Booze, Boobs and Bongs6/10
"Jason was my son, and today is his birthday
" Twelve birthdays have passed for the masked killer Jason Voorhees since the series was born thirty years ago back in the golden age of slasher films. Of the slew of terms studios use to avoid the word 'remake' I suppose the best term to describe the latest 13th film would be rejuvenation. The series started its downward spiral after part IV and while director Marcus Nipsel's doesn't wipe the slate clean, he ads enough pizazz to make it the best of the series in nearly two decades.
To give credit where it is due, this film does a number of things with the Jason character that are certainly a relief. Nipsel has opted to do away with the supernatural element and the super-zombie- Jason angle as well as giving Jason some spunk and cunning that he left with him at the bottom of Crystal Lake before part VI. Along with discarding these cumbersome characteristics, Jason is graced with a hunter/gatherer mentality that has him setting snares, traps and siphoning gasoline from locals. This is what the character should be; a loner forced to fend for himself in the forest; disturbed and deadly.
From the get go I thought this movie was a disaster. Never before had I seen poorer character development or less tense of a build- up. But don't leave the theatre so soon, as the opening act is graced with a nifty twist that you will not see coming. The calibre of the acting has never been a prominent staple of the Friday films, but this latest offering certainly comes closest to what could be considered as such. The dialogue is acceptable, only occasionally displaying the wince factor, and the leads are likable enough that you care just enough that you don't wish for a machete to the skull.
Years have passed since young Jason drowned at Camp Crystal lake, and the rein of Pamela Voorhees (Nana Visitor in a cameo) has been cut short
pun intended. Returning to the town of terror, much to the chagrin of the sheriff is Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) who longs to find his sister (Amanda Righetti) who disappeared along with her friends a month prior. Clay's journey intertwines with a group of friends venturing to a cabin for a weekend of booze, boobs and bongs including Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), the cabins snooty owner, Trent (Travis Van Winkle) the resident stoner, Chewie (Not to be confused with Chewbacca, Aaron Yoo) among others. Their story lines are forced closer together still as people go missing, and soon the terrifying force from the nearby abandoned camp is revealed.
Aside from the Jason overhaul, who can run, jump and kill with the best of them, I enjoyed how the director managed to make the characters do stupid things, without making the characters themselves seem equally idiotic. The way the story unfolds, it is only the frantic ramblings of a few characters that claim a threat, which allows the others to wander to their bloody demises. There are still all the trademark Friday elements; a lot of booze, a lot of pot and a lot of nudity (which is overdone at times) When Jason first rears his ugly head, he has not yet donned his hockey mask, and I was interested to see if they could have him happen across it in an uncontrived manner; I was pleased if not blown away.
Fans of the series should at least be content with the latest offering, but really there is nothing new enough to become ecstatic about. One death aside, it is predictable, and the gore and deaths are less inventive then the early films. There are moments of tension to be certain, and the climax, like all Friday films, does not fail to disappoint. Disposable, but nothing special, when Jason does return I am hoping for a full overhaul of the horror icon that will not be as unlucky as its title implies.
6.5 / 10.0
Read all my reviews at: http://www.simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com