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REVIEW: FRIDAY THE 13TH [2009]

Posted in movie review by YTAH on March 12, 2009
Tags: ,

[4 out of 10.]

From the same team who brought you the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre comes the 12th, rather pedestrian installment of the Jason franchise. For anyone who hasn’t seen the original film, a belated spoiler warning – albeit one that should have come from the filmmakers themselves. The new remake/reboot begins with a tedious prologue that gives away the ending of the original film, so if you never got around to watching it and you want to leave that option open, you should perhaps show up 5 minutes late.

Not that anything in this film would make you want to watch another one, except perhaps to wash the distaste out of your mouth. The film starts with a group of college kids on a trip into the forest to find a weed plantation of camping trips past. Being a Jason film, they set up camp near Crystal Lake and in so doing disturb the peace-loving ways of Jason, he of the hockey mask and machete, so don’t get too attached to them.

That won’t be difficult. Predictably, the characters are as memorable as a burp. Asking anyone to care about these kids would be like asking Ghandi to drive over Mother Theresa and the entire cast of Slumdog Millionaire in a large truck. That said, asking anyone to care about the characters in a teen slasher film is like asking diners to bond with their veal before it’s killed. Aaron Yoo makes the best of one good line, but there isn’t much for the rest to go on; mostly it’s a bunch of bland white kids getting offed by an inhuman killing machine. Hooray for progress.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers soon run into what could be called “the Superman problem”. Once you realize that Jason is immortal and that the kids are all going to die, the only way to keep up any kind of tension is by using jumpy, person-suddenly-appears-in-frame scares. While these can be effective, they soon get rather tiresome if they’re the only thing on offer. A better storyteller would be able to wring some tension out of the flimsy premise by getting us to care about the characters who are in peril. Alas, there is no bonding of any kind in this film, apart from a few sub-par sex scenes featuring people who are much too good-looking to be real boys or girls.

Reactionary moralizing is par for the course in this genre, as is gratuitous violence and nudity, but since it’s a Michael Bay production, the message is a bit muddled. (Suffice to say that drugs are bad, mmmkay.)

The film starts slowly and there’s a lull in the middle, but for the most part the killings come quickly and without much fuss. Disappointingly, each death is about as memorable as the character involved, and the horror enthusiast I saw the film with lamented the total absence of novelty deaths. The final confrontation has all the suspense of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, minus the wit and audacity.That said, the target audience for this kind of film will probably settle for the various, pointless tit shots and the splatter, but I felt violated by this film’s stupidity and lack of imagination.

Fail.

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