Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th just had the biggest gross for a slasher film opening…in history! That’s right, Jared’s movie is a record breaker. I, for one, think he had something to do with this feat, because, really, the hockey-masked killer has been going downhill ever since part eight, Jason Takes Manhattan. And although some fun was had with Freddy vs. Jason and Jason X (aka Jason in space) the second best thing about this new Friday the 13th is that the creators got back to the basics.

For those of you unfamiliar with the 1980 original, Jason wasn’t actually the killer. Mrs. Voorhees, deliciously played by the toothy Betsy Palmer, was taking her revenge on camp counselors because she felt their negligence was responsible for her son’s drowning death. In truth, Jason didn’t start killing until part deux and, believe it or not, he officially donned the red-marked hockey mask in part three. What this updated version of the franchise--called a “reboot” by producers--did best was condense the mythology of the first three films and bring this new starter up to wham-bam modern standards while still paying tribute to its history and diligent fans. In actuality, this is number TWELVE in the Voorhees filmography. However, storywise it’s starting a new chapter, and if the current box office boom is any indication, the series not only has fresh blood, but a long future of slasher success.

As reviews go, I’ll keep it simple. Friday the 13th 2009 follows every slasher film’s formula of sex, drugs, drinking, breasts and blood. The story opens with a quick black and white recap. It’s June 13, 1980 and Mama Voorhees is in a life or death battle with the lone surviving counselor at Camp Crystal Lake, but she loses her head (literally) and Jason (Derek Mears) is none too pleased. Twenty-some years later, five backpackers are hiking through the Crystal Lake area looking for a treasure trove of pot plants. Among the young and the restless is Whitney Miller (Amanda Righetti), a woman who feels guilty for leaving her cancer stricken mother for a short weekend away with her boyfriend. Amidst laughter and lewdness the group is quickly and brutally dispatched by a killer sporting a sac mask. “And that’s just the intro” one moviegoer gasped.

Six weeks later, Clay Miller (our boy Jared) shows up in town looking shaggy and sexy, with some serious sideburns. He’s there to find his missing sister Whitney. They’ve been on the outs for years, but when she didn’t show up for their mom’s funeral he knew something was gravely wrong. Conscience-stricken for leaving his family when he was seventeen, Clay wants desperately to discover what happened to his kid sister, but a local tells him she’s most likely dead. People don’t disappear, they die. During his search, Clay crosses paths with a group of young adults who’ve arrived in Crystal Lake to party hardy. Rich bitch Travis (Travis Van Winkle) is showing off his daddy’s cabin and his “friends” are all too happy to lap up the luxury, but girlfriend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) is quickly seeing him for the douche he really is. One-by-one they all start dying--many of the deaths reminiscent of the first three films--and Jenna and Clay fight to survive. I’ll not detail the body count or spoil who lives and dies, but I will say this…biggest fright…Jared’s gorgeous face…wood chipper blades.

Now that I’ve left you with that haunting thought, let me just say I know critics are harshing on this reimagining, but I personally enjoyed it. I found it humorous, creative, scary and I especially liked that it gave homage to its predecessors. My only criticism is that the tension didn’t really build to squirm-in-your-seat intensity, opening withstanding, and they didn’t utilize the classic ki-ki-ki- ma-ma-ma soundtrack well enough.

Obviously, my favorite thing was Jared. In addition to being ridiculously easy on the eyes, his acting experience on Supernatural made him seem much more credible, he elevated the cast and he was a strong adversary for Jason. Had Jared been wimpy or whiny I would’ve taken serious issue, but the powers-that-be were smart enough to recognize and utilize his heroism. I happily look forward to watching him as the leading man in other films because I think the success of Friday the 13th will give him more opportunities.


16 comments:

MJFredrick said...

I came thisclose to seeing it on Valentine's Day, realized that wasn't really nice to take my husband to a Jared movie, though....I still want to see it.

On a scale of one to 10, how gross was it? More gross than My Bloody Valentine?

Tanya Michaels said...

Terri, your review ALMOST made me want to see it. But then I realized I must be confusing myself with some non-wuss and came to my senses... Still, I'm happy to see either of them have box office success since I hope it leads to even bigger things--especially if (gulp) we only have another year of SPN left!

Tanya, whose love for the Boys is apparently not bigger than her lifelong squeamishness

TerriClark said...

I haven't seen Valentine yet so I can't compare, but on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd say 13th's gore was a 7. It cut away from a lot of the kills and you saw the after affect. Some of the hits were direct, but none was over the top at all. I think only three of the kills were bloody and not excessively. I so appreciate that!

Lots more nudity and sex than I expected though.

phouse1964 said...

MJ, I saw both F13 and MBV and thought F13 was way grosser and way more scary! I don't know if it was because I read so much more abotu MBV (being a Jensen girl) than I did about F13 but take a coat to cover your eyes!

Not to say I didn't enjoy Jared's movie because I did. I am not a horror movie gal AT ALL and I enjoyed it. I am sure part of it was that it was a Jared movie and he looked great! I will admit to having my coat over my face quite a bit and it was harder to tell when the gross stuff was coming that it was for MBV.

I am just happy I did the boys a service and am done with horror for awile!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I skipped over the recap part of the review, because I'm going to see it tomorrow and didn't want to be too spoiled! But your comments support my expectations, based on the trailers I've seen.

I hope the box office success leads to better roles for Jared, but I believe historically speaking, horror movies are divorced from their cast. No one in Hollywood will be saying, "Jared totally carried this movie!" They'll believe it rode on nostalgia and title.

I'll be delighted to be proven wrong, though! :)

Aside: I picked up Ten Inch Hero at my local Blockbuster today! *squeeee*

TerriClark said...

LOL! Historically speaking you disagree with most things I say. LOLOLOL!

phouse1964 said...

@Natalie, have you seen Ten Inch Hero yet? Did you get to buy it or only rent?

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Historically speaking you disagree with most things I say.

*is shocked* Do I really? That's embarrassing. You LOL, but I know how annoying it is. I lose friends that way! :( I'll try to be better.

Phouse, I probably won't get to watch it until tomorrow or Thursday. It's just a rental. The guy offered to preorder it for me, but I need some more info on that, like when I can actually get it (he said they usually come within two weeks, but that's not a preorder, then) and I forgot to ask how much it was.

MJFredrick said...

Good to know about 13th being bloodier and harder to predict when the gore will happen. Some of the kids in my class saw it, can you believe it? I teach 4th grade!

Natalie, I LOVED 10 Inch Hero. Would have loved it without Jensen, but am glad he was in it or I wouldn't have known about it.

phouse1964 said...

MJ, there was a toddler in the theater when I saw it Friday night. I was horrified!

MJFredrick said...

A TODDLER????? Yeesh, that's ridiculous. My friend took her 4 year old to see Coraline and THAT movie disturbed him! Can you imagine that movie???

TerriClark said...

Nat, it's seriously no biggie. I love your opinions. You're a smart cookie.

TerriClark said...

I used to work as a movie critic and I would get seriously bent out of shape when I had to review horror movies because parents would bring their toddlers. I reviewed the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a parent got upset when their four year old cried. My husband had to stop me from reaming the parents. (sigh)

TerriClark said...

I definitely think 13th was harder to predict for a couple reasons. 1) some of the kills cut away and some didn't so you weren't sure what you were going to see and 2) in the original you KNEW when something was going to happen because they used that theme song like a warning and they didn't in this one.

However, IMO many of the kills were tame. Lots of stabbings. Quick, bloodless, or maybe some blood, but nothing too extreme.

I am still haunted by the jaw scene in Mirrors. That to me is extreme. I felt sick to my stomach. I think the squirmiest I felt in 13th was when someone got their leg caught in a trap and when Chewie got "screwed."

TerriClark said...

P.S. - Can not wait to see Ten Inch Hero. My hubby keeps commenting on the "dirty" title. LOL.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Natalie, I LOVED 10 Inch Hero. Would have loved it without Jensen, but am glad he was in it or I wouldn't have known about it.

Same here!

MJ, there was a toddler in the theater when I saw it Friday night. I was horrified!

There was a little kid at MBV3D, too, about 5 years old, maybe. I hate that with a passion. I wish I had the guts to yell at people.

Nat, it's seriously no biggie. I love your opinions. You're a smart cookie.

Okay, phew. Thank you! (I guess I'll start agreeing with you on the next post, since it would look bad to start now. LOL)

Can not wait to see Ten Inch Hero. My hubby keeps commenting on the "dirty" title. LOL.

Hee!