Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Movie Notes: Friday the 13th (2009)

To confess right from the beginning, I did watch this on a bootleg DVD. I usually disapprove of stealing money from artists like this, but in the case of such a formulaic, mercenary cash-grab as the 'reimagining' of the Friday the 13th films, it felt like a preemptive strike.

Secondly, I should point out from the start that the original Friday the 13th movies were, themselves, formulaic cash-grabs. The first one was a low budget Halloween rip off that made a small fortune; and it was followed by a string of low budget rip offs of the original that became increasingly ludicrous with time until the whole racket collapsed under the weight of its own stupidity. They were also made so recently that there would seem to be no need for a remake; but like McDonald's food, people enjoy getting the same thing dependably over and over again. And their money is green.
(picture- violence)

So, let's plow through this crap. The opening credits are interwoven with a black and white sequence of crazy woman Mrs. Voorhees being decapitated by the last living camper- basically the end of the first film. And forget about calling this a remake; if you haven't seen the other films, this section will make almost no sense. This sequence also includes a stunningly tasteless cut from a shot of the woman's torso and severed head lying on the ground to a title for Daniel C. Pearl, the director of photography. I'm sure they meant no harm. But seemingly someone could have made the connection as the shot perfectly echoes the Daniel Pearl beheading video. I think the fact that they didn't reflects the general carelessness of the film.

After this brief 'remake' of the first film, there's a brief remake of the second film, in which a group of unlikeable teenagers played by people in their 30s go looking for a marijuana crop in the woods, have sex, and get killed by a hulking maniac with a machete. Technically, this part could count as a 'remake' of any of the original films, all of which featured stoned, unlikeable, fuck-crazy, elderly teens being killed by a hulking maniac with a machete. Like I said, it's a formula. Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce; special orders don't upset us.

(picture- nudity)

Anyway, the old youth get killed right before they can collect social security, and then some other horny, stoned, middle-aged teenagers who are even more unlikeable show up to get killed. At this point, I assume they're remaking the third film because Jason gets his iconic hockey mask. This could, concievably, be a big Oscar moment in the movie; but nope- he pretty much finds a hockey mask lying around and puts it on, which I think gives you an idea of how little the filmmakers gave a shit. There's also a handsome lad who is looking for his missing sister that seems to have been borrowed from the fourth movie.

Calling these cardboard characters would be demeaning to pressed pulp paper used for making cartons and boxes. So, let's just say that the film's ''menu'' includes the black guy, the funny Asian guy, the rich prick, a couple of girls who take their shirts off, the sexy brooding guy, and a nice girl with zero personality who might or might not make it to the end. Also that I felt pretty stupid by the end of the DVD.

Differences between this and the older movies are few, but include:

1. The teens now talk incessantly about pot and fucking. This was always there before, but the kids once seemed to have other things going on, and to be a bit less puerile. Probably true of the writers as well.

2. The kills are a bit more ''brutal'' and angry, no doubt in reference to movies like Hostel. Also, there's a captive girl here, definitely in reference to more recent, boring torture movies. Yay.

3. There's more rock music in the soundtrack. I think the tendency of directors to telegraph emotions through the rock music on the soundtrack is ripe for parody at this point.

But, otherwise, I couldn't see anything different here that might justify actually making this movie. So, I'm forced to conclude that they just wanted my money. And, thus, not ashamed of buying a three dollar bootleg DVD, watching it once, and throwing it away.

No comments: