February 13, 2009 Friday The 13th
Studio: New Line Cinema/Paramount Rating: R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, language and drug material.
The man in the hockey mask returns to terrorize a new generation of movie fans.
Welcome back to Crystal Lake! Yes, Jason Voorhees gets new life in "Friday The 13th," but this is much more of a re-imagining than a mere sequel.
While the film explores some new angles the plot is very familiar. A group of teenaged party animals disappears in the woods near the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake after their curiosity gets the best of them.
Several weeks later a young man invites several of his friends to party at his dad's cabin on the lake. Before too long, Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) shows up looking for his missing sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti), who was in the original bunch that is now nowhere to be found.
Ignoring mysterious and foreboding local warnings, Clay ventures into the woods and soon discovers the old campground. But lurking among the buildings is the machete-wielding Jason (Derek Mears). He revs up the blade and goes on a killing spree, dispatching his prey in ever more inventive ways.
Will Jason's potential victims escape? Will Clay find his sister? Will the filmmakers use the most flimsy excuses imaginable to flash gratuitous nudity on the screen? Well, what do YOU think?
This entry into the "Friday The 13th" franchise mixes up elements from the first four films to give you a different look at Jason. In the original movie his mom was the killer. It wasn't until the third film that he first put on the hockey mask and along the way he became a supernatural unstoppable force of murder.
But in this story he's just a man, a mean vicious man who finds his inner hockey player much earlier than in previous versions. We all know the lore of Jason and we get the murderer we expect to see.
Of course, we really don't get to know Jason's victims very well. That's only because they aren't that important. The various and sundry good-looking men and women merely serve as props to be executed.
However, the cast does include some familiar faces including singer Willa Ford and Arlen Escarpeta, who portrayed Reggie Oliver in "We Are Marshall."
I had very low expectations for this film and that helped me enjoy it. There are some scary moments which create tension and it was fun to see Jason in all his brutal glory. But despite good scenes and a few inventive "kills" the overall impact is kind of "meh."
The pictures are pretty but the acting, directing and story don't elevate the material beyond standard horror movie fare. Frankly, if this wasn't a "Jason" movie it wouldn't have caused much of a stir.
About the best thing I can say is that this "Friday The 13th" is exactly what I was expecting. It promised a killing machine we've grown to know over the past two decades and it delivered. While it's better than many of the franchise's sequels it just can't match the ferocity and scariness of the original.
On my rating scale, "Friday The 13th" earns a Double.
THE SIMPSONS Tonight at 8:00 PM The Saga of Carl; Dangers on a Train
When Homer, Moe, Lenny and Carl win the lottery, Carl takes off to Iceland with all the money; Marge mistakenly signs up for a website for married people looking for extramarital relationships