A Thin Slice of Horror: ‘Friday the 13th ’

The last time Jason terrorized audiences on the silver screen was Valentine’s Day weekend of 2009, when Marcus Nispel unleashed his relentless reimagining of the cult classic “Friday the 13th.”

Prior to this reboot, the last time we saw Jason in a standalone “Friday” feature film was with the mind numbing “Jason X” (2001), which blessed us with the unforgettable experience of seeing a futuristic Jason roll campers into sleeping bags like burritos and swing his creation along the side of a tree like Paul Bunyan. Without a doubt, the franchise was in serious need of a fresh start by 2009.

Immediately, we are chilled with Steve Jablonsky’s superb score. An eerie crescendo of distorted piano keys instantly tells us that the goofy days of “Jason X” are a thing of the past. A black and white depiction of the original film follows, summarizing the end of the 1980 classic within the first four minutes. We are then thrown into present day, and introduced to what we believe will be the film’s main characters. But this is not the case.

Nispel takes the next twenty minutes to pay homage to the 1981 sequel. Upon the death of the last camper in this group of young adults, we finally see the title card illuminate the screen, concluding a 24-minute prologue.

The film finally introduces us to the main character, Clay, who, while searching for his missing sister, is unaware that she was amongst those killed by Jason in the opening scene. After finding someone to help him with his search around Camp Crystal Lake, the traditional slasher movie carnage ensues.

The strongest aspect of the film is the menacing performance by Derek Mears as the iconic killer. Mears’ large frame demands the attention of all viewers when lurking across the screen, and he gives us one of the most relentless Jason’s within the franchise by killing plenty of campers in unique and bizarre ways that will leave horror fanatics satisfied. Visually, the film is quite appealing due to the work of cinematographer Daniel Pearl, who is most recognized for his cinematography work on the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974).

The film suffers from its incoherent opening, however. Nispel decides to use nearly thirty minutes to pay homage to the first two original films and is unable to appropriately introduce the primary characters of his film. When he finally does, we are shown a plethora of unlikeable young adults who are purely sex crazed druggies who seem to guzzle alcohol for hydration. As a result of the unusually long prologue, we are left with a run time of 105 minutes, causing us to feel irritated by dosages of many unnecessary scenes. Regardless, it’s still a decent popcorn flick to watch with a group of friends late at night.

Sam’s Stars: 5.5/10