Film Review: Friday the 13th (2009)

Release Date: February 13th, 2009
Directed by: Marcus Nispel
Written by: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Based on: characters by Victor Miller
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Aaron Yoo, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle, Derek Mears

Platinum Dunes, Crystal Lake Entertainment, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, 97 Minutes


Jason Voorhees is one of my favorite slashers of all-time. Sure, I give the edge to Freddy Krueger but Jason is right up there with him, as well as Michael Myers. They are the big three.

So when I learned that Friday the 13th was getting the remake (or reboot) treatment by the director who poorly rebooted The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a few years earlier, I wasn’t all that excited. Frankly, I wasn’t off base, after seeing this picture.

This remake fails to capture the essence of what Friday the 13th was. Sure, it has murder, tits, a hulking slasher in a hockey mask with severe mommy issues and takes place near a lake called Crystal Lake but that is where the similarities end. This film is proof that you can steal a framework without recreating the same formula as before.

Missing are the charm of the original films. Despite them being about violence and killing teens, they always had humorous elements and a lightheartedness that worked really well in contrast to the gore and horror. This remake takes itself too seriously and misses out on the fact that Friday the 13th movies are supposed to be campy (pun intended) and fun. There is nothing in this film to make you chuckle and nothing about it is fun.

While the summer camp exists, the majority of the film sees our teens in some spacious luxurious lake house. Even though the walls are wood, it immediately doesn’t feel like the atmosphere of all the other Friday the 13th pictures. The lake doesn’t look similar enough and it just completely ruins the tone of the film.

And speaking of the tone, the film is incredibly dark most of the time. Even in the old movies, when Jason was killing kids in the woods at night, you could see fairly clearly what was happening because those scenes were lit properly.

In regards to the killings, some are graphic and show a proper level of Friday the 13th gore and some are really obscured or harmed by editing.

On a positive note, I thought Jared Padalecki and Danielle Panabaker were pretty good as the main heroes. Also, it was cool seeing Ginsberg from Mad Men show up in this. I also have to give props to Derek Mears, who played a good Jason Voorhees.

This isn’t a bad film, it just isn’t good either. As a fan of Friday the 13th, it is kind of a dud. I guess that’s why it didn’t spawn any sequels and the studio is back at the drawing board, still eight years later, trying to figure out what the next best move is for this historically lucrative property.

Rating: 5/10

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