Mar 9, 2009

Friday's Always Been My Lucky Day

Ki ki ki… ma ma ma…

Ki ki ki… ma ma ma…

I went in seeing Michael Bay's 2009 Friday The 13th without having seen but bits and pieces of a the second Friday The 13th and Jason Lives. Between my viewing snippets of the films and now I became greatly interested in the horror genre and have watched a great deal of the material. I had seen enough slasher movies going in to know what the genre entails and wasn't disappointed with this 2009 flick. I didn’t walk away feeling like I had seen something that may change the industry, like Rob Zombie’s Halloween or the SAW series, but I wasn’t let down.

The Premise:
Friday The 13th followed the formula that years of precedent had left them to follow – stupid kids obsessed with drugs, sex and alcohol get systematically annihilated by a sadistic and scary force. It’s hard for me to say it was a bad movie because it did exactly what I expected of it, and was entertained. The stupid kids were slaughtered in gruesome and shocking ways, and it’s only because I grew up desensitized to graphic violence that I was the only one in the theater laughing when someone would get a machete through the head.

The Standouts:
I was originally let down overall with the characters of the film, however my feelings have since changed having taken several steps back from the film. At the time I left the theater my opinion was that the first set of victims were highly entertaining and could have featured their own spin-off. The second set who were promoted and given time to develop and flourish to leave their mark with the viewer, who lasted through the majority of the movie, were incredibly under-developed and two-dimensional. Everyone fell into a stereotypical role – you had the Bree: slutty chick (Julianna Guill), Trent: the rich snob (Travis Van Winkle, AKA the snobby rich jerk from Accepted), Lawrence, the cool black guy (Arlen Escarpeta, who thankfully doesn’t die first!) Chewie: the funny guy (Aaron Yoo from Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), Nolan (Ryan Hansen) and Chelsea (Willa Ford): the obnoxious do-whatever-they-please couple, and Jenna: the feminine sweetheart (Danielle Panabaker).

Only one character initially stood out, which was the hero, who you would want to impress the viewers. Clay (Jared Padalecki of Supernatural fame) made the movie bearable through his poor character writing. I didn’t care that Clay had lost his sister; sentimentality is worlds different from sentimentalism. I did enjoy however watching him be fearless and confront his problems head-on like a Clint Eastwood character. Seeing him in this film has also given me a new Hollywood celebrity dream – Jared Padalecki will be type casted into rolls fit for horror and the strange or weird until he’s in his late thirties, when he will decide to take a break from the glitz and glamour of fame. Once the hunger for critical acclaim seeps back in, maybe a decade or so later, Padalecki, now in his fifties will return to the big screen making cameo appearances in horror movies so I can say “Boy, I knew him when…”

Upon second glance at the characters however, there was one that I overlooked in terms of development. Taking a page out of Rob Zombie’s book, Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) was the dark horse who the movie put all of its efforts into humanizing. Jason was no longer an immortal (well that’s still arguable) lumbering Frankenstein-monster of a man. He could run. He could protect and feel and fear. And though, obviously because he’s the blade wielding maniac villain, his feelings were misappropriated, Jason even shows love in this film. Yes, through the massacring of the “innocent” Jason shows deep affection and care for a girl he believes resembles his mother. But you have to really read between the lines to find it.

My Highlight:
As the rich snobby guy gets it on with the hot slut, his true loserdom comes out in a variety of awful things to say in the heat of the moment, my favorite being: “you have perfect nipple placement!” But then again, the entire first fifteen minutes or so of the movie is pretty quality entertainment. After that, things just kind of plateau.

Overall Rating:
3.5 *’s, or 7/10. Not because it was a great movie, but it was a pretty good slasher movie. You have to know what you’re walking into.

Where You Should See It:
Rent it. If you like it, you’re likely to really like it, but if it’s not for you then you very well may never want to hear of it again. I won’t go so far as to say love it or put a crossbow arrow through its head, but at the very least, everyone should give it a chance.

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