The original Friday the 13th was a silly little slasher flick, a classic in its era of horror films. It spawned many, many sequels, and kids have been wearing hockey masks on Halloween ever since.
This remake, from director Marcus Nispel and producer Michael Bay (the same guys who remade The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a few years back), isn’t as much a remake as it is a reimagining. The events do not mirror those of the 1980 film; rather they take them and use them as folklore, a campfire horror story. In fact, the movie begins roughly where the original ended, with the beheading of Mrs. Voorhees, Jason’s mother.
Some critics have panned this new film as not standing up to 21st-century horror standards set by the likes of Saw or Hostel. They’re missing the point. The whole “formula” of the slasher flick was genius—but watching the originals now screams more of cheesy ‘80s filmmaking techniques than it does bloody murder.
In the current Friday the 13th, a group of college kids take a weekend camping trip near the long-defunct Camp Crystal Lake. Naturally, Jason doesn’t like this and has his way with them. Shortly thereafter, the brother of one of the campers goes looking for his sister, meeting up with another group of rowdies who make for promising targets with all the booze and sex they consume.
There’s nothing revolutionary about this reinvented story of Jason. It follows the rules, to a T. But that’s what we love about slasher films, and this one feels right. Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a far better effort, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be first in line to see Bay’s remake of my personal fave, A Nightmare on Elm Street.