I could have either watched the original 1980 horror movie or this one, and what did I chose? This one. Why? Well, I wanted to see what they did with the remake. (I say ‘remake’ loosely, but it seems more of an adaptation…more of that later). A note before you start reading, this review has MAJOR spoilers and as usual, its my opinion and mine only.
We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.Patrick Rothfuss
What is it with masked superheroes and villains? It leaves us wondering the entire film, “what or who lies beneath the mask”.
I don’t know about you, but I always find masked villains far more fascinating than their superhero counterparts. Darth Vader, The Predator, Boba Fett, Leatherface, Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees. They all came with a mask – which added an extra edge, or mystery to their character.
As I review this version of Friday the 13th, I will touch upon the comparisons to Halloween’s villain, Michael Myers and the bad guy in the film, Jason Vorhees. I always found them very similar when I was younger, but watching this now, I can see how different they really are. I also touch upon remakes, and, well, if it’s worth just watching the original and being done with it. Here goes nothing…
Friday the 13th
We start this film with the world’s longest prologue – 25 mins approx before the title of the film appeared on the screen. This idea grew on me as I went deeper into the film, I liked it, it was unusual. The prologue was split into two, the beheading of Vorhee’s mother and the dilemma of a bunch of kids going for a trip in the woods for a stash of weed.
As with most horror films of this type, I can normally pick out who will be easy pickings for the baddie and who will stay the course. There was no difference with this film, it was blatantly obvious who was going to find Vorhees knife in their guts.
It wasn’t long till Vorhees dispatched of most of them in the prologue and we believe that he possibly took out Whitney at the end of that scene. Of course he didn’t, she had taken the locket bearing his mother’s face (who she looked like) and thus saved her (we find out later). Did I guess this? Of course I did…. seen too many horror films.
This takes us to our new groups of kids “wondering into the forest” to stay in a remote cabin. Again, we can see which ones will cop it and who will be spared till possibly the end of the film. What I didn’t expect was so many topless scenes. I could potentially understand it during the waterski scene, young, carefree kids and all that. But felt it was overkill with no real point at all. In fact these scenes could have been put to better use with some of Vorhees back-history or Whitney trying to escape her cage and discovering more about the masked man. But alas, we were given plenty of boobs and not much else.
One character I did like was ‘Clay’ – Whitney’s brother and male lead. Clay was the cool kid, rides a motorbike, has a cool voice and way more mature than the dweebs in the cabin. I ‘shipped him with Jenna immediately, of course, I was right again. P’ah!
There was a few nods to the previous films with the choice of mask etc, but the original 1980 screenwriter, Victor Miller, is stated to have said this film was an amalgamation of the first 4 films rather than a remake. I tend to agree.
What also mystifies me about this type of horror film is how the bad guy hasn’t dispatched any of the local weirdo’s. The woman with the dog and the drunk redneck who licked porn mags. Why hadn’t he touched them already? Couldn’t we have had more of a tie-in with them and Jason?
Here’s where I thought of Michael Myers, he had a purpose for targeting Laurie. As we learn from later films (not the very last one) she was his sister. Here in this film, we are led to believe that Vorhees is being territorial of his area and home and therefore the killings are his purpose. But this is where the likeness ends, other than the mask. Vorhees is a much swifter killer than Myers (to be fair anyone could outrun Myers), he also uses a range of weaponry and feels a lot more human.
Myers is more robotic-like, to me, less “human”, even when we get glimpses into his past. Michael Myers also had very strong characters around him, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) – great actors and unforgettable characters – which enriched his whole ‘story’ and made it much more convincing to me.
In this version of Friday the 13th, I found myself egging on Vorhees to dispatch the annoying characters. One of his best shots was an arrow through the head of one of the kids in a boat. His intimidating stare at the girl (topless again) floundering in the water was a great shot.
Once the kids had mostly been dispatched we were down to Clay and Jenna who found poor Whitney finally. So just three of them left, I thought one of them had to be taken out sooner or later, but this time I was wrong as to who it was, which pleasantly surprised me. I hate correctly guessing my way through an entire film.
Just reflecting on some of the fight scenes, only Lawrence put up a decent fight, the others had wasted opportunities in the tool shed etc. Why can’t the fight scenes be more intense between the bad guy in these types of movies. The bad guy is so overwhelming that it’s obvious what will happen.
I forgot to mention too, the incompetent police officer (who earlier didn’t give a monkey’s about the missing kids) turns up and gets dispatched in seconds by Vorhees. Felt this was a ridiculous scene, a wasted opportunity.
However, one great scene was a car pulling up and beckoning one of the kids inside and away from potential danger. If we had more of that, then this would have stopped me thinking of Michael Myers comparisons during this whole film.
Anyway, back to the ending. Vorhees is finally taken down like JAWS-like in the water. His mask sinks down with his body and the kids finally get a chance to breathe a sigh of relief.
But as we all know, if you dangle your feet in the water long enough, something is going to bite.
Should we watch remakes or just watch the original, well, it’s all subjective. But, personally, I found out nothing new about Jason Vorhees. It seemed just another film to cash in on the original.