This is a hard film to categorise – it's not quite a remake, more a sort of reimaging and reboot of the slasher franchise that had great success in the 1980s. And as such, it's not as terrible as I expected it to be, although not as good as another recent slasher remake, My Bloody Valentine 3D.
Friday the 13th doesn't have the advantage of the 3D gimmick (although the second sequel to the original was a 3D film), but it does tick all the right boxes as far as the slasher genre goes. Teens in peril? Check. Plenty of bare breasts? Check. Teens "punished" (ie, slaughtered) for daring to have unwed sex? Check. Silly teens venturing where they really know they shouldn't? Check and check. An unkillable, unstoppable masked freak doing all the killing? Check, check and check. Gorehounds are sure to enjoy it, although they may find it a little slow-moving in parts.
The set-up is interesting. The first couple of minutes are a rehash of the climax of the first film in which Jason's mum, Mrs Vorhees (who was the killer in the original – Jason himself didn't start his rampage until Part II) gets her comeuppance insomuch as she literally loses her head. (For those who have never seen the first Friday the 13th – and, may I ask, why not? – Mrs Voorhees was killing the counsellors of Camp Crystal Lake for letting her deformed little boy drown.) Then we get to act one of the new version, a rather lengthy pre-titlecard sequence in which a bunch of teen hikers go camping near Crystal Lake and find themselves quickly despatched by our machete'wielding "hero", who happens to still be "living" in the area. Then we cut to six weeks later, in which the brother of one of the original bunch, who is trying to find out what happened to his missing sister, meets up with a fresh bunch of teens who are spending the weekend at a holiday house by the lake. Guess what? Yes, Jason once again doesn't take kindly to newbies in his 'hood and decides to do a little creative culling.
Friday the 13th knows the audience it's after, and goes for its jugular with an almost, but not quite, vengeance. The killings are gory enough, and there are plenty of laughs to be had (most intentional; others not). The acting is not much chop –the biggest name in the cast is Panabaker, best known for TV's Shark – but then, the originals were full of pretty bad acting too, so nothing's changed there. It's an homage to the 80s films it's based on (two of the blokes in this one even sport bad 80s hairdos), and people who know the history of Jason thoroughly will enjoy it the most. And the ending, while absolutely no surprise at all, certainly leaves the door open for many more Fridays.