A few things have happened to me in the past couple of months, chiefly that I moved into a new place, and school is starting to require my full attention this late into the semester, as a result i’ve come dangerously close to not knowing what other films to write reviews about.
I mean i look at my shelf and i have tons of them (including that pile of samurai films…) but i think i just have too much choice, i have no intention of giving up writing reviews i just get into a thought loop of: “i suppose i could write something, or i could play NFS:Hot Pursuit instead”…
i guess it will take a bit of effort to get back into a regular rhythm and as such i’ve decided to review a few movies that are as far away from what I’ve been putting up here as possible.
To be honest the first time i watched a Friday the 13th movie in full would have to be when i caught a marathon of them on spike about 10 years ago (i managed to watch the end of #3 all the way until the beginning of 6 until i figured i had better things to do with my time) but even as a child i’ve always known about the idea of Jason Voorhees, and his hockey mask killing sprees. Which is odd considering their level of violence, and the fact that i had never seen any of his movies until the age of 16 or so.
I’m not going to review each of these films individually as what i like and what i don’t like are going to be similar throughout all of them (with the exception of the remake). So this is more of a summary of the good/bad/ugly of them all.
Bad times await anyone stupid enough to camp out at Crystal Lake (and there are a lot of them…) as the seemingly unkillable Jason Voorhees stalks the area and delivers the best type of eviction notices…
I think the triumph of these movies would have to be Jason Voorhees himself, i mean they have managed to make a character that is so iconic and memorable simply on the basis that he doesn’t do anything other than kill people, generally with something sharp and with a surprising amount precision. It’s so odd that i end up rooting for Voorhees and that the only reason people watch this stuff is to see how he decides to kill however many people are lined up for him.
The miracle of it all is how it never gets boring, i mean i saw him use a pitchfork, machete, axe, bow and arrow, to off people in similar settings and situations, but for some reason a smile just creeps over my face when some dumb character stumbles around in the dark, that iconic Ch-Ch-Ch music starts up for quite literally the 100th time in the movie, and the area is littered with a cornucopia of delightfully rusty and sharp objects for Mr. Voorhees to employ.
You could say that he is a force of nature; much like how when a storm shows up and it starts to rain, when Jason Voorhees shows up people die, and despite having seen and heard lightning and thunder a thousand times in my life time, it never gets boring just watching the storm unfold.
There are a lot of bad things going on with these movies:
awful awful acting
low production values
stupid stupid characters
I’m not going to go into detail with any of this stuff as honestly that’s almost the point of these films, but what i will touch on is the ridiculousness of trying to read anything into these movies.
To put it bluntly these films are garbage, they’re dreck, movies made with the lowest common denominator in mind, movies made for teenage boys to get a peek at naked breasts and sexual acts before the internet made it common place, movies made to be played in drive ins and go on in the background while people have sex in their cars, movies made to be watched while playing a drinking game, or played in the background of Halloween parties.
The film makers weren’t making a statement about anything while making this stuff, they just wanted to make money in the sleaziest way imaginable: Sex and Violence. Their relevance within pop culture is built only upon the strength of Jason Voorhees’ ability to dispense violence and that every installment has a group of good-looking people getting their freak nasty on.
While i find the study of tropes such as “the final girl” interesting, their presence doesn’t elevate these films from being the watchable trash that they are.
FRIDAY THE 13th (2009)
i hate Micheal Bay as much as the next filmy with pretentious tastes, but i have to be honest with myself and say that the movie his production company Platinum Dunes for the series is quite honestly the best the series has to offer (now keep in mind i haven’t seen them all and that could well change).
Being an amalgamation of the first 3 movies it quite literally has everything i love about it, and it improves upon the series in a number of ways; in the original series it takes 2 1/2 movies for Jason to get his hockey mask, and how he gets it is rather perfunctory and mundane given its importance to his overall image that has become as iconic as Kruger’s glove, or Myer’s mask. Whereas in the remake, he clearly has a moment of recognition when he lays eyes on the old antique. He likes the way it looks and ditches that stupid bag over his head for something much better.
It has all the other important aspects of a good Friday the 13th film, the kills are their usual fun to watch, the characters exist only for the sole purpose of providing meat for Jason’s grinder, he uses his machete often, and the Ch-Ch-Ch notes are used appropriately eye rolling though they may be.
And that is all it really needs to have, again these films are not “classics” because they are good movies in any sort of way, and in the remake we get a distillation and shuffling up that breathes a bit of new life into the series while at the same time paying homage. It truly is a “greatest hits” package.
My honest recommendation to anyone who hasn’t watched an entry of the Friday series is to watch the remake, and then watch 4-10. I’m serious. It pains me to recommend anything with Bay’s name on it but quite honestly the first 3 movies are so repetitive of each other, and the fact that it takes 2 1/2 movies for the Jason we all know and love to make a full-fledged appearance (hockey mask + machete = Jason = awesome²) is painful to watch. Ratings and summaries for each are below:
Friday the 13th ** Stars out of Five
while it is still quite a violent film, its standing as a classic is based only upon the legacy of the series it created. It’s just boring, and as a result the faults inherent to the series really start to make themselves noticeable.
Friday the 13th Pt. II ** 1/2 out of Five
Improves on the original as it actually has Jason running around, but no machete and that stupid bag on his head cripples Jason’s presence, and Jason’s presence really is the only thing the series has going for it.
Friday the 13th Pt. III ** 1/2 out of Five
Jason finally gets his proper presentation, however the movie takes a long time to get going and its sluggish and predictable pacing drag the whole thing down.
Friday the 13th (2009) *** out of Five
Takes all of the best elements of the franchise and distills them into a slasher flick of honest to god fun.