In terms of highly marketable horror movie franchises, few titles have ever amassed quite the global fan base that the Friday the 13th series enjoys. The iconic Jason Voorhees, camper slaughtering machine that he is, certainly has gathered a few fans in his hockey mask and tattered coat. His efficiency with a machete is probably more renowned than even the best jungle explorers and yet, whenever a horror franchise that ruled the 80’s attempts to resurrect itself there are bound to be critics – especially if that series is being reinvented ala Rob Zombie’s Halloween.
Since you probably already know the back story, we’ll glaze over that by saying that young Jason was witness to his mother’s beheading by a counselor at Camp Crystal Lake on June 13, 1980. To be fair, Mrs. Voorhees had been on a murder spree prior to the beheading so her death, though scarring to young Jason, was probably better for the world as a whole. Now, 30 years later Jason is back with a vengeance and questing for blood shed by his own blade.
Of course, in the tradition of teen-targeted scream flicks, Jason must hunt down and decimate kids that are a little shady themselves, primarily engaged in a hunt for marijuana plants and of course, having a lot of kinky sex. However, this time Jason saves one of the girls. By ‘save’ we mean does not kill her and instead drags her back to his tunnel because she looks similar to his own mother at a young age. This adds a bit of dimension to the killer who traditionally is rather one dimensional in his portrayal, even as far as big screen slash addicts go.
One of the more entertaining figures in this film is the much lauded character Chewie (played by Aaron Yoo), a pot smoking young Asian man who serves possibly the most sympathetic role in the movie. None of the characters particularly engender themselves to much empathy, but that’s typical for not only this film but the slasher genre in general. It’s horror survival, but in the end it’s about the body count because the audience will tend to root more for Jason than any of the on screen ‘victims’ who tend to be portrayed by filmmakers as those who more or less had it coming to them for their behavior throughout the movie.
In this reviewer’s opinion, Marcus Nispel did a reasonably solid job of remaking the Friday the 13th franchise and the box office bears out that theory, making this film the biggest opener out of any of the Jason-centered films. It’s not going to rock the world, but it delivers what you expect when you go to see any of these films. There’s plenty of nudity, screaming and fake blood to go with the eerie lurking giant in his trademark mask. It’s got the campy humor to go with the campout feel and you get the little jumps and jolts you want when you watch this movie with friends, the way it’s meant to be viewed. All in all, this Friday the 13th might not fuel a brand new following of teens, but it will come close to satisfying those who want a taste of the old 80s concept redone with modern glitz. You really can’t ask for more than that.
Except maybe the inevitable sequel.