The Story: A group of teenagers hanging out in a cabin for the weekend become the victims of Jason Voorhees, a deranged former camper of the decrepit Camp Crystal Lake. Attempting to escape the hockey masked killer is Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki), on a quest to save his kidnapped sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti).
Pros: The revamp of Friday the 13th really has an 80’s vibe to it that fans of the franchise will love. The plot is thin but the fear and kills are brutal. The first half of the movie is dominated in introducing Whitney and setting up the exposition, the opening title doesn’t even show up till about 20 minutes in. When the main characters are finally introduced it is diverse in the characters and approaches to the horror movie stereotypes. The main African American character who is rife for jokes in this genre openly admits to the stereotypes about his character, same goes for Aaron Yoo’s character. Director Marcus Nispel, who did a wonderful job resurrecting the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is in his element here. He knows how to make an effective horror movie and there are some great jump moments. New fans of the series, like me, will be pleased in that you don’t necessarily have to have watched the earlier films. This new Jason isn’t just a lumbering zombie, he is athletic and isn’t afraid to truly chase a person. I was more than a bit afraid when he would openly bust into a sprint.
Cons: I applauded My Bloody Valentine 3-D and was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Uninvited, sadly the string of strong horror movies in 2009 comes to a close because I did not enjoy Friday the 13th. While director Nispel may know horror he seems to have lost all ability to tell an effective story. The characters in this are beyond weak, being hyper caricatures of stereotypical horror movie characters. The jerk boyfriend is so much of a jerk that you don’t understand how he has friends or a girlfriend. The nice girl is so nice she’s a doormat, and the promiscuous blonde girls, well if you’re a guy there’s more naked females than gore. The kills are also incredibly weak, just constant stabbings of the head. It also doesn’t help that the story is incredibly slow. Clocking in at an hour and a half the movie felt so long I was starting to wonder when it was going to end. The problem is so much time is devoted to Whitney and her friends that when the new group of teens arrives it’s a jarring transition because you’ve already spent so much time with the first group. The scares also become repetitive, mostly having Jason is right behind the characters. It’s ok for them not to notice him behind them the first time, but the seventh? Nispel also has some big inconstancies in plot going on here. Like if the police did a thorough investigation of Camp Crystal Lake then why did they miss the nerdy kids GPS, yet Clay has no trouble finding it? Or how does the one group of kids miss the giant marijuana crop with a GPS (a theme in this and the remake of Massacre), yet the idiot mechanic is closer to it then they were? For such a big budget film the characters and the story are so bad it almost comes off like a cheesy sequel to Friday the 13th, not a reboot.
Acting: The acting in this is so scattered, mostly because the writing is so weak for these kids. Jared Padalecki is the typical nice guy on a mission as Clay, not a real stretch from his role on Supernatural. Danielle Panabaker looks scared a lot while Amanda Righetti is the tough hostage of Jason. Aaron Yoo seems to be slumming as the goofy friend and his humor seems to imply that the film is a comedy since all he ever does is crack jokes. Travis Van Winkle is terrible as the jerky boyfriend Trent but the weakest links are the two idiot blondes played by Julianna Guill and Willa Ford of all people. How these two girls got jobs is evident in their constant disrobing throughout the movie.
Overall: So if you can’t tell I did not enjoy this movie and I really wanted to. The movie seems to leave open the possibility for a sequel so gore fans or fans of the franchise will want to get in now. If you like horror movies that have stronger gore and storylines this is not the one for you. I give it a 2/5.