Thursday, October 29, 2009
Friday the 13th
I am of the opinion that this movie was treated unfairly by critics and fans alike. I won’t disagree with anyone who dismisses the 12th Jason movie as “unimaginative” but to brand it “lazy” is to miss the point entirely. (And honestly, which Friday the 13th installment isn’t unimaginative?) If you look a little closer I think you’ll find that this (misleadingly dubbed) “reboot” is in fact a carefully crafted attempt to identify and recreate everything that was once held dear about the “good” sequels, which most agree are parts 3, 4 & 6. I’m willing to argue with anyone who will listen that this goal was achieved and that Friday the 13th (2009) is every bit as good (and bad) as the above mentioned classics.
So what did everyone find so damn appealing about this franchise in the first place? Simple – people flocked to the theaters to see horny, disposable teenagers get machetes in the face. No relentless torture, just a few cheap thrills to make your best gal squeeze your hand while you stuff your face with salty, buttery hot popcorn. Jason’s not interested in hearing his victims scream for hours, he just wants everybody dead. The audience is always guaranteed a few likeable characters we hope will escape (including the comedy relief guy who never, ever does), as well as a few jerks that we can’t wait to see die. In my Frontier(s) review I discussed the extreme dislike for the villains. In the 80’s slasher movies the opposite is often true. The victims are the ones we despise and their deaths are met with cheers.
This is where the reboot truly shines. Meet Trent:
He’s the embodiment of everything I've ever hated about anyone or anything. It’s his parents’ cabin so you have to play by his rules and in case you forget it he’ll remind you again in 5 minutes. Trent is an insufferable, entitled, annoyingly good looking preppy boy fu*kface shit stain whom I could not WAIT for Jason to get his murderous hands on. Like it or not, the entire movie hinges on his obnoxious shoulders.
Aside from Trent, all of the other familiar F13th staples are in place. There’s plenty of titillating nudity to satisfy the pervs. The comic relief reigns are handed to a lovable Chinese goofball named Chewie. (Before Jason gives him the business, Chewie tries to hand him a hockey stick to complete his outfit.) And the hero and heroine are both acceptable if somewhat generic. Finally, the deaths aren’t particularly innovative but they’re decent enough.
Back to that unbearable sonovabitch Trent. By far the most disturbing couple of minutes of the film is Trent’s sex scene. While he’s unjustly getting some, I was wishing with all my heart that Jason would appear to lampoon them both with a spear the way he did in Part 2 (or was it 3? Doesn’t matter. He doesn’t.) One of the other girls bangs on the bedroom door screaming that there’s a killer on the loose. At this point I was pleased that his coitus was interruptus.* Sadly, Trent tells her to piss off, finishes the job, and the audience is forced to endure the smug post-orgasmic look of bliss on his face. I can’t prove it, but I’m fairly certain that this scene was included for the sole purpose of pissing me off. AAARRRGGGHH!!!
Now if you’ll excuse me, ahma get me some salty buttery hot popcorn.
*brilliantly coined by Handsome Stan