The hardest kind of review to write is a review for a mediocre film. I didn’t hate “Friday the 13th” as much as I hated “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” and I certainly didn’t love the movie as much as I loved “Milk.”
It was exactly what you would expect from a horror movie. Disposable, yes. Fun, most of the time. With the jumping-scares? Yes. But the movie simply is not the grindhouse masterpiece that the earliest “Jason” movies were.
I’m not familiar with the endless parade of late-in-the-series Jason films. Jason in Hell? Didn’t see it. Jason goes to Space? Didn’t see it. The gimmicks used in the movies started to seem to me like Earnest movies. I wonder how long it was going to be before “Jason Saves (ruins?) Christmas” was going to be the next fast-tracked entry into the series.
So I’m glad they rebooted it, and I’m glad they gave us pretty much exactly what we wanted out of a Jason movie: Abandoned summer camp, sex, boobs, gore, inventive kills (some of them) and dickish fratboys who die painfully.
Written by: Damien Shannon and Mark Swift
Starring: Jared Paladecki, Danielle Panabaker, Travis Van Winkle
Running time: 97
Seen at: Boston Common Loews Theater
And yet, well, since the filmmakers just gave us exactly what we wanted, I felt like there was something lacking. Nothing surprised me.
That’s not true – one thing did surprise me: the black guy didn’t die first. He died rather late in the movie, which never happens in these kinds of things.
What was good about the movie? God, the kills. Some of them were just perfectly over the top. The two best: One with a sleeping bag, and one on a dock. The dock kill more or less perfectly represented the horror trifecta, too: tense waiting (you could count the one-two-three beats before Jason dispatches his target), blood, and, of course, breasts. The crowd ate that scene with a spoon, too.
I read a review of this movie in which the critic lamented that the best kills came earliest in the movie, and the rest of the thing is spent with the “plot.” This is true: You can go into the movie, leave before the title card shows up (easily a good 10 or 15 minutes into the film) and have seen one of the most intense, scary, taunt slasher movies made in a long while.
This is because it’s only a few minutes long, and it goes through the same slasher genre tropes the rest of the movie goes through (a second time). The prologue, however, does the slasher genre so much better than the rest of the film. It’s like seeing a movie and its sequel back to back, and having the denigrated quality of the sequel thrown that much more into relief by the absolute badassness of the first film in the series. Everything my companion at the show and I were talking about came from the first ten minutes of the movie.
The movie, for me, was saved by the audience. They, like me and like you, knew exactly what they were getting into. They jumped, they screamed, they laughed — at all the right moments — and although what we were all experiencing together was basically junk food, that was the movie we were all jonesing for.
Don’t go expecting quality, and only go if you know there will be an audience that loves this type of movie. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.