Title: FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE KILLER CUT (2009)
Year of Release—Film: 2009
Year of Release—DVD: 2009
DVD Label: Warner Home Video
The latest in Platinum Dunes’ line of resurrected Horror franchises, Marcus Nispel’s retooling of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise, the most successful of the Slasher genre, is quite frankly mis-named. More properly, it’s a remake of FRIDAY THE 13TH, Pt. II—with elements thrown in from most of the other films in the series. That this jumble works at all is a wonder; that it actually managed to entertain to some slight degree is a miracle.
The film opens much as F13-II did, though instead of a flashback recap of the final confrontation between Pamela Voorhees and the final survivor of the massacre at Camp Crystal Lake, Alice, we see it take place as it happens—as does a young Jason Voorhees. This forms the basis of Nispel’s attempt to humanize Jason, to reduce him down to just another serial killer, rather than the inhuman supernatural creature the original Jason was. This humanization of Jason was, according to interviews with the director and screenwriters contained in the documentary featurette “The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees,” a conscious decision on their part. It was not a good one.
As the film transitions to the present day, we meet a group of hikers wandering the woods near
Six weeks later, another party of generic yuppie spawn is on their way up to the area, to a parent’s cabin for the weekend. They encounter Clay (Jared Padelecki), a young man searching for clues in the disappearance of his sister Whitney, who was with the earlier group. He’s passing out flyers with Whitney’s picture, only the locals seem a little resistant to his efforts. As he heads up to the lake to continue his search, he again runs into the yuppie spawn; this time, he and Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) go off together. The stage is set, and no one who’s ever watched more than five minutes of any Slasher film will be surprised at what follows.
If it sounds as though I’m less than enthusiastic over yet another in the endless stream of reimaginings, reinventions, and reworkings that Hollywood excretes as though they were a waste product, well you, dear reader, may go to the head of the class. I’ve seen enough of Nispel’s work to believe that he could be a good director—if the people who write the checks would let him have an original thought. And no, making the iconic Slashers of my formative years more “human” doesn’t qualify as originality.
I can only say that unless you, like the Unimonster, simply must own every Horror film imaginable, then pass this one by. This travesty actually managed a nomination for “Crapfest of the Year” in my 2009 in Review piece [2 January, 2010], and came damn close to winning the Golden Turd. It’s not that it’s a necessarily bad film—just an insulting, needless one.