US (dir. Marcus Nispel)
Cast: Aaron Yoo, Amanda Righetti, Danielle Panabaker, Derek Mears, Jared Padalecki, Travis Van Winkle
Synopsis: In this re-imagining of the classic horror film, Clay searches for his missing sister in the eerie woods of legendary Crystal Lake, where he stumbles on the creaky remains of rotting old cabins behind moss-covered trees. And that’s not the only thing lying in wait under the brush. Against the advice of police and cautions from the locals, Clay pursues what few leads he has, with the help of a young woman 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.
Review: When you have something that like the “Friday the 13th” franchise which follows a very simplistic formula of teenagers in the woods (partying/screwing/drinking/getting high) you can’t really blame the writers and producers of the remake (or re-imagining) of the film for sticking to that formula. However with this latest Michael Bay “film”, you get a very formulaic plot with very bland and boring actors who sadly don’t even hold a candle to the actors of the 80s slashers who were generally bad as well (but at least they knew it). I spent the past few months trying to figure out why this “remake” was necessary, and after seeing the movie I’m still asking that question. Nothng new about Jason Voorhees gets revealed. There’s one choppy flashback of Pamela Voorhees getting beheaded by a hotter/wetter camp counsellor than in the original. We discover they didn’t bother changing the town from Crystal Lake to anything else again (like they did when they renamed the whole place Forest Green – as if anyone who lived in twon would forget the name). And nothing new about Jason gets revealed. I clearly remember hearing all this hype about how new Jason backstory would be revealed. All that ended up being revealed was that Jason lives in a mine shaft under a school bus near his old house. Wowee. Oh, and that he found his mask in some guy’s attic. Wowee. So nothing new gets revealed.
I’ve also never really specifically wanted characters in a movie to die, but some of the vapid, self-absorbed teens in this movie were just begging for death. They might as well have had “kill me” signs on their foreheads. One of the redeeming factors of the movie would have to be the fact that Jason can run a lot faster than previous films, and looks a lot more meaty. We also get to see his face (twice!) however both times I missed seeing it because it happened too fast. The beginning of the film looked (sorta) promising, but it just flopped later on. I’m sure the fine producers of such films as the TCM remake could have put a wee bit more effort into this, they could have even thrown in the Tommy Jarvis character just for fun, but unfortunately, they did not. It just ended up feeling like the producers/writers/Michael Bay read a brief synopsis of the first three “Friday the 13th” movies and then took the rest into their own hands, which is really a pity because they could have done so much more with this material.
There are basically two approaches they could have taken that would have made this remake a lot better. One, they could have tried for a very “campy” throwback to the 80s type of film and littered the movie with more raunchiness and fun. Or two, they could have pulled off something like the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake where there’s a very dark, unsettling tone to the film and any cheesiness would have been overshadowed. Instead, the movie ends up somewhere in the middle, but more closer to cheese.