Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Friday The 13th Remake Is .....

Pretty kickass! As far as a Friday the 13th flick goes, it's a hell of a solid entry and it's definetly far and away the best Voorhees outing since Part 6. And I hate to say it, but move over Kane Hodder! There's a new Jason in town and his name is Derek Mears! Jason has never been so menacing and he's never been so, dare I say, likeable a guy.

Now there's no justification for killing hundreds and hundreds of people, but there's a method to Jason's madness and they really kinda make that clear in the remake whereas it's only really hinted at in the earlier installments to the franchise. Jason's just a full grown child/mutant who not only drowned by the hands of shitty camp counselors, but he witnessed his mom get beheaded by one of those counselors! I'd be killing motherfuckers that trespassed on my property too! But all that mushy stuff aside, Mears has made Jason absolutely terrifying once again. He runs. He hunts. He's smart. He's John fucking Rambo, as far as i'm concerned. By the way, I never really realized this until now but looking back, although Kane Hodder is largely considered the be all end all Jason Voorhees, he played the role in arguably the four worst movies in the series. Nothing against the man as i'm a big Hodder fan and he was a terrific Jason, but I really think Mears has trumped him and I also think we're gonna continue to see Mears in the role perhaps even more times than we saw Hodder don the mask. At least I hope so.

While it's certaintly a GOOD movie, there are a couple things that keep it from being a GREAT movie. For one, there's not nearly enough gore. The few gore scenes we see are simple kills that we've seen a million times before. Let's face it, the best thing about these movies are the kills and I felt like they kinda dropped the ball in that department. Take the nudity and cursing out, and you've hardly even got an R rated picture on your hands. Is the film totally lacking in the gore department? Absolutely not and I may just be bitching about the lack thereof because i'm a sick fuck who demands nonstop blood and guts in my horror flicks. But apparently i'm not the only one who's had this complaint. There are some cool throwback kills that will make ya think this is the same Jason we've seen before. I just wanted more of it! Along this same line of thought, his first kill in the movie is not even seen on camera which was a shitty decision in my opinion. I think they really should've taken that time to establish right off the bat that this is the most badass and vicious incarnation of the dude we've seen yet, which it turns out to be. That being said, the first 20 or so minutes are awesome and essentially come off as a really good Friday short film. They pull a Death Proof of sorts, killing off one whole group and then bringing a whole nother group to the camp and I for one loved that. Anyone else like the first set of characters more though?!

Back to Jason being likeable and relatable for one second. One thing i've always disliked about the franchise is Jason killing adults. Doesn't that kinda go against his whole revenge killing thing? I realize that at times they were trespassing on his property and probably deserved the axe, but come on. Keeping it teen makes the whole Jason thing a hell of a lot more powerful. It really looked like they were gonna stick to him killing only when he really needed to for this one, even going so far as to show that old folks living near him we're never harmed by him and explaining that he just wants to be left alone, but then he goes and kills an older dude. Granted, the man had trespassed on his property and stole some of Jason's fine weed, and granted they needed a way to crowbar in Jason finding his hockey mask, but I think they should've left that scene out. Yes, by the way, Jason's a total pothead in this one and it can be argued that all of his killings are simply done as a way of protecting his weed rather than avenging mommy!

As many people have pointed out, this remake is sort of the first several Friday flicks rolled into one and in many ways it felt like they wanted to get all of the establishing stuff out of the way so that they can go on to make better sequels in the future. It kinda felt like it was introing newcomers to the franchise as well as getting us diehards up to speed so they can create a whole new Jason universe. And honestly, I think the sequels are gonna kick even more ass than this one. I think the filmmakers will learn from this one and do bigger and better things in the future. I personally would love to see an entirely new second Friday The 13th franchise built in the years to come. How cool would that be?

So while it's not a great film that blew me out of the water, and while I think they could've done a lot more, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Let's face it, just seeing Jason back on the big screen is enough, isn't it? I had a lot of fun with it and really, what more can ya ask for? Good job once again, Mr. Nispel. Please come back for the sequel! Granted, you did a little bit better of a job with the Chainsaw redux ....

You may have heard that a lot of stuff was cut out of the movie that will be restored for the DVD, essentially creating a whole new movie. I think that version will be a lot better given the one that showed up on the screen definetly felt a bit rushed. A longer running time with more plot driven stuff will only help make it a better more complete movie. I can't wait to get my paws on that one!

Leave comments with thoughts!


Wings said...

I agree with most of your review, too. It is just good to have Jason back on screen.

As to the similarities with Hatchet, isn't that itself harkening back to Friday Part IV where Rob is looking for HIS missing sister? :)

Welcome back, Jason!

Johnny said...

That's right! Totally forgot about that aspect of Part 4. I stand corrected!

Ross Horsley said...

Pretty much agree with your take on this one, Johnny. The killing of the weed-farming guy really jarred with me too, but Jason...? Jason POSSESSED this film! He shone through every shot. Part 2 could be amazing if they do some tinkering in the right direction.

quanthor said...

It would have been nice to see Jason back on screen, but all we got was a smarter masked mutant clone.

And if there is a sequel, I hope to God this director steps aside...far too many close up shots that left the screen fa too cramped and the action scenes indistinguishable.

Johnny said...

Care to elaborate on the first sentence, quanthor?

quanthor said...

He just didn't feel like Jason to me...Yes he was wearing a hockey mask and wielding a machete, but that's about as far as it goes.

They rendered the character just enough to where he felt like an evolved clone.

He lives in and underground mine shaft(did he build this himself and hunts people down with crossbows for sniffing his ganja(overkill on the weed references)? He collects his kills and is holding somebody captive? That's not the Jason I fell in love with, that's some other mutant posing as Jason.

Jason has been the same for what....ten movies now, why change the formula that works?

The only thing I need to know about Jason, is that he "drowned" in the lake and his mother went crazy...which I don't remember them actually ever touching on. Yes they briefly mentioned his mother, but did they say whether or not he "drowned"?If you hadn't of seen the originals..could you make sense of a lot of it?

They tried to make to character too real, where in the original saga it was more or less just folklore that came true.

I can actually forgive a lot of that crap, even though I would rather them just make a NEW menacing killer, rather than trying to revision one that worked.

Ultimately it was the directing(zoom out please)and the score(killed many of the jump scenes)that I didn't like.

I don't mean to sound like it was an appalling piece of shit, there was some likable elements, but the picture just fell flat for me.

I'll definitely give it another try though, I did that with High Tension and just ignored the ludicrous ending and loved it.

Johnny said...

I really didn't feel like they changed him too much, I think they just went further with the ideas that have always been present under the surface of Jason. Like keeping the girl alive that looks like his mom. Sure it might not be something Jason would've done in the past Friday movies, but it kinda makes sense doesn't it? Jason's a total momma's boy at heart and he just wants her back in his life. He saw a girl that looked like her, and wanted to keep her around. I liked that. And like I said, Jason was always this way even in the past movies. Remember part 2? The chick pretended to be his mother and it stopped him from killing her. They just went further with some of these ideas, which are the ideas that make Jason so appealing, aren't they? There's a method to his madness.

Regardless, it's a totally new flick and it should be different from the originals. I've heard a lot of people bitching that "Jason wouldn't do this" or "Jason wouldn't do that". Well the whole point was that this was a new Jason, wasn't it?

I really appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts, by the way. Nice to have some discussion going on around here!

Quanthor said...

Yeah, I see what you're saying, although when it pertains to Jason's mother there is a huge difference between Part 2 and this latest installment.

In Part 2, Ginny disguises herself as Mrs. Vorhees, then Jason becomes confused, pauses and listens before Ginny eventually attacks him with a machete. That makes sense right...he is a mutant after all?

In the remake he attacks this girl thinking she his mother or looks like his mother and then keeps her chained up for two weeks in his underground mine shaft? I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't attack or chain up my mother....evidently this mutant Jason clone does. It's like the more they rendered or added to the story, the more plot holes they created, which begs the question....why did they change it?

This is why I think fans will be forever divided on this...there's this group of fans who will just be satisfied to have him back on screen and then there's the other core group who is wondering why alter something that ultimately didn't need to be? If it already worked and we already loved it...why change it?

That's essentially my biggest complaints with remakes in general...why revision something that was already great when you can just create something new altogether? I honestly think (regardless of the plot holes)that if this film didn't have Jason, but had some other mutant killer..people would probably be a little more forgiving about the pictures imperfections.

As I alluded to earlier, I will in time forgive a lot of the stupid shit they pulled with Jason's character(I did with Goes to Hell after all), but I still think a lot of the kills weren't original but very lackluster considering how much they hyped them, the score was awful and ineffective and as a result of that and some questionable timing the majority of the jump scenes fell flat(my wife didn't budge and she jumps at every thing).

Those are a few things had they delivered on, I would be cutting this film a hell of a lot more slack.

Johnny said...

Well I don't think he so much thought the girl was his mother as he did just think she looked like her. In which case, like I said earlier, perhaps he just wanted to keep her around because she reminded him of mommy. Naturally, he's still gotta keep her chained up though.

Totally agree with ya on the score and kills. The kills were all pretty weak and repetitive. And where the hell was the 'ki ki ki ma ma ma'?! There's certaintly many imperfections in the movie, but it was fun and provided enough good for me to look past some of the bad.

thebonebreaker said...

Great Review Johnny!
I would definitely have to agree with the majority of what you said. . .

Bar said...

I never read this write up before because the movie hadn't come out over here, but now I've seen it twice and so I got to reading your review...

And something occured to me when you said "He's John fucking Rambo"...

I would LOVE to see Derek Mears' Jason up against Rambo 2008.

Now THAT'S a fight! An apocalyptic fucking splatterfest ensues!

Johnny said...

Jason vs Rambo vs Ray Stevenson's Punisher ..... BRING IT ON!

Bar said...

Haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

We actually had a theatrical release date, and it would have happened already, but you assholes in North America didn't cough up money in big enough numbers to go see it, so it got pulled from the schedule!

Now i'm waiting for the direct to DVD IF IT EVER BLOODY GETS A DATE. Otherwise I'll import when I can afford it.


If you don't and they bomb, I don't ever get to see it in a theatre, and its not fair. Think of ol' Bar.