Friday, February 13, 2009

File Under Crappy Remake

I was excited for this, I really was. I'm a huge Jason fan, and I've always thought that in capable hands his story could be a great, classic horror tale. And, more realistically, given the right treatment, Jason could kick serious tail in a new film. Think "Freddy Versus Jason" without Freddy. A well-directed, big budget homage to the man behind the mask. My friends Tim and Jill Voorhees, almost if not greater horror nerds than myself, invited me to join them for the super special midnight screening last night in Boston. (Not true, I totally invited myself.) My ladyfriend, a true trooper, (a "trueper" maybe? No? You sure?) came along for the ride, even though she had chased 5 year olds around all day (she is a child murderer.) (Joking, its for her job.) (At a child labor camp.) (Still joking.) We met up with our friends Ian and his ladyfriend, who I for no particular reason will call "Manda Bo Banda" in this column. (That's class, when you call your crappy blog a "column". I still want to see this damn thing get published. Too bad all the alternative weeklies in Boston blow donkey scrotum.) (I really need to chill out on the parenthesis.) We had a number of drinks at the Beacon Street Tavern, a stylish little bar with a great Irish bartender who gave me a free Miller High Life, which Milady and I impressed everyone at the bar with as we inhaled it scarily fast.

We walked over to the theater, all in great spirits and a little tipsy, excited and hoping for the best. Maybe I was a little drunk, but everyone there seemed drunk as well. In fact, the deep voiced black guy sitting behind us who wouldn't shut up said to his girlfriend after everyone shushed him, "I'm tipsy, I ain't shuttin up." His girlfriend threw popcorn at me as I left the theater, as well. I did my best menacing stare and pointed at her. I'm getting off track here, must be the day off hangover beers I'm sipping. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was drunk in a theater with a bunch of drunks about to be very disappointed.

I had a bad feeling right from the get-go. The film uses that extremely annoying newer trend in direction where the action is shown in ultra-closeups with herkity jerkity camera movements. This basically renders it impossible to tell what the hell is going on. On the big screen, it leads to a ripping headache, as well. Even with a solid buzz and a pocket full of rum nips, this film was hell to look at. One of the only things I liked about the film was that Jason dispatches an entire crew of campers before the opening credits. You think that the movie is going to be about these jerky, horned up kids (as that is what all these movies are about), then Jason, with a rag on his head, kills them all. THEN it says "Friday the 13th". Everyone cheered. That was the best part of the movie.

One of the biggest problems with this film, and it has many problems, is that it focuses on the campers. Nobody cares about the victims. We like Jason. The victims are disposable, almost like props. Introduce a group of campers, show them naked, then have Jason kill them. We don't care about them. Maybe in the old ones, we cared a bit, because they are sometimes likeable, like Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover in Part 4. In this movie they all suck, really, really hard. There is one likeable Asian guy that actually has some funny dialog. That's it. Everyone else sucks and you just wish they would die right away. Nope. Jason takes his sweet time. The movie was hyped up to be a "re-imagining" of the first 3 films, a focus on Jason's journey from little retarded boy to king of the slashers. Where the film really disappoints, for hardcore fans of the series, is that it fails at being about Jason. Its about these lame college kids that you just wish would hurry up and die.

I don't really want to continue writing about this movie. It is that bad. It actually pisses me off just to think about it. Its about as horrible as a Jason movie can be. Its like a remake of all the bad parts of the Jason movies of old. Here they hit all the wrong notes and failed to make an evocative, even halfway decent vision of the Voorhees legacy. When you consider how truly bad most of the Jason movies were, its not a surprise that this is a cheap, crappy movie. I just hoped that by 2009, a film 6 years in the making, after a latter day gore renaissance, Jason would come back to take his rightful seat at the throne of the slasher king. It could have happened. Easily. But it didn't. This movie sucks and is an insult to all the fans of the series. My recommendation for anyone who has a hankering for Jason is go and watch "Friday the 13th Part 2", that's my favorite in the series and its about 20 million times better and more fun than this turd.

Author's Note: Proving that he is an even bigger horror nerd than me, Tim went and saw this again yesterday. He said it was way better on a second viewing without high expectations. I'll wait until it comes out on DVD and compare notes. 2-15-09

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