Film (with rating): Friday the 13th (R)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Summary: In search of his missing sister, Clay (Jared Padalecki) heads out to Crystal Lake where he and a group of college kids on a getaway weekend become prey for the infamous killer, Jason Voorhees.
Review: Ah, horror movies. My favorite. I adore this genre, despite the rarity of modern classic gems. Too often, movie directors toss in some stupid, sex-crazed teens and lots of blood and label it a “horror” movie. And that’s OK if what you’re hankering for is mindless television. But when I’m really in the mood for a real scary movie, I flip back to the classics. “Halloween.” “Carrie.” “Friday the 13th.” The latter was campy, predictable and downright awesome. The zillion (okay, 10) sequels (including the disastrous “Freddy vs. Jason”) never lived up to their original.
This latest chapter in the franchise is billed as a remake of the 1980 classic. Sad to say, it’s not. But then again, how can you remake a classic, anyway? I was quite skeptical when I heard someone was going to mess with the original, yet when I finally saw it, I wasn’t totally appalled. It could have been a lot better, but it also could have been horrid.
The new “Friday the 13th” is littered with 21st century details (iPod, anyone?) and technology, but director Marcus Nispel (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) doesn’t really add anything of quality to the story. There are plenty of stereotypical characters (but no camp counselors? What?), requisite nudity and predictable slashings, which don’t help the film stand out. Nispel throws in a selection of frightening moments and some true surprises, but the movie really doesn’t enhance the genre at all.
Yet at the end of the day, this is a horror film. A slasher flick. Who expects it to be high drama and clever twists? We know how they all end. We don’t watch horror films to learn about life lessons or to fall in love with characters, or even to enjoy the plot. We watch scary movies like “Friday the 13th” for cheap thrills, easy scares, gory moments and maybe, a chance to realize, hey, our lives aren’t so bad. There’s no hockey-mask wearing psycho chasing us through the woods. When that’s the bar you measure horror films by, “Friday the 13th” is a keeper.
Extra highlight: “Hacking Back/Slashing Forward” featurette
What to serve for dinner: This is a movie geared toward the teen crowd, so eat like a teen: take-out pizza and soda. For dessert, make yourself a camp favorite–s’mores (recipezaar.com)–in honor of those camp counselors Mrs. Voorhees chopped up in the original version.
* 2 graham cracker squares
* 1/2 plain chocolate bar
* 1 large marshmallow
On a paper towel, place one cracker square. Top with chocolate and marshmallow. Microwave on high for 15 seconds or until marshmallow puffs. Remove from microwave and cover with other cracker. Eat like a sandwich. Serves one.
What to talk about over dinner: What is your favorite horror film and why? What is the lamest horror sequel and why? Who is a better villain, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger? Why do you think horror movies are popular? What are some of the best 21st century horror films? “Saw” perhaps? Did you know Kevin Bacon was in the original “Friday the 13th?” Go ahead and bust out a few rounds of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Don’t know how to play? Try linking any actor, dead or alive, with Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. For example, Bruce Willis. He starred in “Mortal Thoughts” with Demi Moore, who starred with Kevin Bacon in “A Few Good Men.” Two steps. Got it? Now you try. Start with Danny DeVito.