Thursday, February 19, 2009
REVIEW: Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th
Director: Marcus Nispel
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti, Danielle Panabaker, Travis Van Winkle, Derek Mears
Distributor: New Line Cinema
MPAA: Rated R
The Friday the 13th remake caught my attention with its trailers. I wasn't planning on seeing this movie because I'm not really a Jason fan and I haven't seen the previous Friday the 13th films. But the film was heavily advertised and it looked kind of cool. It was advertised so much that the horror slasher drew in big numbers at the box office and grossed an estimated $40 million. That's twice as much as its budget and only hints at an inevitable sequel. Not only that, but I had a good feeling that director Nispel would do a fine job with this film considering I enjoyed his 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) searches for his missing sister in the eerie woods of legendary Camp Crystal Lake. Against the advice of police and cautions from the locals, Clay pursues what few leads he has, with the help of a young woman named Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) who he meets among a group of college kids up for an all-thrills weekend. But they are about to find much more than they bargained for. Little do they know, they've entered the domain of one of the most terrifying specters in American film history--the infamous killer who haunts Crystal Lake, armed with a razor-sharp machete...Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears).
I have seen some of the previous Friday the 13th films on TV, but never the whole collection from start to finish. That said, this new remake is somewhat of a mixed bag. The film is filled with sex scenes and pot smoking which doesn't add anything to the storyline, but is used to transition things. The film is essentially the first three Friday the 13th films put together with a fancy spray coat. It brings ideas from those films and makes it into a film more modernized than those versions. What I enjoyed to some extent was that they made Jason much more human this time. We finally get to see Jason the way he was meant to be. We all remember him being this zombie like being with a hockey mask who would kill people. He was very slow and didn't really consist of a brain. Hes now much more human and more skilled this time around. He knows how to shoot arrows and stalk his enemies. This makes him into an effective killing machine and one that's more natural for a modern remake like this. What I didn't like was that the film was just too predictable. Besides the thrilling and exciting introduction which is the longest one for a horror movie, I could see everything happening from a mile ahead. Dialogue is also cheesy and shows the more humorous side of the film rather than the serious tone. It also makes the characters feel like plastic and one dimensional. The ending was expected and only sets the film up for an inevitable sequel. Besides the few thrilling moments in the film, the movie also isn't very scary. I thought their was more scary and thrilling parts in the 2003 updated version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The cast ain't special and they all bring the usual expected roles you would expect from a horror film these days. Jared Padalecki plays the main character of the film, Clay Miller. He does a decent job in the role, but I don't like him as the lead of the film. His character doesn't show much emotion and is only their to look for his sister. I think they could have gotten someone more effective and more popular than Padalecki. Amanda Righetti plays as Clay's sister, Whitney Miller. She does a better job of showing more emotion than Padalecki, but she still feels somewhat like a cardboard. I guess I enjoyed her in the film and she did make for an interesting character since shes got more screen appearance. Danielle Panabaker plays as Jenna and she also makes for a decent chick in a horror film like this. She isn't great and nor does she look like shes trying to be, but she gets the part done. Travis Van Winkle plays as Trent and hes pretty funny in the movie. I wasn't impressed with his acting at all, but I still found his character to be amusing and something needed to break the tension away. We have the well built Derek Mears playing as Jason Voorhees. Mears does a good job of keeping Jason fresh and more well developed than the previous incarnations. He actually puts in effort and brings something new to Jason.
The visual look of the film is pretty good. The film is relatively new which makes the films source somewhat clean. I did detect some grain here and their that I found to be alittle distracting. I guess it was the directors choice to make the film much more stylized and seem alittle more older than it should be. I found the colors in the film to be generally good to some extent. While they aren't as vibrant and eye popping as some other films, but its good for a horror flick like this. Their are some scenes shown outside and these look generally good. Black levels are also nice and inky the way it should be. Their are alot of dark scenes and these scenes still look good despite the level of lighting. Flesh tones seem natural and not all waxy like some films. Detail is also pretty good and does the film some justice. This ain't a film to demo off to your friends, but its pretty good for a film like this. Their are a few scenes that seemed slightly soft, but overall its a good looking movie.
The soundtrack for the new Friday the 13th film is part good and part confusing. The music is composed by Steve Jablonsky who also composed music for the live action Transformers film and the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hes generally a good composer for horror films and seems to know what hes doing. However, his work on this film seems alittle off. The famous Jason theme that we all know and love is hardly ever used and their barely seems to be any music in the film. The sound effects do sound great and when Jason is slashing people, it all sounds good. I just expected to hear the theme song more than once. Friday the 13th features some good bass that is more than enough for a horror flick like this. Its loud and full of aggression. It packs a good one two punch that nails the gory scenes and makes them more effective.
Friday the 13th is a decent film and probably the best version your going to get. It does a nice job of bringing this old franchise to life and making it more modern, but it still fails to deliver a creepy satisfying experience. I'm glad they made Jason more effective and more human, but why does everyone else in the film just seem really dumb? I also didn't find the story to be compelling or interesting and focused more on drugs rather than Jason himself. The cast was decent and delivered decent performances, but they could have shown some more emotion. The visual look of the film is pretty good and features some striking black levels. The soundtrack is a hit and miss in some ways, but generally solid overall. I thought they could have used the famous Jason theme more often than its present, but the film still featured a good bass. I cant really recommend this film to those looking for a god horror movie. If your a fan of the previous Friday the 13th films than you might want to check this film out to see whats new and whats different, but I would probably wait for the DVD/Blu-ray version.