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DVD Review

DVD cover

Friday the 13th (2009)


Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Aaron Yoo and Amanda Righetti
Paramount Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 10 August 2009

Clay Miller is searching for his missing sister, and traces her to a small town a few miles from Crystal Lake. The law enforcement and locals seem less than helpful. However, when he arrives at the run-down Camp Crystal Lake he runs into a group of teenagers intent on a weekend away of drink, drugs and sex. With the help of Jenna, Clay searches the dilapidated cabins for clues to his sister’s presence. But they have encroached on the territory of Jason Voorhees, the notorious mongoloid killer, who watched as his mother was decapitated by a lone survivor...

Although the disc titles this film as Friday 13th: Part 12, it is actually a remake of not only the original but probably the first four films - with a slightly different but not too dissimilar plot. The makers quite obviously realised that the iconic figure of Jason is with the hockey mask, and any keen follower of the franchise (such as myself) knows that Jason’s mother was the killer in the first film, and that he wore a sack over his head in the second. It wasn’t until the third film that he donned the mask we all know and love. So what we get here is a brief re-filmed flashback to the moment when Jason sees his mother beheaded - inserted between the opening credits. Then there is a longer second segment wherein we see a group of college kids around a campfire, and a Ten Little Indians-like sequence as the adult Jason picks them off, before finding the hockey mask at a nearby farm.

A couple of changes have been made to Jason’s character. In this version he is a physically fit hunter, showcased by his accurately shooting an arrow from the shore through the eye of someone on a boat out on the lake. The explanation for this follows very shortly afterwards when clay (played by Supernatural's Jared Padalecki) and his love interest explore the rotting wooden house which Jason shared with his mother, and the camera sweeps across a handful of trophies, one of which is for archery. How ridiculous is that? Have these people forgotten that Jason was a deformed mongoloid, that he was only a very young child when his mother died, and that he has lived alone in the wilderness ever since? He might have found a sporting bow and honed his skills, but he's unlikely to have entered a competition?!

It's also rather surreal to witness the new Jason running; it doesn't really work in terms of upping the suspense. In actual fact, the cuts are so quick in a bid not to linger too long on the victims' downfall, that we are, as viewers, unable to glory in the inventiveness of Jason's killings - which is, after all, what the existing fans will want to do. The most impressive lingering image of Jason is when one of the college kids is in the lake and sees Jason standing on the shore watching her.

Needless explanations seem to be prevalent in this remake. For example, the reason that Jason has always been able to appear close to the action and disappear again is that the camp at Crystal Lake contains a network of underground tunnels. What?

Whether it is the fault of the editing or the not entirely convincing movements of the actor, Jason doesn't seem quite so powerful this time around. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad film, just not the best Friday yet that the cast and crew would have us believe. It certainly does nothing to harm the franchise. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Jason. We even get a few of the obligatory ki-ki-ki, ha-ha-has. All the hallmarks of the Friday franchise is here (apart, perhaps, from somebody being thrown through a window from the outside) but, like the recent Halloween remake, there is too much of a superfluous attempt to create a background to the central character over and beyond what was originally told. I'm sure I've moaned about this in the past, but just what is the point of remaking an old film, unless it was poor in the first instance and you can definitely improve upon the concept?


Ty Power

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