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August 7, 2009

Friday the 13th

by Franz Patrick


Friday the 13th (2009)
★★ / ★★★★

Some said this was supposed to be a reset of the “Friday the 13th” franchise, but I think it was just a straight-up sequel. The first five minutes described what happened in the first installment and fast-forwarded to this film’s backstory about a nice guy with a conflicted past (Jared Padalecki) who was looking for his sister (Amanda Righetti). Of course, there was an obligatory first-group-of-kids-to-get-slaughtered-sequence where, if one was more than familiar with horror pictures, could instantly tell that none of them would survive or one of them would get enslaved. And yes, that’s right, this twelfth “Friday the 13th” consisted of the latter instance. I guess there would be no point in discussing how predictable this flick was. However, even I have to admit that I did enjoy certain scenes such as when Jason Voorhees started shooting arrows at people in the lake. It was so exciting because I didn’t know where he was; it was a little different because I was used to seeing him kill from a close distance. I also enjoyed rooting for the good-hearted characters played by Padalecki, Righetti and Danielle Panabaker–one of the girls from the second group of sheep to get slaughtered who had the least psychological/social problems. As for the rest of immature sex- and drugs-driven guys and girls, I really didn’t care about them. I was more interested in which interesting way they would get killed. Another thing I liked about it was that there was an underground labyrinthine lair under Camp Crystal Lake. The characters would go there and wouldn’t know where to go so I constantly wondered whether they would hit a dead end (and they did a couple of times). But after effective slasher pictures like the “Scream” series and even “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” starring Jessica Biel, this so-called sequel felt like a dud. I hated it when a character would go upstairs away from the group, knowing that a killer was out there patrolling outside the (fancy) cabin. The character then noticed an open window upstairs and the character would go further into the room. If I was in that situation, the moment I noticed that window open, I would run back downstairs so fast without even thinking about it. I sometimes wonder how the writers and directors approach the characters they’re creating. With a lot more common sense, more energy and less obvious references to films like “Halloween” (that revisiting-familiar-places-of-massacre sequence near the end was jarring), I would have liked this a lot more. But still, even I can admit that it’s probably the best “Friday the 13th” I’ve seen. (I think it’s a weak franchise overall.)

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