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Review

‘Friday the 13th’ relies on original plot, falls short of inventiveness

José Cruz Jr.

February 19, 2009

Warning: The following review contains spoilers about the original three “Friday the 13th” films.

Ah, the remake. As Hollywood continues to get more and more unoriginal, a smorgasbord of remakes seems to be constantly in the works. This is especially true when it comes to the horror genre. However, if done with enough originality and creativity, a remake can be successfully pulled off (“Scarface,” arguably Rob Zombie’s “Halloween,” for example). But 2009’s rendition of “Friday the 13th” is not such a success in reinvention.

Approximately 30 years after Ms. Voorhees psychotic episode (see: “Friday the 13th” [1980]), Whitney (Amanda Righetti) and her friends come to a boarded up Camp Crystal Lake to harvest a hidden crop of marijuana. Soon, they encounter psycho-killer Jason Voorhees with fatal results. In true rinse and repeat fashion, another group of college kids take a trip six weeks later to a cabin nearby Crystal Lake, and meet Whitney’s brother, Clay (Jared Padalecki), who has been searching for her. As they indulge in sex, booze and weed, Jason picks them off one by one, as well as some local folk.

This reboot gets off to a decent start. There are flashbacks to when Jason’s mother is killed, and then 30 years later, he is setting a woman in a sleeping bag on fire. It is classic Jason Voorhees, but with a more contemporary and stylish feel.

But that becomes it downfall, as is it really nothing new. This installment is basically the SparkNotes for the original three films in the “Friday the 13th” series. It has all the same elements (nudity, gore, intoxication), while paying homage to the earlier film (he goes from the potato sack to the hockey mask).

As for my fellow gorehounds, I think this will turn out to be a lackluster experience. The original film was well known for its creative kills and gore effects. But this time around, it is mostly all stuff we have seen before. Sure, a few of the murders are interesting enough, but nothing to call your friends about after the screening. 

There is at least something a bit absurd in every other scene. For example, Jason will be killing a victim one second, and then it appears he has jumped onto the roof the next. Whether it is continuity error on the director’s part or we’re expected to suspend our disbelief is anybody’s guess. 

Again, I am not against remakes. If a screenwriter feels he can retell an old story while bringing new ideas to the table; I say mazal tov. But why do the same thing over again, as is the case with “Friday the 13th?”  Hopefully the people behind the remake of “Nightmare on Elm Street” will take some notes. 

2 out of 5 stars

José Cruz Jr. is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

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