2009 marked the year that Jason Voorhees would be brought back from the dead. As fanboys let out a collective groan, Platinum Dunes announced that they were to reboot the beloved franchise. Platinum Dunes, as most of you know, has a pretty shaky track record. While they have released a couple of high quality remakes, like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Amityville Horror, they have also released some real pieces of shit like The Unborn, and The Hitcher. Even though Friday the 13th is an iconic classic, is the formula really that difficult to replicate? Surely anyone film makers with functioning brain cells could put Jason in the woods slaughtering naked teenagers right? Well, the answer is yes, and no.
Released on a Friday the 13th in February of 2009, audiences flocked to the cinema to catch a glimpse of the new take on their beloved masked killer. The film would open to a highly substantial opening weekend gross, only take a nosedive by at least 80 percent the weekend that followed. Word was out that the flick wasn’t all that everyone had hoped that it would be. A lot of this, in my opinion, was due to unrealistic expectations. People went to the theater expecting to be wowed somehow, and were given the standard F13 formula with a few minor tweaks. Much like my partner in crime, I have certain expectations when I go into a Friday flick, and those are as follows:
An ample amount of gratuitous nudity.
So, the question is left to be asked, did Platinum Dunes reboot meet my requirements? In my opinion it did. Granted, the film is not without it’s flaws. There are many things you have to forgive to get the enjoyment that you seek. The main problem was the tunnel system that Jason uses to get from one end of the camp to the other. In the original films, how he got from point a to point b so quickly was left a mystery, which added a supernatural element to Jason that may or may not have been originally intended, but later sequels would definitely exploit this aspect. The Friday reboot tried to have it both ways, explaining how he moved around so fast, but also choosing to leave in a scene that seemed to contradict their explanation. I’m talking, of course about the rooftop scene. A segment in which one second Jason is standing on the ground, and two seconds later, he’s perched on the top of the roof above. This would have been acceptable in any of the older flicks, but since they went out of their way to explain Jason’s travel this time, it felt out of place.
Had the Tunnel system, and the entire subplot of Jason keeping Whitney alive been removed from the film, I think it would have been greeted with a much different reaction. I believe that this concept ruined the film for a lot of people, even if they can’t quite put their finger on their main gripe, I believe that this had a lot to do with it. If it were removed, it would have in fact felt like just another entry into the long list of Friday the 13th sequels. I understand them feeling the need to throw a little bit of their own flavor into the pot, but there were other, more subtle ways that this could have been done. As it stands, it leaves a big black eye on the final product in my opinion.
Now, how were the kills in this new take? If you ask me, they were great. They maintain that old school feel, whilst still managing to be creative. The practical gore FX looked gorgeous, and several of the sequences made myself and others clap out loud in the theater. Severed heads and limbs, a brutal and bloody encounter with a bear trap, and a machete through the top of the head of a busty, naked hottie are just a few pieces of the carnage that splatters the screen. If you came to see some shit get fucked up, much like I did, you should be more than happy with this outing.
When the credits roll, it felt to me like I had just sat through a Friday the 13th film. Sure, it’s flawed, but It was a fun trip back to Crystal Lake. Unless you’re a purist, and lack the ability to forgive a few flaws, you should feel at least a little bit satisfied. Truthfully though, if this is a problem for you, you probably shouldn’t be watching a slasher flick like this to begin with. Barring a few exceptions to the rule, I can’t think of many slasher films that are without their problems. The 2009 remake of Friday the 13th is not the best entry into the series, but it’s not the worst either. It’s oldschool fun with a newschool makeover. It pales in comparison to the original film, but wasn’t really aiming to take it’s place. It was more of an attempt to revive this franchise in order to make future films. I for one, hope that this will become a reality. Derek Mears did too good of a job at making Jason ferocious again for it to have been in vain.