Friday the 13th (2009)

fridaythe13th.jpg picture by barbedheart
”Oh come on, that’s not fair. You know I can’t swim”

USA. Horror. 101 minutes. Directed by Marcus Nispel.

29 July 2009

When the credits rolled for the 2009 version of Friday the 13th I nodded my head with my eyebrows up. Who would have thought. At least two of the characters in the movie have a clear motivation that keeps, you won’t believe it, a plot going. Some stabile acting – none too advanced, yet none too horrid either – provide some character to the characters! Such a luxery! Now we actually know who gets killed. The confusion is minimal. You ask yourself: Was that the stupid girl getting killed? No, right, it was the second-to-stupidest girl. That’s the stupidest right there. Looks like she’s about to get it!

It ain’t much, you say? Well, it’s better than Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter and Part V: A New Beginning (whose mere titles reveal how good they are). As much as I’m some kind of fan of the Friday movies – The very entertaining Police Academy of the horror cinema – there is little doubt that the series is a pile of highly entertaining crap. They make the Halloween andNightmare on Elm Street series seem classy. Sean S. Cunningham’s first Friday film is pretty spooky. I’ve always liked that. Number two was not spectacular. Since then they have all been senseless, the next sequel topping the other in the art of repetitious and absurd ”stock sequelling”. This one was released as a ”remake” of Cunningham’s original movie. Well, in every possible prospect, it is not. None of the characters re-appear and the action takes place in present day. Jason wasn’t even in the first movie. He’s right here, of course. So this is more or less Friday the 13th part 12: Another New Beginning. Directed by Marcus Nispel, who did the 2003 version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, I couldn’t expect much (I am a fair critic, but that movie is one of the worst movies I have seen in my life and one of exceptionally few zero-star movies I’ve witnessed) but I guess that the slip-sloppery MTV-meets-gory FX style he used to take a dump all over Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece works a lot better in slasher land. As usual we are introduced to a Dawson Creek-ish setting with a bunch of clever, sun tanned kids are out around good old Camp Crystal Lake to get drunk and fool around in a summer house owned by one of the kids’ parents. This guy is a snob, obsessed with clenliness and totally obnoxious. Then there’s the smart, not-so smart and dumb girl and there’s also a black guy; and this is funny, as if done by Kevin Williamson, he states early on that he’s not your average dumbass negro in a horror movie. This the movie proudly picks up on, right before zooming in on our token asian guy, drinking beer from a shoe and clowning around before getting whacked. The main plot though is of a young male hero looking for his sister, who we believe have been killed in the 23 minute long (!) opening scene.

Friday the 13th part 12: Another New Beginning is really just another slasher movie. But it’s well made, the effects look good, the actors are totally fair enough, some of the killings are a little exciting. Jason is more like a grumpy lumberjack this time around, and somehow it has to be understood that he really is only doing what he thinks mom would want him to do. He’s not superhuman either, and for a while there, he actually comes off as something you could destroy once and for all. It’s really by far the best Friday movie since the original. But, herein lies a paradox. While this one is conventionally average and therefore, I guess, pretty meaningless, the other ones were absolute crapfests yet at times outrageously funny to watch. A movie likeFriday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives works as a comedy in far more satisfying ways than this movie works as a horror movie. Well, I guess this is no movie to get philosophical with. Can’t say it’s very memorable. Can’t say I wasn’t positively surprised with it.

Verdict: Approved.