In 1980 the face of horror movies changed with Friday the 13th. We were introduced to Camp Crystal Lake and a killer named Jason Voorhees (yes, I know that Jason’s mother was the killer in the original… stick with me). From 1980 to 2003, we were given 11 sequels that took Jason from Crystal Lake to deep space, New York City and even to Hell. After nearly 30 years it was time for this franchise to get rebooted… apparently.
Horror movies have never been about plot so I won’t bore you with details other than to say that this is theoretically re-telling the first four Friday the 13th films. There are some obvious differences from the originals.
For example, the original film takes place during the opening credits of this version and Jason witnesses his mother’s death. From there we follow Clay as he’s attempting to locate his sister Whitney who’s been “missing” for 6 weeks after a camping trip to Crystal Lake.
If you ask me there’s no need for this to be a reboot – it could have just as easily been a sequel and I would have been happy. Other than the fact that Michael Bay produced this one there’s not a single big name in the cast or crew. That’s actually a good thing though as I hate seeing a horror movie with someone I know in it.
Aside from the loose plot similarities and the fact that Jason wears a hockey mask this really isn’t a Friday the 13th movie. Part of what made Jason so scary is that he was methodical and plodding. He really did stalk his prey and just waited for them to trip and fall. In this incarnation he’s anything but plodding… he’s quick, fast and ready for action.
He’s also (apparently) a great archer which leads to a great kill. Speaking of kills, there are some great ones here. The bow and arrow head shot from out of nowhere, a teen being cooked in a sleeping bag (post-coitus of course) and a very inventive screwdriver to the throat really speak to the “slasher” genre. I saw the “Killer Cut” so I’m not sure what was in the theater version but there are a few in there that are really brutal. If I wasn’t constantly comparing this to the originals I would have been very entertained.
Friday the 13th (2009) Recommendation
If you’re a fan of horror flicks you should definitely check this one out. If you’re a Friday the 13th purist (cause there are so many of us out there) you may be a bit let down. For my money the original is one of the best horror flicks out there (with Halloween being a close second) and I just don’t believe that it needed to be retold. That said, I’m REALLY interested to see what the next movie brings us… it will be the 13th installment. Time will tell!