Respectful Reel Review #6


Friday the 13th (the Killer Cut)




Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Derek Mears, Travis Van Winkle, Aaron Yoo, Jonathan Sadowski, Julianna Guill, Arlen Escarpeta, Ryan Hansen, Willa Ford, Nick Mennell, America Olivo, Kyle Davis, Richard Burgi, and Nana Visitor


Marcus Nispel


A group of young adults venture into the woods to find a marijuana garden near Camp Crystal Lake, a boarded up camp that has a long, sordid history where a young disabled child witnessed the beheading of his mother, and seeks vengeance on any who dare to trespass on this unholy ground.


“Jason lives. Many will die.” “Prepare for the day everyone fears. . .” “Welcome to Crystal Lake.”


The movie begins with a title card that gives the date: June 13, 1980. It’s a rainy night and we see quick cuts of a camp counselor being pursued by a machete-wielding Pamela Voorhees played by Nana Visitor. There’s a tussle between the counselor and Mrs. Voorhees, and when the counselor is able to knock Pamela Voorhees to the ground, she is able to grab the machete, and behead Mrs. Voorhees. The credits roll as a boy approaches the beheaded corpse. Jason picks up some things that have fallen from his mother’s pockets, and a voice-over of Mrs. Voorhees tells Jason that he has to “make them pay for what they did to him, and what they did to her.” We get the sense that Jason is hearing this stuff in his head and that he is prepared to act on it, as he picks up the machete that killed his mother.

The movie flashes forward to the present day. where five young adults are hiking through the forest. Night is approaching, and they need to make camp. During their sit-around the campfire, one of the youths tells the story of Pamela Voorhees. How she was so enraged by the drowning of her son that she felt compelled to enact revenge on the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. How she killed all but one of the counselor’s, who fought her off and turned the tables on her. How her son Jason who was not dead, just disfigured, saw his mother beheaded. The camper says that Jason still resides in the Camp Crystal Lake Area. He’s waiting to continue his mother’s mission. Funny that he would try to scare his friends while he’s looking to find a marijuana garden that has supposedly been planted near the camp.

Needless to say the marijuana is found with dire consequences visited on the group. One of the young adults (Whitney played by Amanda Righetti) apparently has a mother dying of cancer. Her boyfriend confesses that her mom asked him to take Whitney away so that she could have a break from watching her mother waste away. In a way, her story is supposed to resonate with Jason’s. Both watching their mothers die in very distinct ways. She and her boyfriend separate from the group (which is always a smart thing to do in a horror movie) and head toward the desolate and abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. In their exploration, they find a locket that belonged to Pamela Voorhees and the boyfriend comments on how much his girlfriend looks like Mrs. Voorhees. It’s the last conversation they ever have. Jason has his head wrapped in cloth when he shows up. Apparently, he notes Whitney’s resemblance to his mother because while he kills all of the campers, he keeps Whitney in an underground cave system that is designed to demonstrate how Jason can sometimes appear to be in two different places at one time.

Six weeks later, another group of young adults wind up in the Crystal Lake area. Trent has a wealthy Dad that has a summer cabin right off the lake and he is hanging with his friends where again they can be picked off on-by-one. In the meantime, Clay Miller, played by Jared Padelicki shows up searching for his sister, Whitney. Apparently mom has died and Whitney didn’t attend the funeral. This is out of character for her. Jenna, Trent’s girlfriend, played by Danielle Panabaker, decides to help Clay find his sister. This is where I think I will leave the plot for you. I will now proceed to my review.


Remakes are difficult, because they’re really in a no-win situation. On the one hand, if they stick too close to the original story, fans are disappointed because they’ve seen it already. On the other hand, if the movie deviates too far from the source material, fans get in an uproar. Reboots are different. Reboots are an attempt to infuse a dormant property with new life by taking the franchise in a distinct but logical direction. When New Line Cinemas bought the partial rights to Friday the 13th, they really only had one desire. They wanted to make Freddy versus Jason. When that was not well-received by critics and made only 100 million in the box office, New Line decided to try to reboot Friday the 13th to recoup losses. (I know that 100 million sounds like a lot, but it took 19 million to make and they had to give half to Paramount Pictures that owns the rights to the franchise.) However, I don’t believe their hearts were fully into it.

This movie takes the first four Friday the 13th films, and homages them by taking the major beats, and playing on our expectations as an audience. Some of the iconic kills are taken in different directions with varying degrees of success. Here Jason is a hunter. He thinks and strategizes. He is not just an unstoppable force. He is both agile and fierce. I think Derek Mears is one of the best Jason actors. The characterization which is usually a weakness in most Friday the 13th movies is pretty good. There are lots of kills, and in the Killer Cut version, they are mostly on-screen. The acting is pretty convincing. The gore is overt and the nudity is excessive. Overall, this was an enjoyable watch. Not a perfect movie. Not always scary, but there were some jump scares that were effective and the horror is prevalent throughout. If you are a Friday the 13th fan, I don’t think I have to convince you that this is one of the best of the bunch. If you’re not a fan of the franchise, I still think this is a must-watch for any horror fan, and the Killer Cut is the way to go. This is a High Recommendation with 4 Grey Geeks. Enjoy!

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