Welcome to Crystal Lake.
Travis Van Winkle
Running Time: 97 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18
Country: United States
Horror fan that I am, I had inexplicably never seen the original 1980 version of Friday the 13th or any of its subsequent Goes to Hell, vs. Freddy, or Takes Manhattan sequels. Finally, last week, I saw both the movie that started it all and Part 2, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for what it was the filmmakers accomplished (Ive heard that most of the remaining sequels can be missed, but well see). Anyway, with my newfound affection for the legend of Jason, I eyed this 2009 re-imagining (or whatever) suspiciously (especially after that thing I hate called a Halloween remake by Rob Zombie), but noI liked it. I really liked it.
After a brief reminder of what happened way back in the day with Jasons devoted mama and a machete, we meet a group of slasher fodder looking for some weed right around Camp Crystal Lake, and things dont go so well for them. About six weeks later, rich boy Trent (Travis Van Winkle) and his group of partying friends show up at his rich boy summer getaway spot for drinking and drugging and sexing and boatingand, of course, bleeding and dying. Add to the mix some guy named Clay (Jared Padalecki) whos looking for his missing sister (Amanda Righetti), and what weve got is a whole new set of kids for Jason (Derek Mears) to maim and murder.
The thing that struck me when I finally saw the 1980 Friday the 13th was that even if weve seen the formula of pretty teens plus the woods equals bloody death a million times since, that just hadnt really happened before; nobody knew the horror movie rules, nobody feared hockey masks. It didnt seem to me that anything new could be added to what could be seen as a much-too-prolific canon, and in some ways I was right. This new Jason-fest doesnt try to give Jason more depth or more family angsthes still just mad that someone whacked off his moms head and hes taking it out on anyone who wanders by. As far as slash-and-dash horror goes, though, this twelfth Friday the 13th is actually well-acted (Padalecki especially, though Van Winkle offers much in the way of snobby jack-assery) and has a surprising amount of character development for a genre usually more concerned with body count. Theres some funny stuff, some genuine scares, and some very inventive kills. I was even caught off guard by a twist or two. One complaintthey couldve done without the re-do of the originals climactic mom death, because THAT was a classic that shouldve been left alone. Other than that, though, Jason and Co. offer exactly what were there to see.
It's Got: Some good characters and better-than-usual acting, a well-performed Jason, some fun kills.
It Needs: To either lose the re-made opening or just use the original.
If youre going to watch this movie, you know what youre in for, but the latest arrival in the franchise that started it all is surprisingly solid and offers some scares.