Friday, 7 October 2011

Schlocktober Review: Friday the 13th Remake

Oh Michael Bay. Purveyor of modern schlock and mediocre at best summer blockbuster fare. I would compare his directing style to Ed Wood or Uwe Boll, but Bay has the audacity to actually make money on his piece of crap films. His production company Platinum Dunes has their greasy handprints all over this movie as well as other recent horror remakes such as the new Amityville Horror, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and TCM: The Beginning cause everybody was so looking forward to seeing Leatherface’s origin story).  To be fair Friday the 13TH isn’t directed by Bay as that particular “honor” goes to Marcus Nispel who directed some other crap remakes, but his dark presence is felt throughout. Nispel isn’t a strong enough director to add anything particularly new or flashy to the movie, and the writers, all four of them if that’s to be believed, only had a few interesting things to add. So through default I get to blame Bay for this, as everyone else is too incompetent to truly be held accountable.

So why am I acting like Mr. McGrumpy pants when all Bay is doing is remaking some dumb slasher series? (At least he isn’t going after quality horror movies series like…ummm…uhhh…Hellraiser? Yeah, sure, let’s go with that).  Well let’s find out in a snark by snark synopsis.

So the movie starts off with a black and white scene intercut with the credits where some unnamed bimbo is being stalked by a middle aged lady wielding an axe. It’s revealed that she’s Jason Voorhees’ mom, and she’s taking revenge against the councillors who let her son die at camp. The bimbo finds a nearby machete and out of desperation cuts off Voorhees’ mom’s head. It’s a nice little throwback to Friday the 13th  Part One, and it shows that at least someone on the production team actually saw the first movie. Of course since it’s a Bay production the next shot is of a young Jason picking up his mom’s locket and running off and I have to face palm because logic’s been thrown out the window. If Jason is showing up as a child, then does that mean he’s still alive? It doesn’t really look like he drowned, but the movie ‘s too dark to tell. If he’s alive then why the fuck does Pamela Voorhees (yep that’s her name from the originals although I don't think it ever gets mentioned in this one) go on a killing rampage? If he is dead then why then how the hell did he grow into that giant undead killing machine that we all know and love? I know it showed a kid Jason at the end of the first movie, but that was implied to be a dream by the final girl. Goddammit, remakes are supposed to clear up confusing aspects of the original, not pointless highlight them without bothering to provide an explanation.

After that we’re introduced to a bunch of characters so lacking in personality I’m not going to bother listing their given names. Instead I’ll call them all meatbags and add a number in the order of their deaths. They’re about to head off on a weekend camping trip near Camp Crystal Lake. Before one of the characters is the sister of Jared Padelecki, so I’ll call her Pad sister. Padelecki warns her to stay safe in a brief scene clearly meant to provide context for his arrival later in the movie. As you can guess the meatbags talk about weed, beer and pussy and provide shitty dialogue that doesn’t endear them at all. Meatbag 1 provides some exposition, explaining Jason’s backstory. Which might’ve been necessary if we hadn’t  just seen it five minutes before, thus proving the movie has no faith in the audience and just assumes we’re all retarded. Also, how the fuck does Meatbag 1 know that Jason’s still around? The bimbo didn’t see him before she ran off, and we haven’t seen anything else to show that. I guess he must be psychic, like the final girl from Friday the 13th Part 7, but if that were true then he might’ve had some warning about what was going to happen to them.

Anyways, Meatbag 1 is goes off into the woods to find some legendary marijuana patch (cause we all know that Jason Voorhees loves himself some reefer) and some of the other characters proceed to fuck. And yes, we do get to see some titties, though by the look of it they’re more plastic then the movie’s DVD case.  Meatbags 3 and Pad’s sister take a leisurely stroll in the creepy woods and find a shack, where they see Jason’s bed from when he was a child and the locket from six minutes ago that shows that Pad’s sister looks like Jason’s mom. What could it mean I wonder? They also discover Jason’s shrine, a nice call back to the second film and it’s genuinely kind of creepy. Although most shrines usually are.

As you can tell the sex and stupidity of these characters attracts the Voorhees and he proceeds to off them. I hae to give the movie credit in that the death scenes are usually well done, and don’t just involve his classic machete or axe. Though Meatbag 1 meets his maker in the classic sharp knife to the head, Meatbag 2 is dragged out of her tent, trapped in her sleeping bag and roasted alive over the camp fire and Meatbag 4 gets his leg caught in a bear trap which, I’ll admit did make me wince a little. The kills so far are somewhat clever for a Friday the 13th film.

Over at the shack Jason apparently teleports back and attacks from below, punching his machete  through the floor and managing to get Meatbag 3’s foot sliced before he drags him through the floor. Pad’s sister promptly gets the fuck out of there and meeting up with Meatbag 4 tries to get him out of the bear trap, but then Jason shows up and promptly axes that plan. As well as Meatbag 4’s face. (Okay, fine that joke sucked but at least somebody’s trying to provide some comedy bits since the movie sure as fuck isn’t trying to.)

A quick glance over at the time tells that we’re only twenty minutes into an hour and forty five minute film, and then we get the title. Yep, that was two prologues for a slasher flick. Why do I get the feeling that this movie is simultaneously trying too hard and not hard enough at the same time? Le sigh.  

We then get introduced to our new round of the meatbags who’re set to do the same partying as the first group except this time they’re doing it at a cabin. It’s been a few weeks since the first meatbag killing and Padalecki is looking for his sister when he comes across this new batch. One of the meatbags actually manages to differentiate himself by being a complete douche and trying to get Padalecki to move out of the way as he’s trying to convince a convenience store clerk to put up some flyers of his missing sister. Seriously douchebags like this only exist in fictional constructs such a horror remakes or a list of Michael Bay’s fans. Zing!

Padalecki drives off on his motorcycle only to be stopped by cop who tells him that they’ve already looked for his sister. He posits that she just ran off with her boyfriend. And they’re friends as well apparently. And nobody’s heard from them in weeks. He then implies that they’re probably all dead anyways. How…what…wha…? I know cops are supposed to be useless in slasher flicks but do they have to be retarded? Unconvinced, Padalecki continues his search and the movie intercuts between that and the meatbags’ party. Douchebag proves to live up that name I just gave him by being anal retentive about his cabin and being a dick to his girlfriend for no reason.  Even the stupid antics of the two comic relief characters (coincidentally the black guy and the Asian guy, cause nothing says comedy bits better than non-Caucasian people am I right?) isn’t enough to make these scenes memorable.

Padalecki drives around and meets with people that look like slightly less inbred members of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and he’s told by the first one that his sister’s probably dead. Hmmm, two characters saying she’s dead within ten minutes of one another? Who wants to bet that she’s still alive and being held captive by Jason due to her resemblance to his mom? Anybody?... No?

Anyways we also meet up with some hick and his woodchopper and the only difference between the two is that one is unfairly labeled for their deviant uses in horror movies and the other’s a wood chipper. Only one of them will show up in the climax to provide Jason’s death. Author’s note:  As I’m writing this part I haven’t actually seen the end yet,  I just know shitty horror movie set-ups when I see them.

After Padalecki leaves the hick hears a noise upstairs and when he goes to check on it he reveals a mannequin under a sheet. He proceeds to caress the mannequin and tell her he’s glad he lost his virginity to it (fuck I wish I didn’t have to write that last sentence). Jason shows up to put him and the audience out of their misery and he finds his trade mark mask next to the manniquin. In the writers words they explained that one of the reasons they decided to do the remake was to re-visit iconic scenes from the first few movies. So if I understand it your big mask reveal was to reveal that it used to be owned by some hick mannequin fucker who Jason killed? Bravo, screenwriters, bravo. I’m glad to see you’re using your remake to add some real relevance to the series.
Meatbags 5 and 6 are out naked waterskiing on a lake when they get Jason’d. Meatbag 5 gets an arrow to the head and with no one at the wheel of the boat it smacks Meatbag 6 upside the head. Bleeding she sees Jason and tries to swim away from him and instead of say swimming to the other side of the lake decides that hiding underneath a dock nearby is close enough. Showing that the screenwriters are running out of creative ways to kill people Jason stabs through the dock and into her head.  I should also mention that Meatbag 6 is played by Willa Ford, who you might remember from ten years ago as a pop-singer and spank bank material in Maxim magazine. She had her one big hit in a song called “Wanna be Bad” that apparently described her acting ability. Le zing! We also get to see her tits in this movie, which would’ve been cool in high school but now doesn’t even make my actresses-whose-tits-I’d-like-to-see bucket list. And let me tell you it’s a pretty big fucking list.
Padalecki ends up at the party cabin, and since her boyfriend’s being such a douche douchebag’s girlfriend decides to help him search for his sister. They end up at Camp Crystal Lake and see Jason from afar. He can also operate electrical equipment and knows how to run a generator. They also see Jason’s carrying around body parts and as they rightly get the fuck out of there the camera swoops down to reveal that Jason has a secret base below ground, where he’s keeping Padalecki’s sister. Called it.
                If you’ll permit a small digression I have to say that what I’ve described could make a fine enough Friday the 13th movie on its own. Guy goes searching for his sister who’s being held by Jason cause she looks like his mother while some nearby meatbags party and get knocked off. Adding twenty plus minutes to establish that to provide backstory is fucking retarded because EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS THIS. Those who don’t can fucking Google it. We don’t need to see Jason’s mom killing people. We don’t need to see how Jason got his mask. We don’t need a second prologue to show he kills people too. Especially since they don’t do anything new or exciting with the remade material. The one new part that actually works is the survivalist aspect to Jason’s character, and since he’s shown a few elements of that in past movies they could’ve added it to the film and nobody would’ve minded. The remake material is padding to add twenty minutes to a movie that could’ve easily done without it. The only purpose here is to stroke Michael Bay’s ego because he’s now the king of horror remakes while the whole experience feels like the filmmakers are taking a giant dump in the audience’s eyes. I haven’t seen a bigger attempt at pissing off the fans since the Star Wars prequels.
Ahem, anyways, Padelecki and douche’s girlfriend head back to the party to warn them about the crazed killer in the woods. We see the usual stuff from a slasher flick: Asian guy goes to the shack for some contrived reason and gets killed, douche and Meatbag 7 go fuck where we get to see another set of tits, they don’t believe Jason’s there til he shows up and murders the fuck out of the rest of them until douch, Padelecki and douche’s now ex-girlfriend get the fuck out of there. Oh the dumb cop dies because while the characters do something smart and actually call the cops, the cops decide to continue their CLPD tradition of insane stupidity and only send one officer. To go after a crazed killer. That the locals semi-know about. Wow, if there’s anything that you can take away from these movies is that sometimes Natural Selection can still apply to our modern society. If only it would apply to screenwriters and shit producers.
After douche gets killed in a scene that doesn’t fucking go on long enough considering this is the character the audience wants tortured the most, we see Pad and ex-girlfriend running through the woods. Which is fine until we see that they’re heading to Camp Crystal Lake. Why? Because they only had so much logic to go around and it was all used up when they called the cops. They find Padelecki’s sister and free her, but then douche’s ex gets the stabbed. Awww, single tear.  Pad and sis try to run away, but then get cornered on an overturned bus and he gets his face rammed into a window. Jason decides not kill him because he’s a main character or something and tries to go after Pad sister but she beats him off.

What? No, not like that you perverts. God that’s disgusting.

Anyways to no one’s surprise they end up back at perv-hicks barn with the wood chipper and we get a darkly lit end fight. What’s that? You can’t make out anything cause it’s so dark? Well, that’s actually fortunate since what we do see is pretty poorly choreographed. The wood chipper valiantly saves the day as they wrap a chain around Jason’s neck and we see the epic battle of wood chipper versus undead slasher. Cue the next morning where they decide to throw Jason’s body off the pier and into the lake. Why the wood chipper didn’t provide a messy cremation for him is anybody’s guess. And of course we have to the next shot with Jason springing out of the water to grab one of the characters, and yes even people who haven’t seen the originals can see this coming from a mile away.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself why do Hollywood allow these shit remakes to happen when they aren’t necessary and the franchises could easily be started up without them? Well, money dear boy, money. Horror remakes are in nowadays (at least the makers of the new The Thing have the decency to set it up as a prequel to the 1980s movie although they still retain the same title) and since everybody has a follow the fucking leader mentality that means that we get inundated with unnecessary crap. The worst part is that this isn’t even a bad horror movie, just mediocre. For a Jason movie though, that’s almost the worst thing. It’s easily the worst in the series, and I’m including Jason X in that accounting, because of its mediocrity. The Friday the 13th series always had a sort of camp mentality that made them fun to watch if you didn’t find them scary. You could easily cheer as the most annoying characters died and the movie knew they were annoying so they reserved the most gruesome deaths for them. This new one still leaves in the annoying characters but leaves out the camp part, and most important of all, the fun. 


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