Argh! No! After successful remakes with Halloween and even My Bloody Valentine, why would you reboot Friday the 13th with a non Jason-centric story? Fools!
Once upon a time there was a crystal lake, and by the lake was a camp ground. Little Jason Voorhees drowned there because all the councilors were fornicating (isn’t that nice?) instead of watching the campers. So Jason’s mother killed them all (the councilors, not the kids) except for the one who got her first. And poor little Jason, who wasn’t really dead, saw it all. For the next three decades, people disappear near the ruins of Camp Crystal Lake and the cops never seem to find anyone. Too bad we never learn why…
Of what are arguablely considered the big three slasher/horror icons (Jason, Freddy, and Myers), Jason has always been the least interesting to me. Much of it stems from a lack of knowing what to do with the character or actually defining him. Is he supernatural? A mutant? A really pissed-off goalie? Each new film seemed to pull Jason in a different direction. Now with a chance to reboot and define Jason Voorhees for at least a trilogy, the over-cautious studios instead opt for a promise of something different before settling in with clich?© kills bought with slightly better actors and budget. The worst part is, the seeds for something more interesting and sinister are planted throughout the film and never cultivated to maturity.
The seeds occur early on, and since they never do come to fruition, it’s not really a spoiler to reveal them here (unless you’re a true purist, in which case you should stop reading here). A cop tells Jared Padalecki’s character that people vanish all the time, which could mean that the cops know about Jason but know better than to enrage the “Demon of Crystal Lake.” Why? Any casual search of the lake surroundings would turn up enough evidence to suggest the cops never looked there to begin with. In another instance, a local woman tells Padalecki’s character (again) that “foolish kids don’t know where it’s safe to step” and “should just leave him alone.”
Do the locals know about Jason? Is the town part of a conspiracy? Were there locals friendly to what Mama Voorhees done, bless her soul? Instead we get Jared Padalecki’s sad sister story (meh) and a few casual killings. On the needless gratuitous nudity and sex front, actress Julianna Guill appears to be the least likely bit of eye candy viewers might hope to see, but (surprise!) that wish, at least, is granted. It’s just too bad that what we all hoped to see (and won’t get) in this reboot was a properly defined killing machine with purpose or at least more creative killings. Fans watching may wonder if this was a direct-to DVD sequel they might have missed except for the classic “Oh noes! Why can’t I get a cellular signal?” gag, which again was another missed opportunity. Go ahead, call 911… the cops will clean up the mess as soon as Jason’s done with you. Care to call your parents and say goodbye while you’re waiting your turn?
(a one and a half skull recommendation out of four)