16 February 2009 | mcfly-31
almost a decent fan-film....
The original Camp Blood is near and dear to me, even for a horror series. Never was much of a Mike Myers fan, Freddy had a couple good flicks. But the Jason series just had this mystique about it, this atmosphere. From the setting, to the uniqueness of the murders, the lore of Jason's tragedy, and most of all, the music. The fact that they got these elements to work together so well for so long (the first six original Fridays) was an accomplishment in itself for a slasher series. To find out that most of the above mentioned nuances would not be incorporated into this "reboot", had me going in with lowered expectations.
There is no camp. There are no counselors. Hell, there are nary a handful of "ki-ki-ki, ma-ma-mas". Unfortunately, any remake/reboot is going to modernize the hell out of any original film, and that's what we get here. About five interchangeable blonde (well, one brunette) bimbos with fake breasts (okay, there was one set of real knockers) who appear to be all of 16 years old. Two hunky "heroes" right off a magazine cover, the token black guy who actually acknowledges he's the token black guy, an Asian wiseacre/nerd, and yes...even a Seth Rogen pothead. Throw in about ten metric tonnes of marijuana, and you have "Friday the 13th - Jason Takes The OC".
Okay, the core of the film. The lore of Jason's mother is rushed in an opening sequence, followed by the usual introduction of the potentially lovable victims. But here is the film's first mis-step: after these people are skewered, we are intro'd to a SECOND cast! I just got used to a crop of chowderheads whose little barbs and personalities were starting to grow on me, and now along comes another?? Complete with screenwriter one-liners and heightened hormones. I guess everyone in the area has taken their turn at the local comedy club's open mic.
Fatal flaw 2: yes, I can attempt to embrace modernizing, but the fact that the writers think this means that WEED, WEED, WONDERFUL WEED should be as big a factor as Jason, became stale VERY fast. Talk about the wrong kind of overkill for a Friday movie.
Mistake 3: no one is the least bit sympathetic, the "heroine" is a girl who disappears for an hour of the film, and the ending is not only seen a mile away, but is slightly incomplete. Not to mention the amoral hillbilly (redundant?) who has confoundingly found his way into the vicinity of this ritzy mountain community.
I assume I should try and drop some positives in at this point. The kills are relatively inventive and fun. Some are stunners, some are groaners, and at least only two are of the torture variety. A big turn-off of the last few Friday films had been having Jason cause his victims lingering, agonizing deaths. Here, he mostly pops up behind you and puts your lights out quick. He even knows his demographic, as one girl is impaled through the head, then raised from the water long enough to reveal her tit-job for a beat.
The "comedy" in the film is almost too good, that it doesn't seem it belongs in this movie. The sex jokes and macho zingers were usually a scattered bonus in the other entries. Here they're poured on a little thick.
The cast is decent, as lead Padalecki had the look and intensity of a young Patrick Swayze, with Panabaker a good Danielle Harris clone. Van Winkle overplays the given jerk, but nets the flick's hugest laugh when a body is dropped in front of him. My theater broke into big-time applause and titters from that moment.
A large credit must be paid to Derek Mears as Jason. He brings a perfect physicality and body-language to the part, that reminded me a lot of Richard Brooker's Jason of Part III. Even down to the make-up, which has an old-school, fleshy-necked, bald Jason. As opposed to the stringy-haired "fat" Jason of Part IX, and the Donald Duck-masked, hulking man/machine of Jason X.
All told this comes off like a competently made fan film, so many of which have permeated the internet the last 10 years. Nispel's jarring, "Blair Witch"-like camera movements were an extreme distraction, and again, the lack of Harry Mandredini's masterful score is a major drawback (here, let's throw a few more hundred CLANGS on the soundtrack for effect).
Jason's hayday may have come and gone, but though not alive and well, he's at least alive and passable.