I think the Friday the 13th franchise ceased to be scary long ago. Some would say it was never really scary in the first place. No matter what side you take, the original remains a horror classic. But the debate over the scare factor doesn’t really matter anyway because being genuinely frightened isn’t the real reason fans will flock to the theaters for the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th. They’ll come expecting a rollicking wild ride, for the sheer fun of it -- the chance to scream, shout, and jump out of their seats watching in suspense as Jason slices, dices, skewers, and decapitates his helpless young victims. Fortunately, fans won’t be disappointed.
This 2009 incarnation is not a strict remake of the original. The idea is the same -- highly sexed college students vacation in the woods only to be picked off one-by-one by the maniacal Jason. After opening with a brief re-imagined scene of the original’s ending to establish history, director Marcus Nispal takes us forward to 2009, and depicts the tragic ventures into the woods of Camp Crystal Lake by two separate groups of college kids.
Friday the 13th starts off strong in its hackneyed way for the first 30 minutes or so but the remainder of the film doesn’t live up to its dubious “promise” even though it’s skillfully directed and filmed while maintaining a good pace. And the bodies do pile up rapidly enough to satisfy any gore fan. Give Nispal his due -- he does deliver a slick and well produced product.
What puzzles me, though, is why I enjoyed watching it, especially because I’m always lamenting the lack of inventiveness and organic scares in today’s horror films. Original it is not. Cliché ridden it is. I certainly won’t be rhapsodizing about it. But in this case I put my prejudices aside; there are times when a “wild ride” experienced with a young, pumped-up crowd (as my crowd was) is more fun -- though less satisfying -- than watching artfully realized film.
(Released by Warner Bros. Pictures and rated “R” for strong, bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, language and drug material.)
Review also posted at www.moviebuffs.com.