Essentially, Friday 2009 is an amalgamation of the first four Friday films. Friday 1 is summed up before we even see the title card, providing some back story for what we are about to see. The rest of the film plays like Friday 2 through 4s “greatest hits” sans the 3D.
If you are reading this you know the story. Group of kids, Jason, boobs, lots of killing. This film is paced a little funny though, in that there are actually two groups of kids/victims. The first group is met and offed before we even get the title card. Obviously this device is used to introduce us to the Whitney (Amanda Righetti) character before her brother (Jared Padelecki) comes looking for her. Padelecki essentially plays Rob Dyer from Part IV except he doesn’t get to scream “He’s Killing Me” over and over again. Introducing Whitney this way makes the first half of the script very awkward. The first group of kids are established, they are give motives and back stories, then half an hour later the same thing happens with the second group of kids. It’s like the filmmakers decided to hit restart on the film without clearing out what they had already done. It doesn’t help that, other than the awesome Trent (Travis Van Winkle), the first group of victims is far more interesting than the group we are stuck with through the majority of the film.
The film has everything a Friday fan could hope for: lots of kills, lots of nudity, some humor, a lake. It has everything – except scares. In short the film isn’t scary. It’s fun. It’s creepy at times, but scary it is not. Admittedly, creating scares in the Friday series is something that hasn’t really been effective for a while. Let’s face it the majority of people watch these films not to be scared but to see the different ways Jason is going to hack his way though his victims.
Speaking of Jason, a lot of criticism of the film came from the way Jason is treated. Jason is Parts 2 through 4 Jason here. He is not post part 6 “zombie” Jason, meaning he is mortal, he feels pain, and yes, he runs. Jason ran in both parts 2 and 3, if that’s the palate used for this film then Jason should absolutely run. Also making an appearance is Jasons shack, although here it’s more like his old house. I was always a fan of Jason at least being able to go somewhere between killing sprees. Think about it, is there anything more depressing than imagining Jason sitting underneath a tree during a rainstorm with nowhere to go? Give the guy a home. That being said, his house is a little much, lots of rooms, indoor plumbing and a shrine to his mother? Where did he get the candles for that thing? Much like I can’t picture Jason cold and wet during a rainstorm, I can’t picture Jason walking into a Yankee Candle. “Um yes, what do you have that could accentuate a severed head?” I digress.
Director Marcus Nispel (who also helmed Platinum Dunes Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) infuses his Friday vision with the same level of grime that was all over said TCM remake. It doesn’t work as well here as it did in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Where as the original TCM felt like a”dirty” film (not in content but aesthetically) all Nispel had to do was up the grime factor. It still felt true to the original. The Friday films on the other hand never really felt that way (part 5 felt “dirty” but for completely different reasons) they always seemed like “cleaner” films. The visual feel Nispel brings to the film really overwhelms the last real, it feels more like your watching a TCM film than a Friday film.
The remake/reboot/re-imagining of Friday the 13th isn’t bad. There are some cool parts. Travis Van Winkle is downright awesome (“You have perfect nipple placement baby” – genius!). On the surface it film manages to hit most of the right beats of a Friday film, unfortunately, those beats don’t really add up to a good film. Check it out if you haven’t, or if you can’t remember seeing it. Turns out it is the perfect kind of film to enjoy with a few beers, because even if you can’t remember anything about it, you are not missing much.