12 February 2009

At the movies: Friday the 13th.

Platinum Dunes must be stopped.

Their remakes of The Hitcher, The Amityville Horror, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre took beloved (well, except for Amityville) horror films of eras past and remade them as slick-looking, empty-headed drivel. And now, in taking the most brain dead of horror franchises, the Friday the 13th films, they've managed to take dumb films and make them even dumber.

They spent countless millions of dollars on production value (and the locations all look beautiful), but all the money in the world can't replicate the idiotic charm of the original Friday the 13th films, and the cast has absolutely nothing to do except get killed. Aaron Yoo, from Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, makes the best impression, but even he is simply bogged down by the utter ineptitude of this new Friday. And as for ostensible lead Jared Padalecki, he is much better served by his show Supernatural than he is by this film.

A new bunch of idiot teenagers is on their way to Camp Crystal Lake to see the sights, swim, do drugs, take part in some topless waterskiing, and have premarital sex. Naturally, they're doomed, and legendary slasher Jason Voorhees is sharpening up his machete, antlers, woodchipper, hatchet, archery set, and chisel to carve up some teenage meat. But without the subtext of the initial run of Fridays (up through Part VII or so), which combined reactionary mores, Cold War nuclear dread, and the shameful "me first" ideology of the 80s, there's simply no reason for this film to exist.

We have a few good kills, one exceptional kill (it involves a sleeping bag, but not in the way you'd expect), no quotable dialogue, and a pittance of gore. I was never dreading this remake, because the original Fridays weren't exactly a sacred text to begin with. But lo and behold, Platinum Dunes have managed to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of a beloved franchise. And they want to tackle A Nightmare on Elm Street next? Blasphemy.

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