Recently on the FromDuskTillCon.com forums I was asked to list my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th franchise from favorite to least favorite. I named off where I felt they all deserved to be placed and went about my business. But as I dug a little deeper into my personal thoughts on this long standing slasher franchise and it’s 12 films. I came to the conclusion some of them hold different places in my trashy, rotted little heart than I had previously realized.
So in honor of Friday the 13th’s 30th Anniversary this month, I figured I’d go ahead and list my least favorite Friday the 13th film to my favorite and do my best to explain the reasons why I feel as I do about them. So let’s get this machete swinging with my least favorite of the series…
a Primal Root review
Remakes are a dime a dozen these days. Seems like every beloved franchise we grew up with, whether they be good, bad or cheesy, is being polished off, repackaged and sold to a whole new generation that doesn’t know any better.
Friday the 13th is no different. Another commodity to be bought and sold just as it has always been. Let’s not fool ourselves, Friday the 13th is little more than a cash cow to the folks who have cranked these entries out for the past three decades. And as far as a recognizable brand name you can;t do much better than Friday the 13th. The name, the setting, the hockey mask are all instantly recognizable to that highly successful title. It was only a matter of time before producer Michael Bay (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and his company Platinum Dunes got their greasy mitts on one of horror cultures hottest commodities so they could draw some new blood and rake in the green.
And how hard is it to come up with a Friday the 13th film? Simply place some young adults behaving badly at Camp Crystal Lake, add some ineffectual law enforcement, some local color, and then chuck man-tank Jason in the equation to deal out a little slice and dice and you got a Friday the 13th flick, right?
However, the original films benefitted from the low expectations of it’s fan base. The Friday the 13th series basically recycled the same characters and story a dozen times to the point where we were conditioned to not expect anything truely shocking or original. The franchise became the equivilant of a well worn quilt or a favorite t-shirt. It’s comfortable, it works, and I enjoy the hell out of it. Not brilliant, not perfect, but just fine.
With the announcement of a remake there was the expectation and promise that something better might come of it. A chance to create a new continuity, and new story line that would make sense when held up to scrutiny. They could build better characters, story lines, explain Jason more clearly…I mean, I didn’t go in expecting Citizen Kane. I was just expecting something fresher.
All the elements are there, gore, tits, hockey mask, Crystal Lake, machete, kids getting punished for immoral behavior…it all should work. But there was one thing missing. Spirit. There just doesn’t seem to be any enthusiasm behind the lens in the creative minds retooling this thing. Derek Mears delivers a great Jason, Julianna Guill showed off the greatest rack the series had ever witnessed, and the whole production looks very pretty…but these things cannot save a movie with no heart. It’s 97 minutes in a narrative dead space. There’s no thrill. No excitement. No fun to be had. Just a film going through the motions. I wanted to feel excited, I wanted to be thrilled, have fun and maybe even get a little scare or two. There simply is nothing here to hold onto.
It’s a narrow minded and limp dicked rehash of a popular franchise. This series is ripe with possibilities and ways to remind audiences of why the slasher genre was so popular to begin with. Sadly, this Friday firmly closed the door and bolted it tight against any such possibilities. I suppose they figured there was no real need to go above and beyond and deliver anything beyond the bare minimum in a sleek, pretty package. If you are going to introduce a whole new generation to this series why not give them something worthwhile?
Friday the 13th and it’s fans deserve much better than this.