Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Ten Days of Terror! Friday the 13th (2009)

Film: Friday the13th (2009)
Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on Fire!

I’ve never been a huge fan of the slasher sub-genre. I do like a good horror movie, but slashers are lwest common denominator stuff in general in my opinion. There are good ones that transcend the genre, of course, but most of them are nothing more than what Siskel & Ebert called “dead teenager” movies. You have a group of dumb teens who wander too close to something purely evil. The film starts out showing plenty of T & A and ends up with blood, machetes, and viscera. “Plotless” is a compliment for many of them, which is definitely true of the remake of Friday the 13th from 2009.

Because of this, the real difference in a lot of slashers is the identity of the person who is, to coin a phrase (or name a really good slasher parody), behind the mask. Most of them are just variations on a theme. The main difference between Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Victor Crowley, and a few others is the mask that they are wearing. This brings up a significant question—why remake a slasher rather than either make a sequel to an established series or start a new one? The answer is simple: name recognition. Even if you go into a remake of something like Friday the 13th relatively sure that it’s going to suck, you at least know it’s going to be Jason Voorhees behind the hockey mask and swinging the machete.

For a wonder, this remake actually starts with a bang. We’re given a quick version of what was essentially the original first movie—a mother crazed over the death of her son kills all of the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake until she is killed by the final girl. We pick up in the modern day where a group of five has shown up to the area moved at least in part by the promise of a massive field of wild marijuana. And, while the weed is definitely there, so is our friend Jason (Derek Mears), who makes short work of the group.

That seems off, right? Fortunately for the fans of slashers, another group is going to show up a few weeks later. I’m not going to bother to name most of them because they are completely interchangeable with each other for the most part. The ones we’ll need to worry about are Trent (Travis Van Winkle), who is the rich guy whose family house in the woods we’ll be spending time in and Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), his girlfriend. The other person we’re going to care about is Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki), whose sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti) was in the original group attacked by Jason.

What we discover over time is that Whitney, who evidently bears a certain resemblance to Jason’s mother, is still alive and is being held in captivity by Jason. Clay has arrived in the area to see if he can find his sister, and he runs afoul of Trent and his group, but Jenna takes some pity on him and helps him look for his sister.

But none of this is why we are here. We’re here to watch Jason run roughshod over the crop of young people who have shown up to have sex (although many of them don’t live long enough to get there), smoke a ton of weed (which they do), and then get killed in interesting ways by various sharp implements. And, more or less, that’s what happens.

Because slashers are frequently just a series of kills, they tend to be judged by the frequency, gore level, uniqueness, and overall quality of those kills. On that front, the Friday the 13th remake is a massive disappointment. Most of these kills are pretty standard fair. A swing of a machete, a fired arrow, a thrown axe. We’ve seen it all before, and honestly, that’s probably the biggest sin that a slasher can make. Jason Takes Manhattan is a stupid slasher movie, but Jason punches a guy’s head off. Nothing in this film comes anywhere close to that, and that’s disappointing.

The sad truth is that the only reason to remake Friday the 13th rather than making another film in the series is to give the audience some insane kills, the thing that is the raison d’etre for a slasher movie, and honestly would have been just as welcome in a cobbled together sequel (assuming a way could be thought of to get Jason back from space). And it’s exactly what we don’t get from Friday the 13th. The one saving grace this film could have had doesn’t exist in the film.

Because of that, it’s impossible to recommend this film. I figured that was going to be the case going in, and I was both right and completely disappointed in it because of that.

Why to watch Friday the 13th (2009): Because you admire the use of machetes.
Why not to watch: Even for a slasher, it’s dumb.


  1. I completely forgot this remake existed.

  2. This was crap. It just played too much into the conventions of horror in those times. Yes, I was happy to see some hooters but that's all it had going for. Well, that and killing a couple of people I don't like in that rich guy and that Asian stoner who used to be everywhere during that time. I hated that guy. He was annoying as fuck and the fact that I still remember Aaron Yoo is disgusting. I blame Ben Lyons for this. Worst fucking film critic ever. Yet, I thank him because he taught me everything on what not to do.

    1. Your relationship with Ben Lyons is mine with Rex Reed. For a long time, my decision to watch a movie was based on the idea that if Roger Ebert and Michael Phillips liked it and Rex Reed hated it, I was guaranteed to love it.

    2. Reed was a terrible critic but Ben Lyons is way worse. He is too much of a populist and compares this film to another. He called I Am Legend one of the greatest films ever made (right...). The likes of him, Shawn Edwards, and Pete Hammond are among the worst for their quote-lines to be on film posters. Yet, Armond White remains the worst with Cole Smiley a close second as I remember he used to have a Letterboxd account but got banned because he's an asshole.

    3. I recall Reed saying that True Stories was an argument that people should stop making movies.

      What a clown.