out of Five
Running time: 97
Entertaining slasher remake that's well acted and delivers the requisite amount of gruesome deaths, but it's nowhere near as scary as the original.
What's it all about?
Following the success of the surprisingly decent remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes comes a new version of 1980s slasher classic Friday the 13th. Directed by Marcus Nispel (and, more tellingly, produced by Michael Bay), the film stars Jared Padalecki as Clay, a young man who comes to Crystal Lake to look for his sister (Amanda Righetti), who disappeared six weeks previously.
Clay gets some unexpected help from Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), a young woman who's on a hedonistic weekend with her obnoxious and obscenely rich boyfriend (Travis Van Winkle) and an assorted group of stoners (Aaron Yoo, Arlen Escarpeta) and horny college kids (Julianna Guill, Willa Ford and Ryan Hansen). However, they're unaware that legendary machete-wielding killer Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) still stalks the Crystal Lake grounds and it turns out he's the territorial type.
First things first, the filmmakers are careful to tick all the right genre boxes – aside from the requisite number of gory and violent deaths (there's even a 25 minute pre-title prologue so Jason can squeeze in another four victims), Nispel ensures that the film adheres to the unwritten slasher movie rules and that anyone who has sex, gets naked, smokes drugs, contemplates masturbation or water-skis topless ends up dead.
Padalecki and Panabaker make likeable leads, ensuring that you root for them to survive, while Yoo provides decent comic relief as Chewie. However, with everyone else, you're pretty much on Jason's side and you may even feel that some of them get off too easily.
The only problem is that although there are several shocks and the gore level is pitched just about right, the film never achieves the same level of terror as, say, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and somehow manages to be less scary than the original film.
As horror remakes go, Friday the 13th is both watchable and entertaining, if ultimately pointless. See My Bloody Valentine 3D instead.