Waiting on line for over two hours, I was as excited to go see ‘Friday The 13th’ a week in advance, as I was skeptical of whether it would live up to the recent hype. Truth be told, I haven’t been impressed with any straight up Slasher films that have come out in the past five years. The most recent, ‘My Bloody Valentine’, was not only a disappointment but an uneventful and painful experience akin to having a drawn out conversation about coupons with my grandmother. To add to that skepticism, was the fact that Jason Vorhees has never been scary to me. Sure, I love most of the ten plus films that Jason has been in, but I never lost any sleep after watching one.
Cut to late Saturday night, early Sunday morning, and me waking up, over and over again. Thanks to this well crafted remake, the man with the hockey mask and the machete has made it into my nightmares.
The movie is anything but a slow starter. I don’t want to give away the details of the first set of deaths, but let’s just say that in the first fifteen minutes, there are at least two kills that we have never seen Jason carry out before. These kills are more thought out and brutal, as opposed to blunt and comical. The kills are different because this is a different type of Jason.
The man who played Jason, Derek Mears, was at the screening as well. Mears is jacked, but the Jason he portrays is much sleeker looking than Richard Brooker’s version of Jason or Kane Hodder’s. Gone are the days of the lumbering version of Jason, who will walk slowly, even when he is engulfed in flame. In this film, he runs after his prey at certain points, and reacts much quicker to things. This new version of Jason is methodical, setting traps as well as a set of underground tunnels, beneath the crystal lake camp grounds, to get the upper hand on his prey.
Although Jason’s character has been somewhat updated, the actual plot of this film is very formulaic and could be interchangeable with any of the ‘Friday’ sequels: Five very good looking twenty-somethings travel to a cabin very close to the Crystal Lake campgrounds, for some much needed outdoor adventure and of course, an excess amount of drinking and sex.
At the same time these potential victims travel to the cabin, Clay Miller, played by Jared Padalecki, is searching for his sister, who we assume has already met Jason’s machete. Of course, after much topless fun (yes, including some topless water skiing) things go wrong for the vacationing hotties, each knocked off one by one in spectacular fashion. As for Clay his search for his sister leads him down all the wrong roads, as creepy encounter after creepy encounter with Crystal Lake residents leads him closer and closer to the man in the mask.
Excusing the standard plot, I am going to be bold and say that this film is the “Batman Begins’ of the Jason franchise. Just as Batman’s heroism was magnified by the very realistic portrayal of him in that film, Jason is made more terrifying, because nothing that he does in this film seems supernatural.
All in all, this was an incredibly enjoyable experience. The death scenes were perfectly peppered throughout the film, avoiding the very easy to achieve feeling of “Yeah, yeah, yeah, now he is gonna pop out and chop her head off”. There was no annoyed expectancy, just excited anticipation. Granted, the crowd cheering after each death certainly helped, but in the end this is a Slasher film done right. For longtime ‘Friday the 13th’ fans, I can safely say, you are in for a treat.