well, but this was ridiculous. I did jump once and I was surprised that one character I thought would survive didn't, but overall the movie really just kind of sat there. I didn't care about the characters I was supposed to care about and I couldn't even muster up enough dislike to root for anyone to die. Well, except the kid at the campfire who told the "legend of Jason" story. He must have been the "Shelly" of the film. And I don't really care about these things, but the boobs we did see were pretty clownish. The group of teenagers behind LAUGHED at the first set shown because they practically had a price tag still hanging from them. At the end of the film, the same set of kids loudly echoed my sentiments, "That's it? That blew!"

Unknown said...

You know, I like Friday the 13th films. I liked the show. I enjoy watching them for what they are. But I have to ask, does this Marcus Nispel guy know what & who he is directing?
Doesn't like to mix sex & Horror? WT? Doesn't want to use the Chh, Chh, Chh, Maa, Maa, Maa? For whatever reason you come up with, you don't leave that out.
The biggest disappointment for me was, the original series didn't take it's self too serious. It followed it's rules, but you watched the movie, had some scares & laughs and that was it. This new F13 takes its self WAY too serious. A mine? Are you !@##$ing kidding me? A mine? Why? oh yeah Marcus Nispel. (with plenty of blame for Bay)
I had hoped for something that I would enjoy as much as the originals but that seemed too much to ask. It's remakes like this that really shake with fear about the "new" Star Trek flick coming.

Anonymous said...

My Bloody Valentine pisses all over this Friday the 13th wreck... God, where do I begin?

Insipid & uninspired deaths, how can they film such boring offings?

"Say hello to hell", WTF? who wrote that kind of shit? I'm sorry for Jason, they raped him good in this crap.

Corey said...

i just got back from the theater, and i've got to throw my hat into the 'i loved it' ring. i agree with almost all of the points made here... the characters weren't particularly well fleshed out, the story didn't make much sense at all, and i have no idea why the two survivors decided to drag jason to the lake -- but unlike some, i guess i just don't care. continuity and logic have never been this series' strong suit (e.g., if jason drowned, how is he running around the woods, stealing sweaters and decapitated heads? why does his mask drastically change every sequel, going so far as to magically regenerate when it was obviously destroyed in the previous film?). it's not that i expect less from a friday the 13th... it's just that i expect different things.

the movie was dark, gritty, and treated the original material with respect. most importantly though... it was fun. the audience reacted as one giant organism in a way i haven't seen in a long time. i loved MBV3D, but it (even with the advantage of 3D technology) didn't elicit the kind of responses i saw tonight.

for the last 20 years (ever since part 7) we've all been aching to see a vicious jason, back at the lake, without any of the gimmicks or nonsense (e.g., "going to new york," "going to space," "fighting freddy," etc.). we wanted it so much that when they even hinted at it in a campy way during the VR scene in jason x, we cheered. well, the movie i just got back from was that, and a lot more.

jason was mean, fast and ferocious in a way i don't think he's ever been before. while i can see why some wouldn't find it incredibly disturbing or frightening, it was exciting and entertaining. i didn't love every single kill (some weren't as suspenseful as i might have liked), but the majority lived up to the hype (the sleeping bag over the fire and the girl under the dock stand out in my mind).

it's impossible for 90 minutes of footage to live up to 30 years of film history, particularly when that history is ingrained in your childhood. i love the jason i knew growing up, blemishes and all (even the atrocious fifth and ninth films in the series)... but i embrace this new jason as well. it's not a perfect film by any means, but i am appreciative as a fan of the series to see jason brought to life in a way that, really, he'd only existed in my childhood nightmares. to condense my feelings to one phrase: friday the 13th (2009) rocked my socks.

also, i'd like to take a stab at topping your picture of the cardboard jason voorhees stand. i brought my christmas present to the theater and wore it when sticking my head through...

Anonymous said...

Chop-a-holic (who still can't remember a password for shit)

Okay SP, yes the new F13 was bad. It's a remake of a bad 80's trend with a 21st century sucktacular spin like all the other refakes that humanize the bad guy and explain the WHY of their killing sprees instead of just scaring the piss out of us for no reason (the way it should be). I mean come on! Half the reason nutjobs are scary is because we can't fathom why they're doing it. Do we REALLY want the masses to identify with a mass murderer?!? The movie industry is getting dangerously close to actually doing what those two killjoy housewives that killed Black Christmas (and the horror industry as we knew it) claimed horror films did...

That being said, anyone who said there was a final girl in this new F13 really doesn't understand what a final girl is...

Oh, and you said they weren't making new franchises? They had the potential for one with Behind the Mask but you didn't like that one either :P. Maybe you should watch it again and compare it to it's current peers?

Joshua said...

This was the most irrelevant movie I have ever seen, I hated it. They didn't do anything new, didn't take it a step further, didn't develop anything, nothing! The TCM remake was definitely cool for it's time (obv not that look ago), and is still pretty good now. But theres just no point for this movie to even exist haha, thats all I could think while I was watching it. And I definitely agree with all of your points.

The characters are annoying, unattractive (lol, these are all poor-man's versions of the tcm actors, fa sho), and literally act like noone I've ever met in my life. Has anyone really met people like them? The first group maybe, but the second group no way. Dumb. Anyway, the loud rap/rock music was ridiculous and obnoxious, too. Everything about this (aside from Jason) sucked. Such a huge piece of shit.

It's sad too cause it seems like everyone involved was really into it and thought they were making something really great, haha. Sad sad. I'll stick with the mbv remake.

Also, totally glad to see you didn't like it and said so, as weird as that sounds haha. I figured everyone online would kiss everyones ass about it. You're always the coolest.

Bloody Mary said...

Yay! I'm glad there were a few of us that had fun, I was feeling down!

Talking about the weed issue, there was a funny coincidence in our local Crystal Lake newspaper, click on my name to see it on my blog.

And those of you who just finished a F13 movie marathon, please also come tell me on my "My First Friday" post if you know which F13 movie this scene was in: a girl talking to someone in a top bunk and realizing it was actually dismembered body parts.

Thanks for your help!

Anonymous said...

Corey, that's a great shot. Best I've seen yet.

Anyway, I wanted to follow up on the revelation that the producers think the ambush-scare ending was "real." This is one of those times when an audience's read -- and by "audience" in this case, I mean me -- supersedes authorial intent. As I said before: it only makes sense as a dream, so I'm just going to think of it as a dream until such time as a sequel comes along and says, "Hey, remember when Jason popped out of the lake at the end? That was real!"

CRwM said...

I bet in Amsterdam, you can totally buy Mary Jane Macguffins for breakfast. I bet there's some sort of value deal: a Mary Jane Macguffin, hashbrown, and regular coffee for 3.99 Amsterdam dollars. I could totally go for a Mary Jane Macguffin this morning.

Anonymous said...

They did a Halloween H20 on this, actually made another sequel but pretended it wasn't really...

I liked it, very much in fact, mainly from a nostalgic POV but nevertheless... My extended thoughtages are here:

Stacie Ponder said...

Chop- I meant that Platinum Dunes isn't making new franchises. I asked, basically, if they had any intention of creating a NEW icon while they quit riding everyone else's creative hump. To me, they're like those people who keep making "sequels" to George Romero films (though PD efforts are much, much better).

And no, I didn't particularly like Leslie Vernon, but I did enjoy Hatchet and The Strangers, proving that I'm not JUST an old crank. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm going to chime in and say I enjoyed the film. Yes there were a lot of plot holes, even a few falling in the chasm variety. But I went in thinking I was going to be disappointed. After subjecting myself to all the other franchise engorged gobbly-gook. I haven't liked a F13th film since number 4 and that was a stretch for me. In my opinion, at least this will put Jason in the "vicious killer" horror icon category. Instead of being the joke he's become. And Stacie let's be honest, couldn't it be possible that you're just upset because no one was running around shirtless wearing speedos, painter pants, blue suspenders, hiking boots, jean cut offs and red kerchiefs. Biggest disappointment....No Crazy Ralph. (sadness)

Stacie Ponder said...

Dammit Jim, you've gone and revealed my secret. No Steve Christy = no love! The movie was doomed from the get go.

Speaking of doomed, I agree- it needed Crazy Ralph. The weirdo lady didn't cut it...or she cut it, but totally differently.

And yes, "Dammit Jim" is my Bones McCoy impression. Uncanny, isn't it?

Unknown said...

Wow, I enjoyed it fine. I do expect quality out of slashers, but only in the sense that I want them to be entertaining, and scary is sometimes secondary to that. It just depends on the movie. To me, Friday the 13th movies have never been all that scary, but they've been ridiculously entertaining, even despite the flat, annoying characters, the lack of continuity, etc. I understand what you are saying about expecting quality and setting the bar low, but for me, Friday the 13th movies are about Jason in the woods killing kids. It could have been better, but I thought it brought the series "back to basics," which is a good re-starting point. If I think of it as Part 12, it's better than I could have hoped, and that's really what this movie is, no matter what they call it--Part 12 (or Part 11 if you don't count Freddy vs. Jason). If we're talking about a Halloween remake, then I'm altogether with you! Halloween was scary and thrilling and elegant and the remake was--not (to me, anyway). Yet, I feel like I got my money's worth with this remake, and I think it's getting the series into a better direction than it was going. Now, it's clear that the woods are where Jason needs to be, not Manhattan, Hell, etc. And he doesn't need to fight Carrie or Freddy, he can just fight one of the dudes from Supernatural! Honestly, though I would have had him die in the movie and then had another fight between Jason and the girl (final at this point) at the lake. I think deleted scenes will probably shed some light on why they didn't do this, because it seems obvious. Basically, I went in expecting a fun time and a chance to watch some annoying kids get offed by Jason, and I think the movie did well on that point. It also brought the horror, even if it lacked suspense (though it had a little of that, too). I can understand the faults that you bring up, though, and how they would have made you dislike the film.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with everyone who says the killings were good or entertaining, those were totally by the numbers & way to boring.

Take the japanese guy, he just get's stabbed with that thing...lame. At least in My Bloody Valentine they were mean spirited & cruel!

Jason Adams said...

Stacie, I hope you did a full-on cartoonish spit-take at some of the words that you heard coming out of Marcus Nispel & Co's mouths. Nispel wanted a mine! No Jason sound effects! No sex and violence together! Check check and check! Hey we've got a hockey mask (PICKED UP OFF THE FLOOR UNDER SOME GARBAGE UGH) so it's Jason. Camp? Who needs a camp? Camps aren't scary. Except, you know, unless you were ever a kid away at camp IN YOUR LIFE.

And I know that the Friday films have a (mostly) deserved rep for showing the boobs, and I have no trouble with that, but yeah, there was no fun to the sex here. All the boobs were fake and ugly and cheap and nearly every single girl needs to show them? Really? And nothing from the guys? Because, believe it or not, there are Friday fans looking for some equal exploitation, and we've gotten plenty of it in the past, and I felt cheated - CHEATED! - by that.

The wheelchair hanging on the wall of Jason's (ridiculous) lair did make me smile.

And despite all the bitching I just did, I did enjoy chunks of the film a lot. But reading that Nispel & Co. actually said those things in your presence, Stacie (I didn't read your review til now, post seeing the movie, since you were all spoilery)... well that shit has made me angry. Why did he take the job then, if he didn't like what the movies were all about? Fucking filmmakers today, man. Don't fucking get it.

And I know you and I disagree on Leslie Vernon, Stacie, but I gotta give a big word to the fact that it sucks that he gets the shaft for a hack with a grudge against his own material churning out a remake of the last horror film he made, just with a hockey mask instead of a flesh-mask.

Christ this comment has been all over the place. Need to focus my thoughts for a review of my own...

Bloody Mary said...

The preferred nomenclature is Asian-American, dude. Aaron Yoo is of Korean heritage.

I thought his kill was the most brutal to watch. And he was probably my favorite character.

Craig Blamer said...

So the director doesn't believe in mixing sex 'n death, huh? Isn't that pretty much what fuels the Jason mythos... that he drowned because the horny teens that were supposed to be keeping an eye on him were off bumpin' uglies? And that he hit the dirt like a big ol' honed-off zombie land shark lookin' for kids doin' the nasty?

It always baffles me when they hand a project like this to someone that has such a disdain for the source material. Although the reboot of Halloween showed that even a rabid fanboi can drop the ball.

Ultimately, like you said... it comes down to the filmmakers just thinking that they're making stupid movies for stupid people, and can't be bothered to bump it up a few IQ points to make happy with the folks that want a little more stimulation than just to the lizard brain.

Anonymous said...

Chop-a-holic again.

Wow, I can't believe we're opposite on Leslie and Hatchet! I appreciated a true Indie horor flick (and it was good for one), but against the same measuring scale... I'll just agree to disagree on that one. Also, The Strangers had some worthy aspirations and true gigglefest moments in it (yes a laugh when 'normal' people aren't supposed to), you really can't call it groundbreaking either. F13 will end up being the campless camp classic it wasn't meant to be. Much like the original Evil Dead, not to be confused with the remake that's sure to break my heart. Who knows, maybe they'll remake Brazil next and update it with jazzy CGI moments too...

Anonymous said...

Grrrrrr. That would be my one word review.

I'll accept that all the Fridays were basically the same movie, so this version works fine as part 12. But it didn't have to be. It had the chance, with a good budget and 29 years on its side to either be a super slasher, with creative kills and genuine scares, or a totally self-aware popcorn flick. What did we get? Another slick sequel with MTV editing wherein we couldn't actually see any of the kills and didn't care enough to want to.

You know what would have made this passable? How about having Aaron Yoo as the final survivor? Throw a twist into an 11-film old formula and actually surprise the audience.

I never expected to say this, but F13.12 deepened my appreciation of the Saw franchise.

Anonymous said...

I think you are dead on in this review. you said, I am predisposed to watching it. And I can't help but not hate it even though I should. I think that speaks volumes for the franchise.

Stacie Ponder said...

I would have dug it if Aaron Yoo had survived...and I will say that Jenna's death was surprising. However, going in to this movie, you KNOW that Jared Padalecki is going to live. It's like, is Leatherface REALLY going to kill Jessica Biel? Nope.

That's the problem with getting "names" in these horror movies. In the early days when the actors were all unknown, everyone's fate was up in the air. Now, there's at least one recognizable name/face, and it's all but guaranteed that he or she will survive to the credits. The only movie that had the balls to kill off a star was Scream.

Also, I like that Padalecki got his face SMASHED THROUGH A WINDOW, yet he ended up with just a tiny little cut on his cheek...can't mar his beauty!

Chop, I would never dare to call The Strangers or Hatchet anything close to grounbreaking. I just thought they were both fairly entertaining. In the end, The Strangers fizzled out for me (and Liv Tyler was just WAY too stupid) and Hatchet was too funny, not scary enough. But they were both enjoyable.

I think there's a great film in Leslie Vernon somewhere, but it was too wink wink for me...not to mention that I really loathed the performance of the dude playing Leslie. I don't know, it just didn't gel with me. Not to mention that they kept using the term "survivor girl"...THAT was baffling. :D

Ryan Clark said...

You know when you said this review probably won't change anyone's mind about seeing the film? Well, you were wrong... thanks for saving my time and money! It sounds like a piece of shit, and even more bland than the My Bloody Valentine remake (which at least had some impressive, over-the-top murders, a nude chase scene, and a midget to sustain interest). Judging from your review, this rehash doesn't have anything to make it worth my time. I might catch it on video, but not for a long while.

deadlydolls said...

Well Freddy Vs. Jason killed off the obnoxious Destiny's Child girl, but maybe that stunt-casting on a Paris Hilton in House of Wax kind of level (which incidentally co-starred Jared Padalecki, but I guess he's been promoted to the Chad Michael Murray role this time around).

Bleh. I just feel like this was a huge missed opportunity and makes me want to learn how to become an assassin to prevent the inevitable raping of Nightmare on Elm Street.

Corey said...

I'll throw in my votes for loving the new Jason, Leslie Vernon, The Strangers, and MBV3D. Maybe I'm just easy to please? Um... what haven't I liked lately? Well, I didn't really dig Repo or Cold Prey. I hated Shutter, The Happening and the Day of the Dead remake.

I hope the Awesome Movie Poster Friday makes an appearance soon. I picked up House of the Dead: Overkill, and it's my new favorite game. The grindhouse look, sound and dialogue adds so much more to the experience than you'd think. Mario and Katamari should be presented grindhouse style next time. I can't get enough of this damn game...

Back to Jason Voorhees -- has anyone seen His Name Was Jason? Tom Savini does a surprisingly entertaining job of hosting this documentary on the entire Friday the 13th series (it's sort of a companion DVD to the Crystal Lake Memories coffee-table book). If anyone wants a copy, we're giving one away at evilontwolegs for sending in your best Friday the 13th story, photo, childhood reminiscence or whateva.

spazmo said...

Corey - "His Name Was Jason" was quite a trip down memory lane, wasn't it?

Loved seeing so many old cast members, especially Amy Steel and Robi Morgan (who played Annie). The still-lovely Miss Steel wondered how cool it would be if the next Friday featured all the surviving final girls banding together to kick Jason's ass.

Now that would be freaking awesome.

Anonymous said...

Chop yet once more (I really wish I could find that password now)

Sometimes the wink-wink works. Look Evil dead 2 and AOD for example, they took a movie so bad it was good and parleyed it into a great franchise I'd gladly like to see more of. I can't remember/find if you've seen Feast yet but it's a wink-wink movie as well as being the final Project Greenlight if an overhauled version that added a couple medium names (love Jay and Hank but they're not BIG names). Some movies are classics that shouldn't/can't be remade well while others can. Carpenter did a great job reiventing The Thing which was a mediocre film to start with. Then you have a box office darling hacking away at true landmark faster than you can say Klatu Barata Nict-whoa!
This 'version' of F13 really isn't a new movie in the series, it's a retooling effort. I'm sure the DVD (horror's true media thanks to the MPAA) will have meatier (ha ha) death scenes but won't add much to what they call the story.

Oh! I wouldn't wish too hard for a twist ending or they'll turn over the next one to M Night Shake-n-bake and Jason will pull of his mask revealing that it was really Old Man Phillips from the cotton mill who was REALLY Jason's father... Oh christ, they haven't tapped into Jason's daddy yet, *sigh* well they're bound to now aren't they?

What's it gonna take to get some good ol' fashioned american remakes of Italian horror again?

thebonebreaker said...

Great Review Stacie!

Vince Liaguno said...

Not overly impressed. My own review is up at Fear Zone ( This was just "eh" for me, and I honestly think Nispel and company missed a really big boat on what could have been done. There was tremendous potential to do something special, yet they opted for mediocre at best.

I'm also with you, Stacie, on loving Hatchet and strongly disliking Leslie Vernon(!)

Benjamin Hall said...

Great post!!! I totally agree with your review.

I really enjoyed the film, but it didn't feel like a Jason flick. The constant jump scares and dark gritty edge, took all of the slow tension, sunshine and fun out of the films.

My wife and I also shed a tear for the death of real boobs in slasher flicks, I'd rather see a flat chested girl than a girl with hard formed plastic suction cups.

I hope natural beauty makes a come back real soon.

the jaded viewer said...

Jason took a hostage. So un-Jason like. So sad, so very sad.

Anonymous said...


Your review of this film puts everything else I've read on it to shame.

For what it's worth, Dirk Manning applauds you. You were right on the money with this one all the way through.

That aside... you liked HATCHET? REALLY?!?

Stacie Ponder said...

I'm just glad Jason didn't try to make sexy times with his hostage, as that was my fear when we saw her chained up.

Dirk, I did like Hatchet. The one and only time I've seen it, it was in a packed, rowdy theater. Had I seen it under different circumstances, who knows...but I thought it was fun. Not really too scary or what have you, but fun.

Corey said...

Can't resist the urge to chime in about 'Hatchet'...

I agree about 'Hatchet' -- it was a very fun movie. My only gripe is that it wasn't what was advertised. The 'old school American horror' trailers made it look like the ultimate slasher film. Unfortunately it's not a slasher film -- it's a comedy. And a decent one at that... but not the return to balls-to-the-wall horror that I was expecting.

Anonymous said...

Chris Coppola! The guy from the "Bloodrayne" sequel, "I Love the '80s 3D" and a guest spot on "Corey in the House" as a bear wrangler!


I'm just wondering...why do film makers think that most teenagers just get high and shag? Of course, maybe the fact the ones that do get killed sends out a message...engage in bad behavior, and a psycho in a hockey mask will murder you.

The only bright spot are some of the asian guy's lines.

"They don't call me the wood wizard because I masturbate a lot!"

"I'd have a better chance at fucking a penguin."

-looks at hockey stick- "It curves to the left...just like my penis!"

So comparing those two "Supernatural" dudes movies, I liked "My Bloody Valentine" better. Because it at least had a mystery to solve., I think it needed a re-write and to be grounded in reality a little more.

deadlydolls said...

I would have enjoyed this movie much more had My Bloody Valentine 3D not come out a few weeks before. I wasn't expecting magic with F13--none have ever been overly good, in comparison to most other horror--but I just loved how much MBV3D had fun with itself without descending into total self parody. F13.12 wasn't scary like the TCM remake, but also had little spirit. I didn't want a comedy and I didn't expect genuine fear, but the bland little mix we got just left me sad.

It's fine. I'll just accept this version as another sequel in a long line of highs (4) lows (5) and lovable camp in between (8, X) and hope that the inevitable slew of sequels gets more creative.

SeangSTM said...

Ki,Ki,Ki - Ma,Ma,Ma is used at least twice, possibly three your ears.

Stacie Ponder said...

I'll give you twice- during the opening sequence, and once during the main action.

If I must open my ears, then you must open your heart.


Kmork said...

Friday the 13th isn't slated for release in South Korea until March 12th! Argh! Why did I read this spoiler-laden review!?!?

Calling it the most craptacular piece of crap that ever crapped a crap won't make people avoid it, and claiming that this film healed the lame won't make people seek it out.

Oh, yeah. That's why.

GroovyDoom said...

I'm with you two hundred thousand percent on this. I hated myself for buying a ticket to this movie, because I should have known better. I hated Marcus "Shaky-Cam" Niespel's TCM remake, but I thought "Ya know, I'm not really expecting much out of this movie in the first place, and the trailers look pretty badass..." There was nothing scary about this movie. It looked good, but it just kinda laid there, like a dead hooker.

And I also concur, the first two Friday movies were not turds!

Walter L. Hollmann said...

oh, man, to quote my favorite character, this shit was say the least.

awesome fact: douchebag boyfriend Trent in this movie is played by the same guy who plays douchebag boyfriend Trent in Transformers, also a Michael Bay production. that's right: Optimus Prime and Jason exist in the same universe. ownage.

AE said...

I was very excited to spot the jar of peanut butter after reading your review! This was not really a movie to get into. To watch and laugh at, sure; and to judge from the laughter in the audience, people were having a good time at this movie. Still, it would've been nice to be scared.

Anonymous said...

Well, I just watched "Friday the 13th" and I have to say it was boring, stupid without any spirit! There were no real "charakters", only stock charakters which fulfilled every possible cliché! They also used charakters twice or even more... I mean how many stupid sexy girly girls were there? I've totally forgotten... and whats even worse I don't even care! Those "youngsters" were so unlikable!
I always think and still do by the way that the story of the first part was kind of interessting... A mother who lost her disformed son and took bloody revenge (and wears a baby blue sweeter to die for?)... Maybe I was to optimistic but I thought the director/producer/whatever had some good raw material but they wasted it and made this! And the story? Whats with the mine? So many bad choices in one movie... but unfortunatley it's not even camp nor funny... so just forget it! Better watch one of the early 80's movies they were at least funny and had some colorful (but nevertheless dumb) charakters and more imaginative death scenes!

timothy grant said...

I feel wierd saying this in this anti-F13 post ... but I loved it! I found it suspenseful, silly, I liked how they used the ki-ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma sound (3 times actually) and I thought they honored and winked at the slasher cliches ... douchebaginess, weed smoking, sex, sex, sex, idiotic behavior. I felt bad when people got killed. I felt a lot of tension when they wandered into dark places.

It was my favorite Friday since part 1.

I agree there were plot holes, but I can't name a Friday the 1th without one. This may have has the least.

In terms of the ending, I don't think that actually happened. I think we will find out in Part 2 that it is part of Whitney's dream and we will go on from there.

The most critical change from the dreck that was Texas Chainsaw Massacre is ... the Final Girl senses danger and the douchebags do not. In TCM, Jess Biel led them deeper and deeper into the trap, which made you hate her and blame her for the death of her friends.

I did of course, read the Stacie review before seeing it, so perhaps my expectations were lowered, but it is the most fun I've had at a slasher movie since Wolf Creek.

Final Girl devotees .. go and judge for thineselves.

timothy grant said...

And I still don't get the love that My Bloody Valentine gets. That was a craptacualar piece of crap. Not scary. Not funny. Not remotely believable.


Anonymous said...

Regarding your assessment that "what follows will probably be the most inconsequential review I've ever written":

This is only true if you mistake good film criticism for consumer recommendations. Your review is more entertaining than the film itself; that's not inconsequential.

Evol Kween said...

OMG, 71 comments so far!? The (somewhat annoying) guys on the Bloody-Disgusting podcast hated this remake for all the same reasons as you. Although, Gym Class Magazine liked it. Damn living in Australia, it doesn't hit our screens until March 13.

Anonymous said...

I just came back from watching this P.O.S. I agree that it's a waste. The young adults are worthless and unsympathetic. Maybe their behavior would have been amusing in the 70's and 80's but it wasn't funny this time. The blonde rich guy, he played a better character in Asylum. Heck, I'm sure America Olivo gives a better performance in Bitch Slap! [i]What were they all thinking?[/i]


Anonymous said...

I hate this movie on a lot of levels but don't these questions stand for Friday the 13th Part 2 as well?

If he didn't drown and he's been lost, wouldn't he run to his mother? How did he find her? If he didn't actually drown, why is Mama V killing everyone?

Besides that I did kind of like the new soundtrack, I just wish it was written for a different movie, you know one where the scares aren't so predictable that I actually saw the scenes playing out in my head before they happened?

Stacie Ponder said...

I think the only difference in the "Jason didn't drown" approach between this and Part 2 is that here, they show Jason watching his mom get killed- not so at the end of the original. I guess we could assume that he was off...I don't know, in search of berries or something and came across her body, sans head, later. She'd assumed he'd drowned, and they never found each other before it was too late.


I mean, it's all completely ridiculous when you think about it for more than 2 seconds! :D

deaner33 said...

Sorry so late to the party, but they have been showing this on the movie channels & my anger has bubbled over again. I was not a fan of the Chainsaw remake - all of the characters were too unpleasant & I was not happy to see Nispel attached to this one, but I was intrigued when the interviews said that the movie would be going in new directions & wouldn't be a remake. So I was at the theater opening day & got a huge disappointment. First of all, who knew that Crystal Lake was in Texas just down the road from the Sawyer clan? Also, the kills? Sucked. Case in point, the death of the water skier - bad CGI & unbelievable. What was worse was that it was not the original kill. I read an interview with Nispel or Bay or the writer or someone where the original was going to be that she saw him at the shore & he waited her out until she drowned. Now that would have been original, but I guess not XTREME enough so they changed it.
Anyway, love your site. Keep up the good work.