Sunday, May 22, 2016

Friday the 13th (2009)

   Ready to run away from this movie screaming? All I need to do is say four words: produced... by... Michael... Bay! So, you'd think it'd be horrifying in all the wrong ways, right? Wrong! This is actually a damn fine Friday the 13th movie that isn't a remake at all so much as it is just a shot-in-the-arm for the franchise. One that sadly did little to jump start things again. Which is a same because this movie had all the right ingredients that fans want from these movies. It's a non-preachy, R rated, back to basics, no-CGI, you-have-sex-and-you-die, horror flick! Why did people bash this so much? It's exactly what they've been asking for. They fuckin' got it, and spat in it's face. Damn, man.

   Anyways, the cast is full of familiar faces, and that's cool. But, what's great is how they're perfectly cast to their obvious stereotypes. The lead jock-type guy walked on screen and I was saying how much he looked like a "Chad" or a "Tad", and then mere seconds later, his name is revealed to be Trent. How perfect is that? Meathead, jockish, rich daddy's boy type... Trent. It's perfect. He's the kind of two dimensional tool that franchise fans look forward to, because Jason's gonna get him something fierce. Then there's the hero, the damsel in distress, the heroine, the stoners, the slutty ones and that about rounds out your cast of characters!

   However, Jason himself has also been updated here. He fucking runs. Which is scary as hell. Seeing him break into that run was terrifying. He's also more fleshed out as a concept, which I think adds to his on-screen presence. Stuntman Derek Mears is fantastic behind the mask, infusing this iconic killer with subtle mannerisms and personality that's often absent from the lumbering death machine. The filmmakers put a lot of thought into not just Jason, and his behavior, but how he's been living in the woods around Crystal Lake all these years. He's become a force of nature in his survivalist efforts- hunting for food, and killing trespassers in 'his' territory.

   He has the area mapped out, and just like Jason himself, the movie has a few tricks up it's sleeve. It's a big ball of fun, steering clear from being too self-referential, or too tame. They really went all out with the kills for his movie. They're so damn brutal. This is probably the most hard-hitting and ruthless Jason I can recall ever seeing. The movie around him is atmospheric and well crafted, doling out nudity and gore in requisite amounts- as well as some timely humor. None of this detracts from the surprisingly raw feeling of dread that pops up whenever Jason's on screen. I'm telling you guys... this one is a good one.

   I do a bit of research about all the movies I watch before I write about them, and it was very apparent to me as I was reading up on it, that the filmmakers weren't just trying to make a quick buck. The rights to this movie were relentlessly pursued by guys who genuinely just wanted to make a good Friday the 13th movie. A lot of that passion and creativity did shine through and you can tell in the finished product. The movie is very respectful of the franchise behind it, but is also creative and updates it in little ways throughout.

   Genre fans with an open mind will probably eat this up, but the movie does little to appeal to newcomers to either the franchise or the genre. It's quite simply, a good Jason flick. Little else. It's full of low rent chills and thrills, but not shying away from cliche or a bit of self-awareness either. It's fun, for what it is. I also got the biggest kick out of seeing Supernatural star Jared Padalecki here, looking fully in-character, like he got lost inbetween sets and just ran with it. He probably has the best character in the movie, and was fun to watch. As is the whole thing, it's an enjoyable blood-n'-guts flick. What more could you want?

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