Friday The 13th (2009)
By: J.R. McNamara on July 24, 2009  | 
Paramount (Australia). Region 2 & 4, PAL. 2.40:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English, English (FHI), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish Subtitles. 101 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Marcus Nispel
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Derek Mears, Amanda Righetti
Screenplay: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Country: USA
External Links
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My oldest friend in the world is probably Jason Voorhees. Ironically I was first introduced to Jason in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, but by the end of my first viewing, I had to go out and see every Friday movie on good ol' VHS. Over the next two I weeks I saw all of them that were available to that point (one through four obviously) and fell totally in love with the Voorhees family. The Friday the 13th movies are certainly not 'high' horror films by any means; there is no real mystery to solve, or intelligent reason for the horror to happen. No, Friday the 13th films have a simple formula: take some teens, get their clothes off, get them drunk or stoned and then have Jason kill them. This is a formula that Victor Miller, the screenwriter of the original Friday the 13th 'borrowed' from Halloween, and has basically been used for every Friday the 13th since.
Now it was only a matter of time before someone decided to remake Friday the 13th, especially when you consider other films deemed unremake-able, like Halloween, Dawn of the Dead and The Wicker Man had already re-been done, and sure enough, remake machine Platinum Dunes did the job, with the director of their previous success The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Marcus Nispel at the helm.
The remake of Friday the 13th is an interesting creature. Jason Voorhees was a character that has many facets: is he a child, a mutated killing machine, a re-animated zombie, a disembodied heart or an ambulance driver? Or is he all of them? Or is he something new? This was the problem faced by Nispel, and screen writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. Thankfully, they decided to dump the supernatuural aspects of the character, and make him a kick arse killer, who instead of acting  just like an unstoppable, mindless slasher, actually has some elements of crazy survivalist as well, who has some abilities that relate to his environment. I mean, this guy lives at an abandoned Summer Camp, why wouldn't he have some archery skills?
As for the story, it is like a remix of the writer's favourite bits from several of the movies. The film starts in 1980, where we see Pamela Voorhees (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Nana Visitor) challenging a young camp councillor by the lake, accusing her of being responsible for the death of her child, Jason, to which the girl reciprocates by slicing off her head.
What neither of them seem to realise is that, in the ultimate confusing bit... much like the space between the first and second Fridays, a young Jason (Caleb Guss) has witnessed the whole thing. He picks up the machete used to decapitate his mother, and the scene dissolves to twenty years in the future.
Today, five friends Mike (Nick Mennell), Wade (Jonathon Sadowski), Ritchie (Ben Feldman), Amanda (America Olivo) and Whitney (Amanda Righetti) venture into the woods for a camping trip, not just for a holiday, but also to try and find a hidden crop of marijuana. Sure enough, after a few beers and some sex, good ol' Jason (The Hills Have Eyes II's Derek Mears) turns up to execute his deadly intentions, killing all of them... or does he?
Six weeks later, Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki), brother of Whitney, is still searching for his missing sister. His search has been fairly consistent in and around the town of Camp Crystal Lake. He meets up with a group of totally dislikeable college types, Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), Trent (Travis Van Winkle), Chewie (Disturbia's Aaron Yoo), Bree (Julianna Guill), Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta), Nolan (Veronica Mars' Ryan Hansen) and Chelsea (Willa Ford) who are up in the woods to smoke weed, get drunk and have sex. As expected Jason turns up again to protect his turf, but what is he hiding in the old mines that run underneath the entire Camp and forest?
Straight off the bat, fans of the Friday series will see so many homages to the original series that you could almost have a decent drinking game celebrating every nod.
Nispel's directorial style is apparent here, and along with cinematographer Daniel Pearl, with whom he worked with on the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, they have made Crystal Lake look as lush as Texas did dry. Together they are able to make a scene look desolate and empty, though Pearl seems to have bought some of his use of darkness, which was overused in Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem, and like that film, detracts attention from the action and makes some of the scenes difficult to focus on.
All is not bad here though, as some elements are pretty good. Firstly, the sex scenes are H. O. T. and the girls in them are gorgeous, and these sex scenes aren't polite thrusts and grunts like Kevin Bacon and Jeannine Taylor's missionary love-making in the original, they are scenes of people just wanting to get IT ON!!!! I also have to add that I liked Derek Mears' portrayal of Jason. Rather than being an Olympic level competitor in the walk, Jason is fast running and nimble, not to mention strong, Trent's death is a tribute to that fact. The script also has some points of subtle comedy genius: the token black character's umbrage at being stereotyped being a particular highlight.
This movie is presented in widescreen 2.40:1 and is mainly a decent picture...until it gets dark. I don't think this is a fault of the DVD transfer, but more the filmmaking itself. Occasionally some of the darker scenes have an odd ghosting to the image, but at least it is free from any film artefacts.
This film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds fantastic. The score itself is pretty good, and I have to admit to a small swell of excitement when I heard the 'K K K Ma Ma Ma', which thankfully isn't overused.
Extra Features
A decent set of extras on this DVD.
The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees: This extra discusses the why's of rebooting the Friday series, with interviews with filmmakers and actors.
Hacking Back/ Slashing Forward has those from above talking about their experiences with the Friday the 13th series prior to them getting roles on the remake.
7 Best Kills breaks down the 7 best kills of the film into their elements: acting, special effects etc.
Alternate Scenes simply is just that, a few different versions of a few scenes, including a different 'hockey mask acquisition' scene.
The initial release of this DVD comes with a reversible cover. Whether this is included with future releases remains to be seen.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Now I am not against remakes at all; in actual fact, I have enjoyed more than I have despised, and if there was ever a series that was in desperate need of a reboot, it was Friday the 13th (the last one had Jason in space as a cyborg, what was next, under water as a werewolf?!?) but I just don't think this was it. A great Jason, some nice kills and some great sex scenes unfortunately are balanced off with some totally unlikable jerks as the potential victims and some substandard shot scenes that were far too murky. The thing is though, like even the worst of the original films, I'll no doubt revisit this film time after time.

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