Stupendous – A Quick Defense of 2009’s FRIDAY THE 13TH

It’s a daring thing to mess with a legacy, even if it’s full of failures. Jason Voorhees’ mommy issues laid claim to the 80’s and ushered in their own historical brand of vicious bloodfests for gorehounds that continued on into the early 2000s. Listen, my man’s killed people every which way, from punching a head clean off in a rooftop boxing match to splitting a guy dick to diaphragm (he also tucked him neatly above a wooden ceiling beam) and he kept his show on the road. Platinum Dunes came along and started rebooting slashers so it was inevitable that they’d sink their claws into the Friday the 13th series; it was only a matter of time.

And you know what? It’s a damn good time.

I’m all-in on this weird, survivalist version of Mr. Voorhees and his horny victims. There was always the potential for this kind of version of Jason since he was living alone in the forest but for some reason they just never went for it. This guy’s living in tunnels, building shrines to his dead mom, living next to a big-ass patch of marijuana, and roasting college students on an open fire. Living that kind of relaxed, off-the-grid existence seems like it would be good for the soul.

You know what else is good for the soul? A little gratuitous nonsense now and then. Bear traps and machetes to the face make for some absolutely fun kills, but this Jason also uses a bow with RIDICULOUS range and accuracy. Also have any of you been to those fun axe-throwing bars? Turns out Jason has, and he’s probably that asshole that brings his own axe to show off with.

The excess doesn’t end with blood, it also applies to sex. We’ve seen this franchise be obsessed with sex before, early trotting out a weirdly conservative viewpoint that premarital sex deserves a gruesome death and later just turning that into a parody of itself. The first chunk of the 2009 reboot sees Richie (Ben Feldman) and Amanda (America Olivio) in one of the more loud and proud sex scenes, but it’s later with Trent (Travis Van Winkle) and Bree (Julianna Guill) that the series finally crosses from over-the-top into softcore. Hell, Van Winkle even delivers the best lines of the series with, “Oh, your tits are stupendous! You’ve got perfect nipple-placement, baby!” Holy shit, how does everyone not love this movie?

It’s true, most don’t enjoy this. That’s on you though, because Chewie (Aaron Yoo) and Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) would be enough to make this fun on their own. It’s true, most of the others conform to stereotypes – the jock, the horny girl, the good girl, the gruff-but-nice outside. If this were any other type of film they’d be enough to make me pull my hair out but since it’s Friday the 13th they just function as standard fare. Yoo and Escarpeta are on an entirely different level and seem like the only performers that are there to entertain the audience. Lawrence mocks his white friends for racial stereotyping while chuckling as he confirms Bree’s belief that he is indeed trying to start a rap label while Chewie is calling Trent on his rich kid bullshit and chugging beer from his nasty shoe. They’re ten times more fun than the rest of the characters and they get some memorable deaths, making them the best part of the film and possibly the most enjoyable characters in the franchise as a whole.

It’s been ten years since I drug my lazy ass out of bed to see this thing, catching an opening day matinee, and it’s become my favorite film in the franchise. I don’t go see Guns ‘n’ Roses to hear them play “Chinese Democracy,” I go to hear them play the hits. When it comes to slasher reboots I rarely look for anything new because at best I can expect a fun cluster-fuck (Jason X I’m lookin’ right at you). I want to see them play the hits, and this reboot of Friday the 13th gives me so many of them. It’s just too much fun for me to feel anything but love for it.

Oh, and it runs over twenty minutes before dropping the title card. Way to lay your dick on the table, Friday the 13th, because that is absolutely nuts.