Friday the 13th
Release Date: Feb. 13
Director: Marcus Nispel
Writers: Mark Swift, Damien Shannon
Cinematographer: Daniel Pearl
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti
Studio/Run Time: New Line, 97 mins.
Revival falls into ugly new slasher tradition
The deeply misguided new incarnation of Friday the 13th has little to do with the franchise that inspired it, and that’s not necessarily a problem. It’s the worst-kept secret of the slasher genre that the 1980 original and its 10 sequels are one long-running gag, a commerce-driven series of lousy (if lovable) movies elevated solely by their camp flavor.
As early as the overlong first sequence, in which a character is literally slow-roasted over a camp fire, something is already amiss. It isn’t the lack of fidelity to the old icon so much as the unoriginality of the new one. Jason has always had a certain single-mindedness, a rabid drive to stalk indulgent young people without any obvious malice other than some musty old mama issues. Nispel imagines a more complex creature, and a key revelation halfway through the movie lumps Jason into a long, tired tradition of deformed backwoods boys whose motivations weather down to a scorned sense of isolation.
As the movie goes on, though, the real calamity becomes this Friday's newfound anger and its embrace of cavalier brutality. Nispel’s vision of Camp Crystal Lake now fits with his Texas Chainsaw and Rob Zombie’s Halloween in a collection of genre revivals that suggest a disquieting new slasher aesthetic. Jason, Leatherface and Michael Myers have been welcomed back as de facto protagonists, and their new movies encourage a dark sympathy and even identification. They seem to endorse the moral chaos that throws their killers into action, and as is clear with this movie, the results are repulsive in the extreme.
Watch the trailer for Friday the 13th: