Movie Review

Film Review: Friday the 13th (2009)

friday-the-13th-2009-posterFriday the 13th (2009) is a complete disappointment towards the evolvement of the slasher film genre. Lest you think I was denigrating this remake capriciously, a thorough explanation is forthcoming. Because of the high-quality of the icky visuals found in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, directed Marcus Nispel in 2003, most were expecting the same with his efforts behind the lens of Friday the 13th (2009). Unfortunately, that is not the case. The downfall of this film began with the script written by Damian Shannon, Mark Swift, who wrote one of the best horror scripts, Freddy vs. Jason, you may ever read before it was deleteriously transformed into a feature film by director Ronny Yu. For that writing team to produce this lackluster, characterless fatuity is a talent reversal admirers of their previously mentioned script were probably not expecting.

The plot to Friday the 13th (2009) involves a one-scene back-story of Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears), marijuana, a missing girl, Whitney Miller (Amanda Righetti) and a killing spree almost completely spoiled by one of the film’s trailers created to promote this remake. As in most slasher films, the characters are given no depth once-so-ever. This was no big surprise though tragic that at least one person could not be given the gift of three dimensionality. What is also surprising is that the film’s kills, paid far more attention to than its characters, were so weak, humorous and “I’ve been here before.” The film had one good partial kill with an axe and another involving a boat.

The astute and knowledgeable horror lover will also note that the setting for the climax of Friday the 13th (2009) is shown at the beginning of the film, a tradition bludgeoned to death than spanked but followed by this film to the letter. Leslie Vernon goes over all of these splatter trappings and then some in the far superior and original homage to slasher films, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Leslie actually shows the viewer why certain things happen in slasher films in the non-traditional horror format of a documentary. Aspects of that formula that he lays down are more or less followed in Friday the 13th (2009). In Friday the 13th (2009), that formula is nothing more than a rehash with no new ingredients, as lifeless and dead as most of the thirteen plus characters in this film end up being. One would think in 2009, the stupidity trend would not be followed. You would be wrong, dead wrong. In the spirit of the aforementioned Friday the 13th (2009) trailer, here is Friday the 13th (2009) “asinine” rundown: Girl gets lightly burned yet somehow dies from it. Jason runs at a girl full throttle with a machete, aims it at her head, cut to her being chained up in an underground tunnel. The fact that the standard a**hole Trent (Travis Van Winkle) did not tell anyone their cell phones would be useless at the cabin. Jason killing a hick wood chipper out of the blue that posed no threat and that had been living in the same area as him. Trent running into the depths of the forest instead of down the road the police officer just came down free and clear. Jason fighting with the chained girl’s brother, Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki), leaving him alive for no reason, even though he has killed almost everyone else his hands have touched, and then going after the girl again. The one-liners during the final confrontation in the film and the ending to Friday the 13th (2009) also come to mind.

Let me ask you the reader a question: What was the reasoning behind dumping Jason’s body into the water? What purpose was that supposed to serve? Was it some kind of cathartic funeral service and through it, was Jason’s soul supposed to find peace? Were the survivors, as they watched their vanquished tormentor float distorted and lifeless from the surface down into the depths of Crystal Lake, supposed to gain some kind of finality to their ordeal, satisfaction of some kind? If any of these were the reasons behind that particular final scene, they all failed. This failure may have occurred because the scene did not have the correct gravitas, made no sense or that the characters involved were destroying valuable police evidence for no apparent reason. Didn’t Shannon and Swift think of any of this? Are the eyes of The White Tower truly blind? Was logic never an issue in the writing process? Having trim in the film obviously was. Shannon and Swift were given Friday the 13th (2009) because of their great work on the Freddy vs. Jason script and they squandered it entirely.

Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of Halloween was almost universally seen as not as good as the original, though many would admit that before he started the homage to the original Halloween (1978), Zombie had created something that could stand on its own and that was something new to Halloween universe. Michael Myers masking making hobby, how his cell was decorated and his early years in the mental institution are a few examples of this. In Friday the 13th (2009), no new aspects of Jason were explored or given any screen time. Mom’s head is off, time for Jason to start killing inconsistently, that’s it.

Friday the 13th (2009) is a quintessential example of The State of the American Horror Film. Instead of originating, Shannon and Swift decided to tell the same Jason story. They took the ending from the first film and added a new group of kill bait to replace those from Friday the 13th Part 2 (1980). Why not tell the story of how Jason Voorhees survived in the woods without a mother and father for all of his adolescent years? Tell how the town’s people knew about him and stay away from the area surrounding Camp Crystal Lake? It would have been interesting to see, that gap in horror lore meticulously filled in. As was mentioned in The State of the American Horror Film, this is the “Season of Remakes” and that was all that was done with Friday the 13th (2009), a repackaging. Think how innovative the first two Friday the 13th’s were. First you have the mother as the killer, the cool ending, and then in the second film, Jason takes over “the family business”. How many slasher films actually change killers from the first installment to the second and do so in a meaningful way? In the remake, it was all dropped and replaced with a nifty black and white opener.

Marcus Nispel’s Friday the 13th (2009) is a waste of the film stock it is printed on. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem is a more entertaining horror film than Friday the 13th (2009). That is one of the biggest stones I think I can throw at this film. It is disheartening when a horror icon is misused to cash in on its name value and the following it has cultivated over the years. Either that or the fact that this horror trend is in vogue and will continue for the foreseeable future.

Rating: 5/10

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

  • I was disappointed to see this was remade. I could see if they were expanding upon the original, or taking it in a new direction. It sounds like this did neither.

    I also really like Jared Padelecki on Supernatural, and I’m not sure why he felt the need to make a slasher film (like his co-star Jensen Ackles in My Bloody Valentine) when he’s already well known in this genre. Why not branch out and do something different like a character-driven independent film?

    I’m not even sure I’d rent this on DVD.

    Ninas last blog post..Hairy Nipples and Other Short Stories Called Blogs

  • I was disappointed to see this was remade. I could see if they were expanding upon the original, or taking it in a new direction. It sounds like this did neither.

    I also really like Jared Padelecki on Supernatural, and I’m not sure why he felt the need to make a slasher film (like his co-star Jensen Ackles in My Bloody Valentine) when he’s already well known in this genre. Why not branch out and do something different like a character-driven independent film?

    I’m not even sure I’d rent this on DVD.

    Ninas last blog post..Hairy Nipples and Other Short Stories Called Blogs

  • Thx for dropping by Nina.

    “I was disappointed to see this was remade. I could see if they were expanding upon the original, or taking it in a new direction. It sounds like this did neither.”
    Exactly my point. Go somewhere different, unexplored.

    Jared Padelecki was probably hired for Friday because of his work on Supernatural.

    Rent The Midnight Meat Train or Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon instead.

  • Thx for dropping by Nina.

    “I was disappointed to see this was remade. I could see if they were expanding upon the original, or taking it in a new direction. It sounds like this did neither.”
    Exactly my point. Go somewhere different, unexplored.

    Jared Padelecki was probably hired for Friday because of his work on Supernatural.

    Rent The Midnight Meat Train or Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon instead.

  • “One would think in 2009, the stupidity trend would not be followed. ”

    Ha, not I! It seems to be more popular than ever, in fact. Think of all the stupid spoof movies – Epic, Disaster, Superhero movies…

    Anyway, excellent review bringing in a historical perspective. There’s no way I would have seen this had I not had to review it, but at least I’ve filled my sucky horror movie quota for the year.

    Daniels last blog post..No Time To Catch Your Breath

  • “One would think in 2009, the stupidity trend would not be followed. ”

    Ha, not I! It seems to be more popular than ever, in fact. Think of all the stupid spoof movies – Epic, Disaster, Superhero movies…

    Anyway, excellent review bringing in a historical perspective. There’s no way I would have seen this had I not had to review it, but at least I’ve filled my sucky horror movie quota for the year.

    Daniels last blog post..No Time To Catch Your Breath

  • “It seems to be more popular than ever, in fact. ”

    @Daniel. I guess you are right about that.

    “There’s no way I would have seen this had I not had to review it”

    That may be the case but you most-likely got to see it for free. I am not at that point yet. I actually paid to see this and missed a showing of Donnie Darko because of it.

  • “It seems to be more popular than ever, in fact. ”

    @Daniel. I guess you are right about that.

    “There’s no way I would have seen this had I not had to review it”

    That may be the case but you most-likely got to see it for free. I am not at that point yet. I actually paid to see this and missed a showing of Donnie Darko because of it.

  • 790

    I hate mindless horror films!!

  • 790

    I hate mindless horror films!!

  • Finally, somebody who agrees with me on this horrible horrible movie.
    Did anybody else question the fact that Jason took Whitney hostage for 6 frakin weeks?

    Did Jason actually keep her alive, feed her roadkill for breakfast and make her a nice cozy bed of hay??

    Leslie Vernon is the epitome of a slasher comedy that was original as it was funny.

    Your right, the state of American horror can be heard with 2 words. Cha Ching and ZZZZZZZZZZ.

    the jaded viewers last blog post..Most Anticipated Exploitation/Grindhouse Movies of 2009

  • Finally, somebody who agrees with me on this horrible horrible movie.
    Did anybody else question the fact that Jason took Whitney hostage for 6 frakin weeks?

    Did Jason actually keep her alive, feed her roadkill for breakfast and make her a nice cozy bed of hay??

    Leslie Vernon is the epitome of a slasher comedy that was original as it was funny.

    Your right, the state of American horror can be heard with 2 words. Cha Ching and ZZZZZZZZZZ.

    the jaded viewers last blog post..Most Anticipated Exploitation/Grindhouse Movies of 2009

  • I totally agree. I sat back and read through your entire review.

    Whitney sure had a lot of energy for someone in captivity that long. Jason must have been feeding her Crab/Protein shakes and walked her back and forth to the bathroom as well.

    Leslie Vernon should have gotten the release this film did.

  • I totally agree. I sat back and read through your entire review.

    Whitney sure had a lot of energy for someone in captivity that long. Jason must have been feeding her Crab/Protein shakes and walked her back and forth to the bathroom as well.

    Leslie Vernon should have gotten the release this film did.

  • Had a friend watch this one and he had a total different take on it. Interesting that some really appreciated it while others did not.

  • Had a friend watch this one and he had a total different take on it. Interesting that some really appreciated it while others did not.

  • Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  • Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  • Great write-up. I definitely enjoyed the retraced steps the film took along the old movies. Given they could barely get the repetitive mangling right, they would have totally screwed up by trying to explain how Jason survived all those years in the woods alone.

    We needed more history on his mom. I absolutely hated the ending- made no sense AT ALL. I, too, wondered why he left Clay alive. If the dimwits behind the story had watched all the old films, they’d know the two girls should have survived and the dickish brother should have ate it. Heaven forbid two women become the survivors without a man to help them out. I also never understood why Jason would chain ‘his mother’ in the mine for six weeks either!

    That said, Jason killed the po-dunk chipper guy because he stole the weed from his territory. I assume Jason rolls fat doobies and then ventures out to murder anyone who’s stealing his stash. That’s why he was killed and not other townsfolk, though why po-dunk wouldn’t know not to trespass in certain areas is beyond me.

  • Great write-up. I definitely enjoyed the retraced steps the film took along the old movies. Given they could barely get the repetitive mangling right, they would have totally screwed up by trying to explain how Jason survived all those years in the woods alone.

    We needed more history on his mom. I absolutely hated the ending- made no sense AT ALL. I, too, wondered why he left Clay alive. If the dimwits behind the story had watched all the old films, they’d know the two girls should have survived and the dickish brother should have ate it. Heaven forbid two women become the survivors without a man to help them out. I also never understood why Jason would chain ‘his mother’ in the mine for six weeks either!

    That said, Jason killed the po-dunk chipper guy because he stole the weed from his territory. I assume Jason rolls fat doobies and then ventures out to murder anyone who’s stealing his stash. That’s why he was killed and not other townsfolk, though why po-dunk wouldn’t know not to trespass in certain areas is beyond me.

  • Thx RW.

    “they would have totally screwed up by trying to explain how Jason survived all those years in the woods alone.”

    That may be true but at least it would have been something new.

    “I also never understood why Jason would chain ‘his mother’ in the mine for six weeks either!”
    That made no sense.

    “That said, Jason killed the po-dunk chipper guy because he stole the weed from his territory.”
    That’s weak but it is a reason I missed.

  • Thx RW.

    “they would have totally screwed up by trying to explain how Jason survived all those years in the woods alone.”

    That may be true but at least it would have been something new.

    “I also never understood why Jason would chain ‘his mother’ in the mine for six weeks either!”
    That made no sense.

    “That said, Jason killed the po-dunk chipper guy because he stole the weed from his territory.”
    That’s weak but it is a reason I missed.

  • Very, very weak. I also thought Jason was stealing kerosene from the barn and killed the yokel just because. Either way, I’m surely over-thinking it.

    Reel Whores last blog post..Oh Mickey, You So Fine!

  • Very, very weak. I also thought Jason was stealing kerosene from the barn and killed the yokel just because. Either way, I’m surely over-thinking it.

    Reel Whores last blog post..Oh Mickey, You So Fine!

  • Even if that was the reason it was weak. Was this the first time he decided to steal kerosene? Now I’m over-thinking this…film.

  • Even if that was the reason it was weak. Was this the first time he decided to steal kerosene? Now I’m over-thinking this…film.

  • We must stop this madness!

    BTW, I passed on the Dardos Award to you. Don’t know if you do the whole blog awards thing or not. This is a new one to me.

    Reel Whores last blog post..I’d Like To Thank…

  • We must stop this madness!

    BTW, I passed on the Dardos Award to you. Don’t know if you do the whole blog awards thing or not. This is a new one to me.

    Reel Whores last blog post..I’d Like To Thank…

  • Thx rw. I never heard of the Dardos Award.

    The only way we can stop it is with our wallets.

  • Thx rw. I never heard of the Dardos Award.

    The only way we can stop it is with our wallets.

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