Finally, a Movie Review! For Friday the 13th!!!

Remember last Friday, when we were still living in a world where Friday the 13th wasn’t out in theaters yet?  Well, now we live in a brave new world where it’s out in the theaters available for mass consumption.  And just as Lost has taught us that you can’t go back in time to kill Hitler, we also can’t go back in time to stop them from making the new Friday the 13th, so I guess we should stop building that time machine and just start adjusting.  That doesn’t change one crucial fact, though:

fth13th-review1

I mean, Friday the 13th is just like Brave New World, except instead of everybody taking Soma to emotionally anesthetize themselves while worshipping Henry Ford, everybody’s taking stupid pills while worshipping boobs.  Seriously, so much of the boobs in this movie.  

But I’m not here to (only) complain about boobs.  Nope, I’m here to complain about Friday the 13th.

I’m fully aware that the  notion of applying any educated, critical thought to Friday the 13th  is rather akin to swimming in a kiddy pool while wear full scuba gear: you’re simply over-prepared no matter how you cut that cake.  As a franchise, Friday the 13th remains doggedly committed to the idiot exploits of horny, beer-swilling, bong-hitting teens and the hockey-masked psycho who kills them.  For the past ten movies.  I’m gonna just take a guess (or stab?  Get it?  STAB?  Hahaha, HORROR MOVIE PUNS!) and assume that we’re not in the French New Wave anymore.  Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the gratuitous violence and boobs, right?

WRONG.

On the most basic aesthetic level, if we’re to accept that Friday the 13th really is just about earning a hard R from all the sex and violence, this movie still drops the ball (or machete, or fake boob, or whatever).  The violence is both surprisingly tame and completely uninspired; the make-up effects are minimal and boring.  If you’re r’aison d’être is to splash fake blood around, do it with style and panache.  Tim Burton turned blood-letting into a grand guignol art with Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd; Ridley Scott turned cannibalism into an immoral Food Network special with Hannibal.  Even Marcus Nispel’s previous horror reboot, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, seemed to have an understanding of how to utilize violence: death was ugly and unpleasant.  Friday the 13th turns carnage into a half-assed yawn.  Perhaps we’re supposed to either be revolted or delighted in the deaths of stupid-teenagers-who-had-it coming, but instead it all feels  like the dreadful tedium of a studio-deigned, test-market-derived quota.  And let’s not forget the boobs.

I’ve certainly no problem with female nudity.  Showgirls is my guiding light for cinematic camp, and I stand by the fact that the lesbian love scene in Mulholland Dr. is one of the most palpably erotic sex scenes in the history of film.  I simply have a problem with bad boob jobs, and Friday the 13th is littered with them; it’s practically a filmed lecture for future plastic surgeons.  Even worse is that every exposed breast is so profoundly illogical (topless waterskiing, for example) that it practically sets a new low in female exploitation in the horror genre.  And when the topless waterskiing girl is hiding under a dock from Jason, only to get stabbed through the head by his machete, and–as he pulls his machete back up–is lifted up so we can see her FAKE perky breasts just one more time, well, you know this movie’s hit a nadir in bad taste.  The blood’s at a minimum in that moment, but the boobs are at a creepy, necrophiliac’s-gaze max.  Gross.

Mostly, though, the failure of Friday the 13th is how toneless and dull it is.  Nispel has certainly perfected his style of bizarro Southern-Gothic decay, and every frame shines in terms of art direction, but for what?  Every character is uninteresting and unsympathetic, and Jason himself is a splotch of vanilla-monstrousness in a sea of blah.  You don’t root for the insipid teens to get their comeuppance, yet you’re simultaneously wholly disinterested in the face/mask of the franchise.  Movies like Scream (and their success) have taught us that we live in a post-modern age of horror, where the audience is entirely too aware of the tropes and either needs something new (good luck in finding that), or, at the least, a good ironic goose.  Friday the 13th is lacking in both.  

The script takes no interesting spin on the stupid-teens-meets-psycho killer-genre that died out a generation ago; we’re instead treated to merely another insipid retelling.  There’s no sense of camp or tongue-in-cheek winking at the audience to glean any perverse pleasure from, nor any genuine frights to remind you why we make the trip to the theater for a good horror movie.  Instead we get a movie that thinks it’s scary but, in fact, stopped being scary–or even remotely self-aware of and/or clever with its own terribleness–ages ago.  Friday the 13th wants to play the genre straight, but instead it just plays it uninspired.  As the French would say: horrible!

Anyways, I’m tired of wearing my scuba tank of smarts in this treading pool of embarrassingly bad.  Avoid Friday the 13th like the black plague (unless you’re me, in which you’ll totally watch it again on DVD because you want to pretentiously discuss the aesthetics and socioeconomic class representation of Marcus Nispel’s horror remakes at a party, because that’s the long lost chapter of The Rules.  Duh.).  This movie is DUMB, yet sadly I suspect we’ll get at least another three installments based on this bit of news.

Awful.  

I can’t wait for 2012.  At least there won’t be any more Friday the 13th movies then.  Thank goodness.

*PS: As an aside, I’m desperately curious as to why this film has an obsession with smoking marijuana and then compulsively masturbating to porn magazines.  I’m serious.  This scenario happened twice in the film.  I thought you just got a craving for Pop-Tarts and McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches after smoking up.  My bad.

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3 Responses

  1. Lol great review!

    Like

  2. […] end up seeing this movie no matter how bad the reviews are.  I simply can’t be bothered to learn from my mistakes. […]

    Like

  3. […] frown upside down and keep the bitchiness to myself.  Past precedent suggests that my enthusiasm will eventually sour, but for now I’m happy to have the honeymoon phase. Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

    Like

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