Friday the 13th (2009)
Welcome to Crystal Lake.
Year of Release: 2009
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 106 minutes (1:46)
Director: Marcus Nispel
Jared Padalecki ... Clay Miller
Danielle Panabaker ... Jenna
Amanda Righetti ... Whitney Miller
Travis Van Winkle ... Trent
Aaron Yoo ... Chewie
Julianna Guill ... Bree
Arlen Escarpeta ... Lawrence
Ryan Hansen ... Nolan
Willa Ford ... Chelsea
Jonathan Sadowski ... Wade
Ben Feldman ... Richie
Nick Mennell ... Mike
America Olivo ... Amanda
Derek Mears ... Jason Voorhees
Nana Visitor ... Pamela Voorhees
College kids seeking a weekend of kicks have made a horrible mistake. They've come to party at Crystal Lake, the deadly domain of killer Jason Voorhees. Terror goes to extremes in this reimagining of the Jason legend for today's horror fan. Enter for the first time the subterranean lair that is Jason's den of fear. See him discover the mask that hides his deformed face. Experience a whole new level of fright and terror!
Friday the 13th redux, remindin' us that gettin' up at 3am to check your tripwire every time a raccoon scampers by is bound to make a man grumpy.
And speakin' of trash connoisseurs, Edgar Mastrude found out I was rakin' 1500% off the top of his tape rental operation and now he's threatenin' to sue me from here to Narnia if I don't turn over my consultation fees. 'Course he doesn't see it as a consultation, and when he found out about it he started throwin' around ugly phrases like "price index manipulation," which, I don't mind tellin' ya, was more'n a little bit hurtful.
Most employers're happy to have knowledgeable staff who know what their customers want and how to market it to 'em, but not Edgar. Nuh uh. He accuses you of "predatory curation" while peltin' ya with taco shell shrapnel. I mean, should I *not* be drawing on my exhaustive knowledge of schlock history and offering choice selections to folks browsin' the aisle for celluloid thrills purely on the basis that it *might* lead to competition between patrons? Seriously, is it my fault if three guys of similar taste happen to discover a new film conveniently catered to them via the store's TV set and decide, simultaneously, that they all wanna check it out? And if they do, what's the standard operatin' procedure for determinin' which one gets to rent it?
Edgar never could give me a satisfactory answer to that last question, other'n to say that an auction was apparently not it. Guy's lucky I don't call up the Freedom Caucus and report 'im as a suspected Communist, 'cause he certainly seems to reject the principles of supply and demand and a man's right to free enterprise. Lardass has no appreciation for the level of dedication required to know a person's film preferences, rental history, and size of the emotional void any given flick will be expected to fill to keep 'em from drivin' their pickup into Coon Canyon for another week. No foolin' - a guy's gotta be ready for anything.
Take last week, for instance - Buck McGurk, Archie Winthrop, and Dominic Dobble were all over in the Comedy section lookin' for a movie that could supply both the necessary chuckles and breastage to keep 'em from signin' up for the conjugal visit waiting list at the Soggy Valley Women's Correctional Institution. Now, obviously this ain't these guys' first brush with clinical depression, so it's a given that by this point they've all rented Porky's, Screwballs, Losin' It, and probably even H.O.T.S. a half dozen times apiece. They're DEPENDING on somebody to know about The Beach Girls and on which shelf it can be found, so what's wrong with makin' a little scratch on the side if it means savin' these poor saps from a trip through the meat grinder? I made $17 on that one when Buck and Dominic finally dropped outta the bidding, but there're no losers at the Videodome, and I set those two up with The First Time and Goin' All the Way as consolation prizes. So, as you can see, I'm just providin' a necessary social service that's reliant upon decades of late-night cable expertise that nobody else in Chickawalka County has.
'Course Edgar didn't find out about it till this afternoon once all the Friday the 13th titles'd been snatched up and all the hungover house husbands and night shifters from Stumpy's Lumber Mill and Renderin' Plant came in seekin' suitable alternatives for their house parties and poker games.
"No Jason? That's fuckin' gay," Blair Lemus announced just before a tremendous belch accidentally regurgitated a small amount of beer onto his Big Johnson shirt.
"It's Friday the 13th, shoulda been here sooner," I shrugged, sizin' up the situation.
"Yeah, well, Crystal kept me up all night," he bragged.
"Four times, dude," he elaborated slappin' Blake Bock on the shoulder and proceedin' to hump the divider separatin' the Horror and Science Fiction sections.
"Your ass must be sore, bro," Blake scoffed.
The other five guys just ignored 'em and kept searchin' for their Friday surrogates while I casually popped Sleepaway Camp III into the VCR, skippin' ahead to the lawnmower scene.
"Gnarly... I'll take the one on the tube, dude," Blair announced.
"The hell you are, I'm gettin' that. That chick's hot!" Blake butted in.
"I'll give ya $5 right now," Blair said, slammin' a mutilated Lincoln on the counter.
"Crystal been keepin' your allowance under 'er flabby tits again, bro? I wouldn't touch that thing without toilet gloves, man. Here's $6," Blake offered.
A few minutes later Blair left with the tape and I stuck Edgar's buck in the register before slidin' the $11.37 commission into my pocket. Okay, so I mighta exchanged those exact bills with ones in the register for sanitary purposes, but it was all on the level.
"He's gonna be pissed when he finds out the killer used to be a guy," Mason Whelchel chuckled.
"Or maybe not," Chip Waldis suggested, pokin' his thumb toward his mouth and mashin' his tongue into the far side of his cheek.
While the debate over Blair's private part preferences raged on I casually slipped past Maurice Fowler, plucked Don't Go in the Woods off the shelf, slid it into the Panasonic, and let it roll.
"Badass!" Blake hollered as the bear trap snapped shut on the geek's face. "Gimmie that one."
"Get bent, twerp. This one's mine," Satchel Gast asserted, handin' me his debit card.
"He did call it first," I shrugged at Satchel, citing 2nd Grade playground legal precedent.
"$3," Satchel haggled.
"$5!" Blake raised.
Final verdict - lent to Satchel for $14.
I won't bore you with the specifics, but here're the highlights:
The Burning - $16.75 to Maurice Fowler.
Cheerleader Camp - $14.00 to Chip Waldis.
Madman - a disappointing $12.68 to Blake Bock.
Russell Lankford nearly left with The Forest before I was able to locate somethin' both he and Mason Whelchel'd never seen before, but I stuffed Rituals into the tape player before he could escape with my profit margin.
"When's this from?" Mason asked.
"1977 - granddaddy of the forest slashers," I explained, puttin' on a facade of Robert Osmand-esque authority.
"Seems slow for a killer-in-the-woods flick," Russell remarked.
"Yeah, there's a little plot gettin' in the way of the story till they light Lawrence Dane on fire, but it's got a lotta historical significance," I added, having detected the scent of art appreciation waftin' offa both nerds.
"I'll take it," they chorused, openin' themselves up for mild fleecery and an ideal jinxing opportunity.
Having already witnessed five such situations over the last half hour, Russell immediately opened the bidding.
"$10," he began.
"$15," Mason challenged.
"Do I hear $20?" I asked.
"$20," Russell agreed.
"Twenty fi..." Mason started sayin' as Edgar came waddlin' in.
"Just how many movies... you boys plannin' on rentin'? You only... get 'em for a day... ya know," Edgar panted after the arduous journey from his Firebird to the front door'd nearly wiped 'im out.
"Thirty!" Russell growled, showin' visible signs of foolish pride and economic anxiety.
"30 tapes?! You must... be an even bigger dork... than this guy," Edgar gasped, swingin' his thumb in my direction.
"Dollars," Mason corrected. "And you can HAVE it!" he shouted as he walked out the door.
"What the hell's goin' on here?" Edgar managed between pulls on his 72oz Bladder Buster.
"Here ya go man, enjoy," I said as casually as possible, slidin' the cassette toward Russell.
But the rotten snitch spilled everything and queered the whole deal.
Edgar prolly woulda canned me on the spot if not for the fact that he's afraid of what Bambi might do to the Naval fleet if he's not around durin' the day to keep 'er libido satiated. Still, it's a load of un-American crapola if you ask me. But seein's how the demand for my particular skill set has seen a mild decrease over the last coupla decades I agreed to quit moonlightin' as an auctioneer and fork over the $8 I told Edgar I made bamboozlin' the rubes that day. Kinda makes you weep for the soul of Capitalism, don't it?
I hate when Friday the 13ths land on a Friday too, 'cause it means not bein' able start my marathon until everyone's cleared outta the Grime Time, and some of those old farts go into full-on hibernation mode after the first feature. Unfortunately, it's my sad duty to report that this's gonna be the last Friday the 13th review until one of the chunkheads at Paramount remember they own the intellectual property and decide to chisel a corner offa the next gold shipment bound for the set of Star Trek: Discovery so we can get another Friday sequel. 'Course, if you saw Jason X or Freddy vs. Jason you might think that's for the best considerin' Jason's been a fish outta water since New Line bought the rights and started acceptin' scripts from anybody with a set of Crayolas, but because Paramount actually got back in the game with this co-production, there's this teenie weenie little spark of optimism that makes you think MAYBE they're done givin' the franchise the Amber Heard treatment.
In the meantime, let's all cross our fingers and make an offering to the shrine of Joseph Zito, and partake of the wisdom offered unto us by the nice people who thought they could remake Friday the 13th without consequence. First, electrical rates become very reasonable when everybody's too scared to come shut off your service. Second, while hunting teenagers may be a time-honored tradition, using an illegal marijuana grow as bait during the spring break rutting season is considered highly unethical. And third, while roasting co-eds over a spit be sure to rotate evenly, lest the silicone breast implants explode and contaminate your prime cuts.
The movie begins with a flashback to 1980 where Mama Voorhees is raisin' the bar for chopper parenting and avengin' the loss of 'er special needs yard monster at Camp Crystal Lake, only when the literal losing of 'er mind converges with the metaphorical, the supposedly water-logged Jason emerges from behind a bush, collects 'er head, and decides to take it home with 'im 'cause he prefers 'er disembodied ramblins to Casey Kasem and the Top 40 countdown. Next thing, we're at now now, and a group of collegiate chunkheads're stompin' around Jason's woods lookin' for the remains of the camp so they can post last known whereabout selfies to their Facebook pages, 'cept it ends up gettin' dark and they hafta pitch tents and make sleepin' arrangements till the one that looks like he owns enough Magic: The Gathering cards to block out the sun (Wade) builds a fire and tells everyone about the camp's history and how he wishes his girlfriend from Canada was here so he could have all the sex with her. Then the couples (Richie and Amanda/Mike and Whitney) pair off and Wade hasta go tiptoe through the timber and reassure 'imself with fantasies about all the chicks he's gonna get when he moves out to Silicon Valley and lands a programmin' gig with Microsoft. This keeps 'im from burstin' into tears like a Santaphobic kindergartener on Christmas card photo day at Sears until he happens upon an illegal crop of skank weed, but in his haste to bogart the stash he doesn't notice the ganja guardian and gets lit up by blunt force trauma before he can find his rollin' papers.
Meanwhile, Richie and Amanda're makin' boonie poonie back at their basecamp until a silhouette the size of a Sequoia passes by their tent and Richie hasta stop the forest servicin' to go investigate. He finds Wade and is instantly overtaken by reefer sadness, but there's no time to grieve 'cause while that's goin' on Jason slings Amanda up over the fire in 'er sleepin' bag and starts fryin' up a batch of rotisserie chick, and when Richie tries to rescue 'er he ends up steppin' in a bear trap and strippin' mosta the hide off his drumstick. Elsewhere, Mike and Whitney've stumbled upon the remains of Camp Crystal Lake and a decomposing shrine to the dangers of overprotective parenting, when all the sudden a machete starts pokin' up through the floorboards and perforatin' Mike's appendages until the dry rot finally gives way and Jason drags 'im down into his brute cellar. Whitney detects the subtle hostility towards foreigners and logs a new record for the Women's Cross Country Mile on 'er way back to their campsite, 'cept Woodsy Scowl is only a couple lengths behind 'er, and when she tries to loose Richie from his predicament Jason parts his hair with a cleaver and whirls on Whitney as the screen fades to black.
Then we realize we can't believe a thing these screenwriters tell us 'cause all that stuff was actually about six weeks ago and that only now are we *actually* at now, and now there's a fresh gaggle of kids (Trent, Jenna, Chewie, Bree, Lawrence, Nolan, and Chelsea) buyin' up all the junk food at the Crystal Lake General Store and threatenin' to cause a flash flood warning from all the unchecked douchery on their way to Trent's trust fund retreat on the shores of fabulous Lake Blood. Meanwhile, Whitney's brother (Clay) is out putterin' around the bumpkin patch on his played-out Royal Enfield Bullet gettin' insight into the urban/rural divide and tryna track down his sister, and it's no wonder folks're suspicious of 'im, 'cause two minutes after he leaves this American Pickers' wet dream house Jason shows up and opens the jugular of the Copenhagen strainer who lives there for propositioning a department store mannequin. While that's goin' on, Nolan and Chelsea take Trent's boat out on the lake and Jason hasta William Tell Nolan through the eyeball while he's drivin' and puncture the part of his brain that controls the motor pathway he needs to take his foot off the gas before he runs over Chelsea in the Bass Monster. After the hull bounces off 'er skull she's more confused than an armadillo on a croquet lawn, so she swims under the dock and tries makin' like a stump hopin' Jason won't notice till he gigs 'er brain like a bullfrog in a drainage ditch. While all this's been goin' on, Clay's stopped off at Chateau Frat Bro to ask about his sister and passively stolen Jenna away from Trent by actin' all broody and sensitive and they go nosin' around the camp till Jason comes home and they hafta split before he does it for 'em.
Unfortunately, after a single minute inside Trent's pad, Clay's backpack has become saturated with the scent of pot, booze, and premarital sex, so he hasta leave it behind or else Jason'll be able to trail 'em from here to Honolulu, and when Jason finds the pack he takes it down into the secret maple syrup smugglin' tunnels beneath the camp that stretch clear to Toronto and lays it down next to Whitney who's bein' kept alive due to her resemblance to Jason's mama and the much-needed woman's touch she's brought to the place. Then Clay and Jenna trigger a tripwire in the woods that alerts Jason to the presence of oversexed hormones, 'cept when he takes off after 'em Whitney's able to find a pin inside Clay's bag, pick the lock on 'er shackles, and escape the tunnel before any long lost Viet Cong soldiers find 'er. Clay and Jenna make it back to the house that Sachs built to warn the remaining kids about Jason, 'cept by this point Trent's upstairs with Bree siring a race of preppies that'd make Jared Kushner look thug, and Chewie's down at the toolshed about to open a bottle of 100-year-old scotch until Pain Gretzky finds 'im and makes 'im settle for a screwdriver. A few minutes later Whitney makes it to the house and tries bangin' on the window for help but her screams are drowned out by the thunderous clapping of yuppy love, at which point Jason recaptures 'er and stuffs 'er back down into his basement to rot alongside his Y2K survival supplies.
Then Lawrence grabs a self-defense wok and goes to check on Chewie but Jason picks up a splittin' maul and extends Lawrence's butt crack an additional 14 inches up to his T11 thoracic vertebrae before sneakin' into the house through a second story window and impalin' Bree on a pitiful set of deer antlers so there'll be a decent rack hangin' on the wall. Fortunately somebody managed to get a call off to the county mountie before the phone cord got cut, but as soon as the sheriff sets foot on the porch Jason drops down off the roof and rams a fire poker through his eyeball to avoid a 20 year slashing sentence in the penalty box. As you can imagine, composure is in short supply, so Trent takes off through the woods till he makes his way to an old two-track where he purt'near gets smooshed into ivy league lasagna by a flatbed pickup and it's lookin' like he may live to polo another day, but before he can climb on Jason comes up from behind and chokeslams 'im onto the truck's bale spikes. Elsewhere, Clay and Jenna make their way inside Jason's perimeter despite his position on trespassin' and they're able to break Whitney's chains just in time to turn back toward the exit where a visibly frustrated tenant's preparin' to give the ole Castle Doctrine a serious workout. This's about as far's I can go without givin' away the ending, but if you'll notice, we've still got two female survivors, and if you've been payin' attention durin' the last 30 years you know that's just not gonna fly.
Alrighty, well, everybody else was gettin' remakes that nobody asked for, so I guess somebody figured it'd be rude not to haul Jason's bones up outta the ground for another go too. I think that if you're bein' objective you'd probably hafta admit that the Friday the 13th reboot is less painful than most, and that probably stems from the original Paramount series being consistently entertaining, if not especially groundbreaking. When the studios started remaking classics like Chainsaw, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween, some folks (myself included) tended to get a little P.O.'d on the basis that there's almost nothin' to improve upon, but it's tougher to get worked up about a Friday the 13th retread given that it was just a marginally above average flick that happened to hit theaters at the right time. It's also fair to say that, while the Friday series' rewatch value is on par (or better) than those other franchises, it must be acknowledged that they weren't as strong on a technical level, nor as culturally significant as the other films - thus, the idea of a reboot is somewhat less offensive due to the difficulty involved in screwing up such a simple formula.
I should probably stop calling it a remake anyway because not only is it inaccurate for the obvious reason that people wanna see Jason rather'n his mama, but this reboot is different from its contemporaries in that it's essentially a greatest hits compilation of key events and fan-favorite moments from the original series, focusing specifically on Parts 2 - 4. Of greatest significance, it includes Jason's transition from the pillowcase to the hockey mask, the final girl's resemblance to his mother as an important plot device, the candle shrine to his mama's severed head, as well as prop callbacks (his mother's sweater, the wheelchair, etc.) and multiple murder methods that mirror those from previous entries in the series. This is precisely what needed to happen because recreating the past with specific examples goes a long way toward blunting the aggression of an audience that's looking for a reason to hate what you've made before they've even seen it. Nonetheless, the Friday the 13th movies are inescapably linked to the 1980s, and within the horror community, every sequel produced post '80s is generally regarded as inferior to the original Paramount series to the point that some would prefer to ignore their existence entirely. In short - despite being closer in structure and tone than any entry since Jason Takes Manhattan, this movie shouldn't exist; not because it's bad, but because you simply cannot go home again.
In any event, some nice people tried to reinvent Jason for a modern audience, so showin' my gratitude by actin' like a crotchety old grump and questionin' their every decision is probably the least I can do. The plot... alright, first thing - let's just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Jason's not being controlled by a Heinleinian supernatural devil maggot, bearing the brunt of Freddy Krueger's sardonic wit between poorly rendered CGI fight scenes, and has not been beamed into space in the year 2455. I realize that may not sound like much, but so far this flick hasn't shot itself in the dick five seconds out of the starting gate and that's kinda the bar for Friday the 13th sequels post 1989. For all intents and purposes, we've got a by-the-numbers Friday the 13th movie with suburban yuppies drinkin', smokin', and fornicatin' in Jason's woods like God, Sean Cunningham, and Victor Miller intended. Isn't it a nice feelin' to finally get a little aloe on that sunburn that's been drivin' ya nuts for the last 29 years? Very refreshing. My only real quibble is the attempt to explain Jason's ability to move around the camp so quickly by introducing a series of underground tunnels into evidence. I don't think anybody ever took these movies seriously enough to get genuinely upset by this aspect, and trying to clarify this point feels similar to Rob Zombie trying to explain why Michael Myers is evil - albeit on a much, much smaller scale. Beyond that, you've got the requisite boost in the overall sadism as is standard in all horror reboots, but no matter what ya thought of the finished product there's no disputing that this is the first Friday the 13th movie that actually feels like a Friday the 13th movie in a long, long time.
The acting is professional and includes a cast of talented young actors and actresses who all look like they stepped out of a series on the WB, and that's because most of them did. Call it bigotry against the beautiful if you like, but for me, there's a casting phenomenon that occurs when everyone in the film is so perfect in their appearance that the casting director actually manages to make the flick unrealistic due to a lack of average human beings. It's fine to have a few cast members who look better than 99% of the population, but when everybody looks like a contestant on America's Next Top Model it actively damages suspension of belief. And going back to the topic of trying to recreate the magic of the original films, where the heck is our updated version of Crazy Ralph? That woulda been an excellent opportunity to include the character actor that this movie is sorely lacking. A Mary Woronov or a Michael J. Pollard really woulda smoothed this thing out a little bit, but instead we got an Old Navy commercial 'cause somebody decided that moles, wrinkles, or, God forbid, a fat fold, might cause an entire generation to abandon their fitness and beauty regimens and develop an actual personality. I like Derek Mears though, and the one bad thing about the franchise laying dormant for over a decade is that Derek's right up there with Kane Hodder and Ted White as one of the best Jasons in history, and he coulda been the guy to carry on that character's legacy. Anyway, just to be clear, there are no bad performances in this movie. None. Just, please, if ya decide to make any more of these flicks, give us an authentic cross-section of society and maybe include a couple people who can't talk their way out of a traffic ticket, how 'bout it?
Here's who matters and why: Jared Padalecki (Cry Wolf, House of Fears, House of Wax 2005), Danielle Panabaker (Time Lapse, Piranha 3DD, The Ward, The Crazies 2010), Amanda Righetti (Captain America: The First Avenger, Return to House on Haunted Hill), Travis Van Winkle (Bloodwork, 247 Degrees Fahrenheit, Asylum, Left in Darkness), Aaron Yoo (Demonic, Disturbia, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010), Derek Mears (Swamp Thing 2019, Freaks of Nature, From Jennifer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014, Dead Snow 2, Hatchet III, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Predators, Hellbinders, Resident Evil: Degeneration, The Hills Have Eyes 2, Cursed, Signs, Men in Black II), Jonathan Sadowski (Chernobyl Diaries, The Devil Below), Julianna Guill (Captain America: Civil War, The Apparition, Mine Games), Ben Feldman (As Above So Below, Cloverfield, 400 Days, Them 2007), Arlen Escarpeta (Final Destination 5, Wolves at the Door, Star Trek Into Darkness), Nick Mennell (Halloween 2007, The Lost Tribe, The Black Waters of Echo's Pond), America Olivo (No One Lives, Maniac 2012, The Thirst: Blood War, Iron Man), Kyle Davis (The Hitcher 2007, Shortwave, Skinwalker Ranch, The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu, Resurrection Mary), Richard Burgi (The Green Inferno, Hostel II, Final Frequency, Crystal Skulls, Starship Troopers 2, I Married a Monster), Chris Coppola (Beowulf, Shadow, Bloodrayne 2, Undead or Alive: A Zombedy, Spider-Man, Spawn), Bob King (The Lashman), Nana Visitor (Major Kira on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Resident, They Are Among Us), Stephanie Rhodes (The Seventh Day, The Harrowing, Phobia, The Locker).
The shamefully lengthy list of mainstream credits are as follows: Jared Padalecki (Cordell Walker on Walker, Sam Winchester on Supernatural, Dean Forester on Gilmore Girls), Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow on The Flash, Julie Stark on Shark), Amanda Righetti (Madeline on Colony, Grave Van Pelt on The Mentalist), Travis Van Winkle (Lt. Danny Green in The Last Ship), Aaron Yoo (Russell Kwon on The Tomorrow People), Jonathan Sadowski (Trey in Live Free or Die Hard, Josh Kaminski on Young & Hungry), Julianna Guill (Becca Riley on Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce), Ben Feldman (Jonah on Superstore, Fred on Drop Dead Diva, Michael Ginsberg on Mad Men), Arlen Escarpeta (Sam Walker on American Dreams), Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas on Veronica Mars), Kyle Davis (Karl Mayer on Desperate Housewives, Jim Ellison on The Sentinel), Nana Visitor (Nancy Feldman on Ryan's Hope), Kathleen Garrett (Dana Burns on The New WKRP in Cincinnati).
The special effects lean moderately towards the practical side, but there are some very unfortunate instances of CG muckin' up the proceedins. In particular, most of the weapons were computer generated to prevent a repeat of all the cast members who were killed and maimed in previous movies due to the use of plastic props. Or something. I imagine that if Tom Savini checked this one out in the theater he prolly hadda keep a barf bag handy to accommodate his professional disgust, 'cause phony machete blades and arrows stickin' outta people's eyeballs in a Friday the 13th movie border on sacrilege. Thankfully, many of the effects are practical and include a calf muscle torn apart by a bear trap, Mrs. Voorhees' rotting head, a severed ear, a screwdriver in the throat, an axe in the back, and numerous machete impalements that, with the exception of the blade itself, look pretty good. In the extended cut, some of these scenes drag on long enough to be comparable to the gross-out effects from a Lucio Fulci movie, and that's both an unusual and welcome sight for a modern horror flick. You could even argue that this is one area where a remake/reboot could improve on the original flicks given that it was the Friday the 13th series that caused the MPAA to crack down on gore effects in the '80s. And with the exception of the sickening computer-generated stuff that wipes out some of the good work done by the guys buildin' the practical effects, on a technical level, the remake's effects are of a higher quality.
The shooting locations, while very different from those of the original films, are decent, with one very glaring exception. Parts 1 & 2 were shot in the Northeast, while Parts 3 & 4 were filmed in California, so the Texas locations on display for the reboot are like nothing we've seen in a Friday flick up to this point. Consequently, because it's set in New Jersey, this does cause a bit of a disconnect due to the visible humidity and the lack of hostile elements that have sometimes come into play throughout the series. If you're able to look past the dissimilarities between this new forest and those of previous flicks there's a lot to like, but getting back to that glaring exception - it must be said that there's nowhere near enough infrastructure here to approximate an abandoned summer camp. It seems like they tried to create something more in line with the lean-to Jason called home in Part 2, and that would have been fine had they not affixed Camp Crystal Lake signage to it. I suppose you could argue that Jason tore down most of the buildings if you want to, but a big deal is made in the early goings about finding the camp - and what they find is pretty underwhelming. The lake is alright if a bit small and surrounded by vegetation we're unaccustomed to, and the junk shop and general store are alright, but ultimately the aesthetic feels too much like that of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and once you understand that it was made by the same production company and the same director, it cannot be unseen.
The soundtrack is probably the element in which the film diverges most from the flicks that came before, and just to hammer home the point about the atmosphere taking its cues from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake - Friday the 13th has the same composer as the two Platinum Dunes produced Chainsaw movies. It's not a bad score, but the only Friday film to which it bears any resemblance at all is Part VII, which was the first entry in the series not to feature a soundtrack by Harry Manfredini. The synth elements are nice, it's got a strong, driving beat, and it's intense in all the right places, but if you were to listen to it in isolation without the movie you might never guess that it had any connection to Friday the 13th at all. Admittedly, in the year 2009 the manic violin-based scoring from the original Paramount series would be so unbelievably dated and cheesy that it alone could potentially destroy the flick. That said, if done properly, sprinkling those strings around in small bursts would have checked an important box for nostalgia-seeking fans of '80s horror, and consequently, this was a missed opportunity.
Overall, because it misses the mark atmospherically, the Friday the 13th reboot is, by the slimmest of margins, a failure from a technical standpoint. The computer effects don't help matters, but at the end of the day, it just doesn't quite feel like Friday the 13th. That said, the entertainment value is strong enough to compensate for its technical deficiencies, and it comes recommended to fans of the series who long for the days when Jason was but a lowly mortal stickin' it to the generation that cut down his mama.