Friday, February 13, 2009

Review - Friday the 13th

A group of young adults head to a family cabin at Crystal Lake to enjoy a weekned of partying, sex and recreational fun. The group is introduced to a Clay Miller who is looking for his missing sister Whitney. His sister has been missing for over a month and was last seen camping with some friends at Crystal Lake. The group comes to learn the local legend of Jason Vorhees, and comes face to face with the killer himself.

Platinum Dunes has done it again! They have taken a iconic horror franchise that is beloved by millions and created a reimagining that lives up to the series. Not only does the new film live up to it's predecessor's, in some ways, it most definatly rises above the originals. Their advatnage, clearly is the fact that they know what has worked with the series and what has failed. Allowing them to only take the best elements from the franchise and combine them for one spectacularly frightening film.

Marcus Nispel, who has already successfully rebooted the Texas Chainsaw Massacre story, directs the newest "Friday the 13th" film and delivers by far the best Friday movie out of the entire series. Nispel does a knockout job at re-establishing the Vorhees backstory with a flashback of the night Pamela Vorhees took vengence for the death of her son at Camp Crystal Lake. Followed by the best opening kill sequence, in the series, paying homage to the first two Friday the 13th films. All of this happens before the viewer even gets a title shot! From start to finish "Friday the 13th" is absolutely intense, moving at a steady speed, keeping the viewer engaged and on the edge of their seat throughout. The kills are brutally enjoyable one after another warranting both rising thrills and some definate laughter. Nispel dejects the corny demeanor of the original series and instead presents a stripped down bare knuckles version that easily becomes the best Friday the 13th film to date!

Jason Vorhees, obvisouly is a huge component to the Friday series and in the newest film, he is perfect! No more of the Jason that slowly follows you, but always manages to get in front of you. With the updated Jason Vorhees, if you are running, you can bet your ass so is Jason. Played by the already domineering Derek Mears, Jason is at his core, a hunter in the reboot. It is very clear that Jason has survived in the woods for twenty years and has learned to trap and kill his food, whatever it is. In traditional fashion Jason has his machete, but we are treated to an assortment of other weaponry including, Jason showing off his archery skills in an unexpected kill. Jason's best kill comes at the fate of Chelsea, played by Willa Ford, who thought hiding under the dock would fool the hockey mask wearing killer.

We all know that we came to see Jason and you are definately not disappointed there, but the rest of the cast does a able job of keeping the interest as well. As always the cast is filled up with typical horror stereotypes; the jock (Ryan Hansen), the dick (Travis Van Winkle), the stoner who never gets laid (Aaron Yoo), the black guy (Arlen Escarpeta), the dumb local (Kyle Davis), the unsuspecting police officer (Travis Davis), the suspicious old lady (Rosemary Knower), the outsider (Jared Padalecki), the innocent girl (Danielle Panabaker) and the girls who bare their breasts (Willa Ford, Julianna Gill and America Olivo), each of whom carry their persona as intended. Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) and Danielle Panabaker (Mr. Brooks) carrying a majority of the screentime help to keep the viewer absorbed in the story with their supporting roles as they discover the legend and surroundings of Jason Vorhees.

Overall "Friday the 13th" was a great experience. As a long time devoted fan, I could not be more happy with the outcome of Platinum Dunes most recent overhaul. They took the best pieces from the original series and made one hell of a spine-tingling experience. They paid homage to the original films (mainly Friday the 13th Parts 1-3), they remained loyal to the mythology while developing key components like the Vorhees cabin and how Jason lives. Thankfully, the new film lost alot of the campy nature to the originals, however it still leaves comic relief to lighten the mood for brief moments. The climax of the film is flawless and by the end of the film, there is no question this isn't the last we've seen of Jason, and I couldn't be more happy.