Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti
Directed by: Marcus Nispel (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” 2003 remake)
Written by: Damien Shannon (“Freddy Vs. Jason”) and Mark Swift (“Freddy Vs. Jason”)
If you hadn’t gotten enough of Jason Voorhees in the last three decades (11 films since 1980), the masked serial killer with mommy issues returns to mince up more pretty teenagers again in “Friday the 13th,” a reimagining of the horror franchise.
The movie isn’t necessarily a remake of the original film since it borrows plot points from a few of the sequels, and none of the characters (other than Jason and his psycho mother) are revisited. On the other hand, how much significance does a secondary character have in a “Friday the 13th” movie anyway? Other than Kevin Bacon and maybe Crispin Glover, can you remember any of the other victims from any of the other films?
It’s no different in the 2009 version. The forgettable kids come by the dozen and Jason doesn’t waste time before slicing heads open with his machete and tossing an ax through someone’s spinal column. It’s gruesome, but still as cliché and unoriginal as they come.
In the updated “Friday the 13th,” which doesn’t do anything remotely modern to distinguish it from its predecessors (other than putting cell phones in the kids’ hands and having them declare there’s no reception when they get to their cabin), a group of kids go to Camp Crystal Lake in search of a secret stash of marijuana supposedly growing somewhere in the woods. Yes, screenwriters Damien Shannon and Mark Swift somehow find a way to incorporate drugs into a cocktail of sex, alcohol, murder and expletives, but the stoner story is just so preposterous from the start.
Jared Padalecki of the TV shows “Supernatural” and “The Gilmore Girls,” plays Clay Miller, the brother of one of Jason’s first victims, who goes searching for his sister after the police close the case. Clay ends up hook up with a diverse group of young partiers (among the troupe of tramps there’s a pot-smoking Asian and a black rapper, both of whom act as the stereotypical comic relief). Conflict arises when one of the girls (Danielle Panabaker) in the cabin takes a liking to Clay despite her boyfriend’s objection to her friendliness.
Soon enough, Jason finds his way to the sitting ducks and does what he does best. It’s difficult to see some of the action since director Marcus Nispel (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) chooses to use a handheld camera in portions of the killing sequences. For you bloodlusters, there should be ample flesh flying apart.
Still, “Friday the 13th” comes off stiffer than one of Jason’s bloated corpses. Sure, the kids have to be bludgeoned in the film, but did they actually have to open their mouths and deliver such terrible dialogue? Producer Michael Bay is bound to make a quick buck at the box office, but he’s one of the many Hollywood heads out there turning the American horror genre into a stomping ground for the talentless.