FRIDAY THE 13th

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Overall Impression – Horror takes a holiday.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? – Clay Miller.

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Find his sister.

Who’s trying to stop him? – Jason.

What happens if he fails? – Jason will kill Clay, and probably his sister too.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan – Clay’s a stranger in a small town, searching for his missing sister by himself.  He’s also the “outsider” when he meets a group of  college kids headed to a cabin for the summer.

Wanderer – Clay questions the locals about his sister, instead learning bits and pieces about the mysterious Jason.  He bumps into the college kids at the cabin, and teams up with one of them (Jenna) to search the nearby woods for his sister.

Warrior – When Clay discovers that Jason really exists and is up to some gruesome deeds, he must survive long enough to find and rescue his sister.

Martyr – By venturing into Jason’s mine-like home, Clay is willing to die to save his sister.

AND, IN THE END…

FRIDAY 13th is a simple (if unambitious) addition to the franchise that kind of achieves what it sets out to do.  Once the movie establishes its generic college cattle and their slaughterer, the fun begins.

Yes, the plot is predictable.  After all, we’ve seen this movie many times before.  Give us thirty minutes and we can probably guess who survives, and even who “kills” Jason.  (It’s usually the most downtrodden female.)  Predictability isn’t exactly ideal, but it isn’t such a big deal for horror movies in this vein.

Personally, it’s the gore that counts, and ultimately that’s where FRIDAY THE 13th failed for me.  Next to sadistically innovative franchises like SAW, HOSTEL, and suspense-laden films like the THE STRANGERS… FRIDAY just felt tame.

Indeed, with a franchise that has established its bad guy as essentially indestructible, is it worth caring about whether or not people are going to die?  You know they are.

The lacking gross-out factor aside, what does FRIDAY THE 13th have to offer?  Pretty victims, sex, weed, college humor, an admittedly awesome flying ax… who am I kidding?  The movie’s gonna do fine.

– Dan Pilditch

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2 Responses to “FRIDAY THE 13th”

  1. T. April 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    Cool article, I agree.

    The question is, should friday the 13th re-invent itself at the risk of losing it’s audience, or stay the same and see it die down slowly. How many more before people definitely lose interest?

    I guess the only slightly interresting thing was the double intro at the beginning (Jason’s mum dying followed by a bunch of kids getting killed before the real movie starts), which kinda threw me off a little… but then the movie quickly gets back on track and is just as predictable as expected from a friday 13th movie.

    • danpilditch April 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

      Hi T (Get it? British joke.)

      Good questions. The thing with FRIDAY THE 13th (and similarly long-running franchises such as SAW, and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), is that they’re almost sure to turn a profit, which is why we see “unnecessary” and seemingly endless sequels. Horror movies tend to be cheaper, they almost generate their own hype thanks to a dedicated fan base, and they’re a great form of escapist fun. All the filmmakers need is a few hit weekends, then the movie will likely vanish from theaters – as this movie did.

      Personally, I’d go for reinvention – but that risks profit. Profit that’s near-guaranteed from past formulas.

      BTW, totally agree about the 20 minute intro. Probably the longest set-up I’ve ever seen… but at least we did see some of the more ambitious gore. It’s just a shame it didn’t carry through for the rest of the movie.

      Best,

      Dan.

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