It's a pretty serious conundrum to remake a classic movie. Most of the time, what makes a film a classic is that it's really, really good, so a remake is almost always doomed to fall short of the original. This inevitably angers fans -- who are mortified to see something so much less awesome done with their beloved source material -- but what are studios to do? They still need to cash in on their best titles by regurgitating them for kids born long after the film in question was released on Betamax. Well, one remake seems to have figured a way out of this maze: 2009's Friday the 13th.
The reasons for this are numerous. First, it's not really a remake. Okay, maybe the first five minutes are -- a flashback to 1980, when a screaming would-be victim lobs off the head of disgruntled mom Mrs. Voorhees (who viewers will remember was the killer in the first movie, not Jason, who doesn't start killing until the second, and doesn't even get his hockey mask until the third). After that, the movie is more a tribute to all the sequels than a remake of any one. The hot, young, totally generic teenagers who trespass into Jason's Crystal Lake stomping ground all have massive early-'80s feathered hair, and they spend the entire runtime smoking weed, waterskiing topless, and having tons and tons of graphic, R-rated-and-proud sex with each other before getting stabbed, sliced, harpooned, etc.
That weed, by the way, is given a fairly significant supporting role, as we learn that at least some of the previous hot teenagers to die by Jason's meat hook (or whatever) were attracted there by the area's abundant natural resources. And the breasts deserve at least second billing, appearing within the first 15 minutes to get smeared with what seems to be baby oil in the middle of a camping trip -- before copulation or water sports even enter into the equation. In addition to being awesome, it all just feels kind of celebratory, even reverent, like a tribute to what teen slasher films are all about.
There are also a few strangely intimate glimpses into Jason's inner world, but nothing in the script feels like the filmmakers were trying to mess with the mythology of the franchise (not that they really could, since the last movie had him killing people in space). It's not an openly meta take on the genre like Scream, but it's a slasher movie for people who love slasher movies, and if your heart will flutter when a woodchipper casually appears in the first act, it's probably worth watching.
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