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Friday the 13th (2009)

Welcome to Crystal Lake.

Directed by:

Marcus Nispel

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 97 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

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 (I’ve heard that most of the remaining sequels can be missed, but we’ll 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 no—I liked it. I really liked it.

After a brief reminder of what happened way back in the day with Jason’s devoted mama and a machete, we meet a group of slasher fodder looking for some weed right around Camp Crystal Lake, and things don’t 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 boating—and, of course, bleeding and dying. Add to the mix some guy named Clay (Jared Padalecki) who’s looking for his missing sister (Amanda Righetti), and what we’ve 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 we’ve seen the formula of pretty teens plus the woods equals bloody death a million times since, that just hadn’t really happened before; nobody knew the horror movie rules, nobody feared hockey masks. It didn’t 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 doesn’t try to give Jason more depth or more family angst—he’s still just mad that someone whacked off his mom’s head and he’s 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. There’s some funny stuff, some genuine scares, and some very inventive kills. I was even caught off guard by a twist or two. One complaint—they could’ve done without the re-do of the original’s climactic mom death, because THAT was a classic that should’ve been left alone. Other than that, though, Jason and Co. offer exactly what we’re 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.


Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th II, Sleepaway Camp


If you’re going to watch this movie, you know what you’re in for, but the latest arrival in the franchise that started it all is surprisingly solid and offers some scares.

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