By Doug Cion
Let’s face it kids: when it comes to making films, we Americans have the least creativity and originality. So what do we do? We create a franchise and literally bleed it to death. Conveniently, we are right smack in the middle of this new Hollywood fad to take old scary movies and remake them to fit today’s standards of what is scary. In 2003, Marcus Nispel put a new spin on the 1973 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and just two years ago, the demon rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie reintroduced the father of masked, teenager-killing sociopaths, Michael Myers, in a Halloween remake. Then, released specifically last Friday in the year 2009, Marcus Nispel rears his shiny bald head again, and with the assistance of – gulp – Michael Bay. He takes another historic figure of the horror genre, Jason Vorhees, puts him on the same junk that A-Rod tested positive for and had him crash a party attended by teenage stoners – a frat boy, several blondes with big boobs, an inbred southern pervert and, of course, your token black guy with an Asian sidekick (who couldn’t act). So it is safe to say that, yes, this movie is just a cluster-schmuck of one cliché after another.
When the first Friday the 13th came out in 1980, the whole idea of the boyfriend going outside to investigate a strange noise while the half-naked girlfriend stayed in the house alone was an honorable act on his part, but slasher movies for the last 28 years have assured everyone that doing this is a sure fire way to get your head chopped off. I would think that after three decades of this, these stupid kids would figure out not to volunteer to go outside and see what made that loud noise. It happened twice, on top of awful dialogue and two non-white American characters who lived up to the roles that minorities in horror movies have had since the late 70s. Aside from his skin’s being black, Lawrence supplied the movie with enough comedic racism to remind the audience that there was a black guy in the movie who nevertheless carried out the stereotypic role of going out to battle the bad guy and get the best of him for a moment right before he is dismembered. Speaking of stereotypes and clichés, the Asian guy I mentioned before plays up his inability to talk to white girls and the fact he can’t dance right before he is – you guessed it, cut to ribbons and hanged from a support beam. Oh yeah, let’s not forget about the douchebag frat boy, who is really tough when it comes to all the guests he invites to his daddy’s big house, using his daddy’s boat and driving his daddy’s Escalade. But even for a guy with a gun, when confronted by Jason he screams louder than the four airheads whose only reason for getting their part in this movie was by screwing the producer, because NONE OF THESE BITCHES CAN ACT. It truly does help you understand why Jason keeps his face covered: he doesn’t want to be seen in this movie – an even bigger monstrosity then he is.
I would not consider this film a complete failure because it did do something revolutionary, and I am using that word loosely. The last few films that were remakes of classic horror movies like the ones mentioned before and like Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left that is coming out later this year, rather than adapting a different story line or creating a new origin story from the originals, Friday the 13th actually stays loyal to its history by combining the first four Friday the 13th films from 1980 to 1984 into this one. The first five minutes is a quick summary of Part I, the 20 minute introduction (the best part of the movie) is Part II, hunting the kids trapped in the house is Part III, and the resolution basically sums up Part IV, which was ironically titled “The Final Chapter.” I hope that future filmmakers who plan to recreate classic American horror movies will follow this same ideal, but then again, I hope even more that they stop making them altogether!