Damian Shannon, Mark Swift, Mark Wheaton and Victor Miller
Jared Padalecki as Clay Miller
Danielle Panabaker as Jenna
Amanda Righetti as Whitney Miller
Travis Van Winkle as Trent
Aaron Yoo as Chewie
Derek Mears as Jason Voorhees
Friday the 13th is a beloved franchise that, along with John Carpenter’s Halloween, literally defined the slasher sub-genre of horror. As most horror aficionados know, it is necessary to watch the original and Part 2 together to truly get the effect – arguably the 3rd is also a requirement if the goal is to see the development of Jason from aquatic lurker to hockey mask-wearing impaler.
Friday the 13th 2009 takes all phases of Jason into account in one multi-part story. The first 15 minutes tells the familiar back-story of Jason’s mother Pamela (sans Betsy Palmer) going on a camp counselor killing spree after they “weren’t paying attention” to her disfigured yet beloved son and let him drown in the pristine Crystal Lake. She is promptly dispatched by the lone survivor via a machete to the neck that leaves her head placed neatly on the ground. Jason, though, is not really dead and witnesses his mother losing her head… and decides that when he grows up he’s going to be a homicidal machete-murderer too. That’s good raising.
Fast forward to years later when a group of goofy teens seeking a hidden marijuana grove happen upon the dilapidated Camp Crystal Lake and proceed to use drugs and have sex. We ALL know what that means. One of the drugged-out sex-starved not-paying-attention kids, though, has a brother that will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his missing sister and his poking around stirs up Jason for yet another round. Oh, and there is yet ANOTHER group of kids that come along too. Lots happening in this little drama.
BHM: Did Friday the 13th 2009 need to be made? Why or why not?
Horror Queen: Of course it did because simply put, we love Jason. Friday the 13th 2009reminded me of why I liked the original 1980’s trilogy (Friday the 13th Parts I, II & III) in the first place. The drowned boy turned vengeful psychotic killer, his victims’ teenagers out to have a good time on a lake in the woods is just fun horror movie stuff. And hats off to Director Marcus Nispel for 1. Risking the remake of a highly praised original horror film followed by a series of less applauded sequels and 2. Delivering a film that has us at the same time nostalgic for the Jason and Camp Crystal Lake of yesteryear and in state of nerve-wracking fear I can only compare to a 90-minute rollercoaster ride, if there were such a thing.
The Horror Czar: My answer to this one would have been very different just one year ago. Then I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to muck with one of the best and most popular horror franchises ever created. I even loved Jason X for crying out loud… could have done without the little worm thing and jumping from body to body in Jason Goes to Hell, but my selective memory takes care of that one.
Then something happened… I overheard a couple of new generation horror fans (read ‘young enough to call me ‘Sir’’) talking about the original Friday – and they thought it was boring! Too slow, too much talk, not enough gore… and it hit me. Horror fans today are bombarded by fast moving gore and unending thrills, and are very tough to scare. This remake takes care of that while still paying loving homage to the genre great. So, yes, Friday the 13th 2009 needed to be remade to introduce the scary Jason to a new generation.
BHM: Screenwriter Mike Swift claims this is the first film where we see Jason faster and using his brains. Do you find this true?
Horror Queen: Forget the fact that if true to the original Friday the 13th, Jason would now be nearly 60 years of age, he has taken on a whole new appeal. He’s bigger, he’s faster, he’s stronger, he may even have a personal trainer. Plus Jason’s built some biceps digging a huge underground tunnel with which to store his victims as well as some old memorabilia. It’s no wonder the guy can wield a machete like no other. I’m not sure about the brains aspect; after all how smart is guy who passes time killing teenagers, has no friends, keeps his mom’s rotting head by the bathtub and is surely illiterate?
The Horror Czar: Swift may have been determined to rewrite Jason as the “thinking man’s slasher” but he made one fatal mistake – Jason was no dummy to begin with. In Part 2 Jason had created a makeshift shack and was surviving just fine, thank you. His killing wasn’t mindless but instead incredibly purposeful, and that quality was continued in this remake. Swift did make him faster, however. Jason running? I actually got used to it just as I got used to running zombies. Still, there is something classic about a slow gate that never fails to catch the panty-clad lovely who always happens to fall down at precisely the right moment.
BHM: Horror films often suffer from a complete lack of believability. Do you find this true with Friday the 13th 2009?
Horror Queen: Well, of course it’s fiction, duh. But yes there are some pretty funny things that defy logic in Friday the 13th 2009, other than the existence of Jason. The ignorance of the locals, for instance is seen early on when young Clay sets out to find his missing sister. He happens upon a local townsperson who tells him his sister’s dead and the killer “likes to be left alone.” Even the town’s policemen turn a blind eye to Jason’s bloody undertakings, regarding the disappearance of half a dozen people months before not really a big deal. Either that or they have a pretty crappy forensics department considering the amount of blood and dead body parts they would find in a simple walk around the camp.
The Horror Czar: I didn’t have any trouble with believability in this film, yet I don’t need a high level of logic to believe. In require believability only insomuch as things not become so outlandish that I can’t enjoy the terror. In that regard there was enough. Were the investigative capabilities of the local law enforcement extremely lacking? Sure. Should everyone have known that there is some psycho named Jason living out in the country chopping up passersby? Certainly. But maybe they did know and just chose to leave him alone… in the end I don’t really care.
BHM: How was the scare factor?
Horror Queen: This film is hands down one of the most frightening I’ve seen. And I’m Horror Queen. The new Jason is definitely not for sissies – he is the slasher king. So whether you’re an old fan or a new horror buff, run to the theater for this one!
The Horror Czar: The scare quotient is this film is a shining star. In an age where folks are tougher and tougher to scare, Friday the 13th 2009 works it hard. Not only were the scares good, but I felt satisfied afterward instead of having that “dirty” feeling that the torture-porn horror films tend to leave me with. Just like the olden days…
Friday the 13th 2009 is fast paced, very gory and chock full of “yell out loud” scares sure to make you squirm, shriek, groan and hide your face the whole time. Character development was pretty lacking, but there were so many characters meeting their fate at Jason’s blade that there wasn’t much time to care about them anyway. The references to other installments in the original franchise are many, including wheelchairs hanging in the tool shed (your days are numbered wheelchair boy), a bicycle from the crazy guy of the first couple installments, a barn full of deadly implements and a certain Tommy Jarvis feel to the brother character searching for answers ala Jason Lives. Heck, even a local hick Sheriff that gets murdered.
Friday the 13th 2009 is an excellent intro to the Friday legend for today’s immediate gratification generation. No messy sequels and no piecing together of storylines or background, this film spells it all out in one neat film experience with a ton of jolts and Jason standing tall as a horror villain icon. As for the old timers – you will watch Friday the 13th 2009, buy the DVD and then continue to watch the original three over and over… some things never change.