From the men who tidied up the spelling of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre comes another overhaul of an infamous scary movie.
Or, rather, movies: Friday The 13th ’09 steals body parts from the first three entries in the 11-film franchise, allowing producer Michael Bay and director Marcus Nispel to not only have Jason doing the slashing (he only pops up in the final frames of the 1980 original, and then as a snaggle-toothed sprog with puckered fingers) but also to kit him out in his iconic Detroit Red Wings hockey mask. It sure beats the brown-paper-bag-with-poked-out-eyeholes look of Part 2…
The big news, as you probably already know, is that Nispel’s back-to-basics slasher could have been titled Jason Runs, the lovable lunk no longer plodding implacably but sprinting like Usain Bolt with a machete.
Amazingly it works, partly because we live in mobile times (OK, it’s a stretch…), partly because Zack Snyder’s fleet-footed zombies cleared the path, and largely because the last thing any post-coital, languorous teen needs is to be run down by a puritanical psycho with a big blade and a bigger erection.
Derek Mears’ trim waistline helps, too; imagine Kane Hodder jouncing through the foliage in his boiler suit…
The kills - pleasingly nasty, passably inventive, totally unscary - deliver in part(s), as Jason penetrates, immolates and eviscerates 13 teens to add to his already impressive body count of 174.
But it soon becomes… well, boring. How could it not? The kids are bland and obnoxious, the score is industrial dirge (albeit with the odd sample of the series’ eerie signature ‘tune’, ki ki ki, ma ma ma - “Kill her, mommy”) and the inclusion of a subterranean labyrinth makes it more Crystal Maze than Crystal Lake.
Our guess? You’ll be ready to pack up by the hour mark.
He runs, he stumbles… Jason’s newest beginning is satisfyingly sick but far too slick, Nispel jettisoning grubby, home-movie visuals – and with them all tension – in favour of really lustrous leaves. Disappointing.