Film: Friday the 13th
Director: Marcus Nispel
Producers: Michael Bay,
Andrew Form, Brad Fuller
Writers: Damian Shannon,
Starring: Derek Mears, Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti
Runtime: 97 minutes
When walking into a horror film there are many expectations that should be met. Creative kills, gore, nudity and drug use are only a few of them. What shouldn’t be among that list is boredom, which there’s a fair amount of in the remake of “Friday the 13th.”
Anyone familiar with the “Friday the 13th” franchise knows that a true-to-form remake of the original would not include Jason. This slight problem is solved by simply giving audiences a new take on the climax of the original during the opening credits. After that brief piece of exposition, the film moves to present day Camp Crystal Lake, where a gang of handsome and beautiful teens are in search of a rumored stash of marijuana plants. Their search goes up in smoke as Jason (Mears) dispatches of them one by one. Six weeks later, a new gang of teens are on their way to a friend’s cabin. Along the way they run into Clay Miller (Padalecki) who is looking for his sister, Whitney (Righetti) who went missing six weeks ago with the original group of teens. Anyone can guess what happens next.
While no one going to see “Friday” is expecting exceptional acting, it’s really not quite bad here. It would be safe to say the cast is better than any other “Friday” film. The strongest performers are definitely Righetti and Padalecki. The latter is no stranger to horror films, having starred in “House of Wax.” Righetti portrays her character with a nice bit of frenzy. The rest of the cast does fine in their respective roles. Travis Van Winkle plays Trent, the bastard of the group, and is able to get the audience to hate him quite a bit.
The script presents us with characters that we’ve all seen before: the pot smoker, the black guy, they’re all here. If you’ve ever seen a “Friday” film you’ve seen these characters. While the premise of the story works somewhat well, the film would have benefitted from a more emotional angle. This could’ve been done by having the camp actually open up again and have kids present, perhaps even killing off a few.
“Friday” was supposed to be the second-coming of the franchise. Director Marcus Nispel proved he was capable of this with his surprisingly good remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” but the dark, gritty and brooding “Friday” that fans were hoping for was just a dream that would ultimately be unrealized. What separates the remake from the originals is a weak back-story, such as the story of how Jason can travel so quickly between places. Revealing a logical side in Jason’s actions makes him less of a monster and more of a simple madman, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The gore, the single reason to see this film, leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the death scenes are completely uninspired and are no different from what we would see in the earlier “Friday” films. In all fairness, though, we’re a generation used to seeing the absolute most when it comes to gore. Even the climax of the film appears to borrow from an earlier “Friday.” While Jason was supposed to be portrayed as a mere human, the final scene, as predicted, still claims that Jason is superhuman. Fans of gratuitous nudity will definitely enjoy the film as there is a fair amount of it, but if the nudity was taken out, this film could’ve been rated PG-13.
Most everything about the film is bland. If “Friday” wants to become more than just another series of sequels it needs to up the gore ante and be more risky in its choice of victims. After seeing the amount of money “Friday” made this weekend, it would not be at all surprising if a sequel is green lit by the end of the week, if not sooner. Yet no matter how bad these films are, it appears no one can stay away from them, and neither can I.