I recently saw the remake of FRIDAY THE 13TH and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was both an effective reboot and remake of this horror series.
What the new FRIDAY THE 13TH gets right (and where remakes of HALLOWEEN and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE failed) is cleverly combining re-made elements of the first movie (Jason Voorhee’s mother flashback scene) with a film that also feels like it is part of the on-going franchise (albeit better than the last few FRIDAY THE 13TH films).
The new film manages to introduce some new elements courtesy of Jason’s relationship with his mother but without going overboard with dippy psychology (like the HALLOWEEN remake)….It also clearly states that Jason is mentally retarded which is an interesting angle.
One important detail of 1980’s slasher films that remains intact and one could say improved on is the notion that the murderer is actually some sort of puritanical force that punishes teenagers who engage in sex, drugs, and other forbidden behavior….It is always the nice girl who survives at the end and the misbehaving teenagers who get killed.
The new movie is no different and starts out with a subplot about a near mythical gigantic field of marijuana plants in the woods….The characters who discover this field are quickly dispatched by Jason….There is quite a lot of sex and nudity in this film (more I think than the original series) and of course those who are involved end up murdered in horrible ways.
The Jason as indestructible killer element of the series is downplayed here except for the ending where he does indeed come back from the dead….Here Jason is much more clever and nimble and can avoid the various acts of violence that happen to him in the regular series….Instead, he strikes first and with great speed.
The original FRIDAY THE 13TH is a fantastic film….A well-made scary film with creepy visuals and a great ending….I had it at #66 on my list of best 100 films….Towards the end of the series of the many sequels, it started to get a little ridiculous with Jason fighting a psychic girl, going to New York City, going to hell(which might be like going to New York City), being put in suspended animation and waking up in the future on a spaceship, and battling Freddy Krueger.
The new FRIDAY THE 13TH gets the series back on track by not changing anything major but giving back the film a more serious tone with more scares for the audience and a more modern look….Slasher films are a guilty pleasure of mine but one doesn’t have to feel guilty when they are well-made.