A Nightmare on Elm Street: Ex Post Facto”) was brilliant and very courageous of New Line Cinema to green light that project. I’d thought it was a good movie, probably the best treated Jason Voorhees movie that New Line had made (at that point in time), and I really wanted a sequel—preferably adding Michael Myers to the mix. But, sadly, they did what most movie studios do these days and just started it all over again with a reboot. Much like a child, playing a game that’s not going so well and instead of seeing it through until it gets better, hit the reset button…start over. And that’s exactly what New Line did in 2009, getting Paramount back on board, together, making the reboot of Friday the 13th.
Now, I’m not too clear on the deal made to purchase the franchise rights to Friday the 13th back in the early 90s, but I think I had heard that Paramount Pictures sold the rights of only the characters and the Jason Voorhees name to New Line Cinema, but still had the rights to the moniker. If this is so, it makes sense why none of the three movies that New Line made—especially the first two—had the Friday the 13th name in the titles. Because of that stipulation in the contract (again, I’m not sure if this is true), it’s probably the reason why New Line had to share the distribution and release for the 2009 remake.
In any case, the deal was done, the movie was announced to be made, and fans were happy. But when it was announced that Michael Bay’s production studios, Platinum Dunes, was to produce the film, a lot of the fans began to worry. See, Platinum Dunes was responsible for the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its prequel, which fans of the original—and horror fans in general—did not like. However, I thought the movies were fine and I waited patiently and neutrally to see what would come of the Friday the 13th 2009 reboot.
Directed by Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Conan the Barbarian remakes), the film opens on a stormy night with basically a redo of the last ten minutes of the original 1980 film, as we see Pamela Voorhees (Nana Visitor) going after a female camp counselor (Stephanie Rhodes), meaning to kill her. But the girl has a machete, decapitates Mrs. Voorhees and runs off. Out from the wet brush comes a
First off, I’ve got to like how the filmmakers chose not to remake just the first movie, making the killer Mrs. Voorhees. It might’ve been a bit of cowardice on their part, because most new audiences only relate the franchise with the character of Jason Voorhees and wouldn’t accept a film without him in it. But let’s face it…even old school fans—like myself—wouldn’t enjoy it either. The franchise of Friday the 13th is synonymous with the name Jason Voorhees, so you’ve got to have him in this reboot. Overall, they’d made the right choice, for whatever their reason.
Another point that has been complained about, and I’d like to come to its defense, is the subplot of Jason holding a girl captive. A lot of fans say that’s something Jason wouldn’t do, that all he wants is to avenge his mother’s death by killing anyone who comes into his Crystal Lake territory. Yes, that’s a good stance to take if this was a continuing sequel from the original film. But seeing as this is a reboot, the filmmakers can go into another direction and have Jason do as he pleases…there are new rules and a new story, the character is not bound to repeat his conducts from the old films. Plus, wouldn’t it be boring to have a straight re-filming of the original movies? Isn’t it better to change up the formula?
Lastly, I thought it was a great idea to not only remake some of the first original film, but some aspects of the following sequels as well. Of course we see a little rehash of the climax from the original part one, then seeing Jason with the sack-head look of part two, getting his signature hockey mask as in part three, and featuring the avenging brother of a past victim as seen in part four. All that was done well, never feeling dragged on, and established the new generation of Jason Voorhees.
Speaking of the all new Jason, in this film he’s not just a lumbering serial killer, not some slow-moving or zombie-like murderer…no, in this one, he’s like some survivalist who has plans and thinks ahead. He has a hide-out that’s rigged on the outside to warn him of intruders. Yes, we have an intelligent Jason, one who runs and moves around swiftly, not just walking slowly and appearing out of nowhere. You’re able to see the reason why he does show up in places where it seems impossible. The film makes it clear that he knows the surrounding area of Crystal Lake and why he makes the area his home. Even though Derek Mears had some huge shoes to fill, he fit them perfectly and made the character of Jason Voorhees his own.
Now, after all the establishment of why he becomes who he is and how he gets his mask…all we’re left with is Jason stalking a group of kids in a cabin, killing them off one by one. None of the kills are really that original, some of them shock you, but all in all this film could’ve simply been another sequel to the original storyline. The only semi-original subplot within this film is the brother looking for his missing sister. Other than that, it’s just kids drinking, doing drugs, and having premarital sex—nothing more, nothing less.
I’m getting a little too longwinded here so let me give you my final “bit” on 2009’s Friday the 13th.
A more powerful and fast Jason gives the film more terror than felt in some of the later films of the 1980s franchise. Though not so unique in some of the killing sequences, fans of the old—as well as new—generation will enjoy this tremendously. It’s a step in the right direction, especially if they get the sequel off the ground, and there may be saving Jason Voorhees yet. Talks and rumors have intensified on the internet, from doing a found-footage type film to having no Jason in it (!), but a film is coming nevertheless. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks for reading…and I welcome any comments!