Remakes are becoming a way of life in my oh so wonderful horror genre and it is really beginning to get on my nerves, but I have a special place in my heart for these so-called “re-imaginings.” That holds especially true when the re-imaginings start including some of my favorite horror icons. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a really decent attempt to introduce people to the world of Leatherface. Rob Zombie’s Halloween was a bit more disturbing then the original, but it really brought about a great history of the one and only Michael Myers. Freddy Krueger’s time is coming very soon but this particular moment belonged to the freak in the hockey mask and his name is Jason.
Clay Miller has returned to the area around the now abandoned Camp Crystal Lake against the wishes of the local police force, but it’s not like he is causing any trouble. Clay is simply trying to find his sister Whitney who went missing a little over a month ago. Posting signs and asking the locals whether they know anything; Clay is doing nothing but running into dead end after dead end and getting strange advice to simply “leave him alone.” Not entirely sure what is being foretold, Clay continues on in his search for Whitney in the place he knows she had last visited. Things aren’t going to be kept so simple and answers would soon come his way even though they aren’t exactly what he was looking for.
Jenna and Trent meanwhile are vacationing around Camp Crystal Lake with some friends of theirs and are merely looking to have a good time. A weekend full of beers, weed, music, and some sex is just what the group needs to unwind but it may end up spelling a case for disaster. Oddly enough, they happen to cross paths with Clay as he keeps up his search for Whitney and while Trent isn’t necessarily happy to see Clay right away, it soon appears there is strength in numbers. All of their lives are at stake as they begin to disappear one by one and curiosity as to whether the campfire tales of Camp Crystal Lake begin grow stronger. Is there truly a young boy once presumed to be dead still walking the grounds around the Lake, all grown up, and out for revenge?
What a hell of a way to quite possibly restart a franchise that has already seen eleven films with the central character. I’m going to be honest with you that I had my doubts about this new Friday the 13th and even more so once I found out that Michael Bay was involved. But then again he did a pretty damn good job with TCM so a chance was necessary here and I’m damn glad that the chance was taken. Here is a film that is so very much a re-imagining and not a remake at all, but that is obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with the franchise. Here we have Jason Voorhees doing what he does best while starting out with a potato sack on his head before finding the incredibly iconic hockey mask.
~ The first film in 1980 didn’t see Jason as the killer but his mother.
~ Jason wore the burlap sack on his head in Friday the 13th Part 2.
~ The hockey mask didn’t actually appear until the third film at which point he had stolen it out of the bag of one of the camp counselors and didn’t just find it in an attic somewhere.
See, it’s stuff like that which made me want to watch this film more because it almost takes away the word “remake” entirely. Here is a horror flick that had some tremendous kill scenes, a good backstory, aggravating yet appealing characters, and did a great job of giving continuity throughout the entire duration. The one big problem is the severe lack of scares and frightening moments, but there is enough blood and sex to make up for that issue. Well, there is one thing here that really makes up for the lack of scares and that is the incredible awesomeness of what I’d to call the “New” Jason. Every film in the franchise so far has had a great campy feel with tons of cheese and just a lot of fun. While there was a ton of fun in this film; the cheese factor is dumbed down a tremendous amount and that’s a good thing considering New Jason.
The guy is just overly cool in this re-imagining of Friday the 13th and walks away from the Old Jason that just killed anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. Here we have an overprotective Jason that is looking to take control of his area and not let anyone come into his territory. Jason now decides to clean up after himself and hide the bodies instead of leaving carnage wherever he goes. Oh and don’t think that a machete or random axe are his only weapons anymore because the dude even brandishes a bow and arrow. Yes folks, Jason has taken up archery. Last but not least are the coolest aspects of our new Mr. Voorhees and those are his intelligence and speed. It is obvious that he now uses the processes of thought and deduction to plan his kills. And when they are mapped out, Jason runs his ass around to get to where he needs to be. No more slow-walking for this not so gentle giant and it is phenomenal.
The film is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and it looks really damn good but there are moments that are a cause for concern. Colors are bright and vibrant and never look dull whatsoever. The problems come about in some of the darker scenes because there’s a time or too when nothing can be seen at all yet you know something is happening. Rather annoying.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound making it a bit more impressive then the video quality but still not perfect either. Hardly any sound effects surround the room through the rear speakers giving you that campy and frightening feeling. And the beloved “Chh-Chh-Chh! Ahh-Ahh-Ahh!” is barely heard at all.
The Rebirth Of Jason Voorhees – Here we have your rather run of the mill “making of” featurette but it fits a lot of stuff into such a short period of time. Not only do we get interviews with the cast and crew, but there is a lot of behind-the-scenes footage shown as well. From the origins of Jason to the special effects to his mask and much more. God, I really wish this would have been longer. (11:23)
Additional Slashed Scenes – Eight and a half minutes of some pretty gruesome stuff here. There is a warning before the scenes begin that it is for “mature audiences” only and I see why because there’s a few good kills here. Nothing overly great, but well worth checking out.
Trailers – Freddy Vs. Jason Blu-ray, Green Lantern: First Flight, The Cell 2, Trick ‘R Treat, and Observe and Report
You all know by now that there aren’t a lot of horror films that will ever get bad ratings from me, but I’m still willing to call crap crap and give it the ridicule and defamation it deserves. That is if it deserves it. Friday the 13th isn’t perfect by a long shot and it also has plenty enough to complain about while standing out in the franchise maybe even more than Jason X. New Jason Voorhees has arrived and he is uber-cool so everyone needs to check him out and enjoy him enough so that we get a brand new franchise full of tons of sequels. Derek Mears has got to be my third favorite Jason now right behind Kane Hodder and Ken Kerzinger, but he has the chance to move up if he dons the hockey mask again. A special edition is sure to come sooner or later with more special features and that kind of sucks because it means we have to suffer here with the first release. Rent it for a first view, but horror fans need to grab it right away because it’s machete-wielding kick ass.
Warner Bros. presents Friday The 13th: Killer Cut. Directed by: Marcus Nispel. Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Aaron Yoo, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle, Derek Mears. Written by: Damion Shannon, Mark Swift, & Mark Wheaton. Running time: 109 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: June 16, 2009. Available at Amazon.com