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Friday the 13th

Six years after the last appearance of Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason, the franchise opted for a reboot and released the simply named Friday the 13th. Operating under the same premise, this film features a group of youngsters vacationing at Crystal Lake. While there, they partake in the usual sex, drugs, drinking, debauchery and incur the wrath of Camp Crystal Lake’s villain, Jason Voorhees.

Remakes are always tricky; the studio must attract both its original fanbase and also a new generation. I’ve seen this film a few times now, and I still believe it’s a pretty well done remake. It’s no secret I love Jason Voorhees, and I do think this movie did him justice. For starters, the film begins by paying tribute to its origins. The sequence of Mrs. Voorhees being decapitated by a camp counselor was reshot and shown in black and white. This reminds older fans where the franchise began and informs new fans of Jason’s backstory. The movie also lets Jason rock the burlap sack over his head for the first half of the film, which is how he looked in Friday the 13th Part 2. Then, after a particularly fun kill in a shed, Jason spots the hockey mask and puts it on, which is how the character appears beginning in the third film. It’s a nice way to show the audience how Jason evolves. There is also a storyline centering around Jason’s obsession with his mother, which was also reminiscent of movies past. With each little tribute, I smiled and remembered exactly why I love this character; it is a perfect way to acknowledge its roots while still appealing to a new audience.

The first half hour or so of the film is a mini-movie with its own cast of disobedient teens and Jason enforcing his moral compass. After he teaches each of them a lesson, the title of the film flashes on the screen and the “real” plot of the movie starts; Clay Miller comes to Crystal Lake in search of his missing sister, who was one of the kids in the mini-movie at the start of the film. Along with Clay, a new, rowdy group is vacationing in a fancy house on the lake. I loved the narrative structure of this film. By breaking it up into three parts (first film homage, mini-movie, movie) none of the stories ever felt long or boring. There was just enough blood and gore in each snippet to keep me interested.

Ultimately, I felt this film suffered from a bit too much debauchery (what?!?). The constant gratuitous nudity seemed forced, even for a campy horror film. I’m used to sex and drugs in these films, but this movie seemed to use it as a crutch. Honestly, who wakeboards topless? And while the film lacked some of the original magic, it’s both entertaining and largely in line with the other films in the series.

Given that Jason is one of my favorite, if not my most favorite, horror franchise character, this remake was something I looked forward to watching. Even if it’s not the original, this movie did Voorhees fans justice and I think he’ll walk a little taller around the island with this ending to his story.

If you liked Friday the 13th (2009), you might also like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th.

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