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The ridiculous horror of Friday the 13th

BY JED MILLER | FEBRUARY 16, 2009 7:50 AM

** out of *****

Friday the 13th is a collection of ridiculousness. This movie seems to demand snark. During several moments, assorted whispers and giggles could be heard throughout the theater.

Let’s start with this: Apparently, Jason is a drug dealer. This sounds preposterous. Why give your business to a freak in a hockey mask, who might kill your naked sister, when you can buy from your reliable current weed distributor?

But this very ridiculous thesis becomes plausible in Friday the 13th. My supporting argument: A creepy old woman asserts that Jason just wants to be left alone. So this assumes that some in the town know about him, but he has chosen to not attack all of his neighbors. This also presumes that there is a live and let kill relationship between Jason and this phantom “town.”

The first casualty of Friday the 13th is a character who stumbles on a patch of marijuana growing in the woods around Crystal Lake. His apparent joy, along with his ear, is cut short by Jason’s machete. In fact, the only kill that isn’t directly related to the young people visiting Crystal Lake is when another man finds this patch and begins to sell the stolen goods. This causes him to be on the receiving end of Jason’s machete handshake.

Underneath the original installment’s infamous cabin, there is a large underground complex that Jason calls home. Since there is no mention of previous murder sprees, apparently, Jason has been keeping to himself. He’s also spent the last 29 years building said underground complex, and financing it with a little bit of the old homegrown.

This leads the viewer to ask, “What it was that suddenly upset Jason so much and caused him to go all murder happy?” And that’s the fundamental problem with Friday the 13th. The plot holes are so large and everything is so vague that no story is ever really told. It’s meet Jason — he’s crazy. The rest of the movie is a disjointed argument proving this obvious point.

The biggest flaw of Friday the 13th is the editing. Jason can be anywhere and everywhere at once. No matter where one runs, or how fast, Jason will be there. For example, Jason has just killed the token black guy. Next it’s a shot of everybody screaming. Next, Jason is ON THE ROOF! I’m assuming this is supposed to be scary, but that’s when I heard the random whispers and giggles again.

Watching Friday the 13th makes me appreciate Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween even more. The difference was one of approach. Zombie remade Halloween because of his love for the original. This remake of Friday the 13th though, doesn’t feel like it was made out of love. This remake was made out of a desire to cash in both on the recent success of horror remakes and director Marcus Nispel’s popularity after his 2003 rehash of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Friday the 13th feels like a potpourri of current tastes in horror. There are allusions to torture porn, superhuman villains (Jason is a combination of Leather face and Resident Evil’s Nemesis) and the return of gratuitous female nudity.

What Friday the 13th needed was to capture the tension that resulted in the crazed feelings of the first and second parts of the Jason saga. What we got instead was a lackluster reboot, one that makes me hope the new Jason won’t be around for another 12 movies.


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