Friday the 13th (2009)

(On Cable TV, March 2017) I went in the Friday the 13th remake with low expectations, conditioned by half a dozen horror remakes on what to anticipate. Generally speaking, the result does not disappoint—for best or for worst, this remake is roughly equivalent to the many other horror remakes of the time: slick production values, buffed-up young leads, adherence to the iconography of its predecessors but not much in terms of wit, soul, humour or anything but mechanical suspense. It’s a rote exercise, singularly uninteresting if you’re not already a convinced horror hound. The death grip that genre conventions hold around the film’s throat makes it impossible to become anything but a pale imitation of a celebrated predecessor. The only area where this Friday the 13th holds surprise is, curiously enough, in its depiction of nudity—while the ’80s horror originals usually came with a generous side order of nudity, most 00s remakes usually didn’t. But this one is the exception, maybe too blatantly so—by the time the characters themselves comment each other on their splendid bodies, it doesn’t matter if we agree with them. Alas, there’s a lot more violence than flesh here, and it quickly blurs into the usual exasperating fights with predetermined outcomes. Saddled with an overlong prologue, mechanistic structure and stomach-churning glorification of its villain, Friday the 13th isn’t worth much more than checking off a box on some completist cinephile list. It’s dull and there are many other better horror movies out there. But then again, I already suspected that going in—I got what I was expecting.

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