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Review – Friday the 13th (2009)

Today is Friday the 13th of October – I know this because when I was opening the kitchen blinds this morning, one of the fittings fell out of the wall, thus collapsing them onto my head along with a chunk of plaster roughly the size of a tennis ball. I don’t believe that this particular day of the calendar is cursed, obviously, as I’m a grown man, but I do believe in relentless, uncompromising bad luck, and if the Friday the 13th films have ever been about anything, they’ve been about that: Jason Voorhees, world’s unluckiest man.

Since the 1980 original, there have been another, what, ten of these things? And throughout them Jason has been drowned multiple times, sliced, clubbed, stabbed, cleaved, incinerated, struck by lightning (I think more than once), melted, shot, experimented on, cryogenically frozen, thawed, jettisoned into space and, as far as I can tell, has never gotten laid. There’s no wonder he’s irritated. Wouldn’t you be? The life of an outdoorsman is obviously fraught with peril.

This version, from 2009, which is ostensibly a remake but actually isn’t because Jason’s mother killed everyone in the first film and she’s decapitated in this one’s opening scene, isn’t afraid to visit even more punishment on everyone’s favourite woodland defenseman. I’ll leave you to discover his various traumas for yourself because, frankly, why else are you watching one of these things except to see what other grievous bodily injuries Jason can shrug off? Oh, yeah, that’s right – tits. You’re watching for the tits, aren’t you?

Well, you perverts, I can safely report that Friday the 13th has some tits – seven of them, in fact. They’re vacationing in the woods at their jock leader’s summer cabin, right on the shore of Crystal Lake, where six weeks prior Jason butchered another group of horny college-age idiots who were combing the woods for weed, and thirty years before that, Mrs Voorhees’s murder spree was brought to an abrupt end when her head was lopped off in front of young Jason. Again, is there any wonder this dude is troubled?

Luckily, he’s able to vent some of that frustration by stalking the cabin’s occupants and murdering them in increasingly horrible and creative ways. I was totally okay with this, as if there’s one thing I admire about this film, which is technically well-constructed but ultimately terrible, is how determined it is to make Jason’s victims as thoroughly unlikeable as possible. I checked and double-checked and nope, there isn’t a single person in this thing who you’d want to spend a second of your time with. Good riddance, I say. Jason is doing his bit by ridding the world of insufferable, vapid morons. The average IQ goes up, teen pregnancy goes down, and anyone smart enough to stay away from the scene of multiple mass murders gets to live happily ever after. If anything, Jason’s the hero.

As potent a force of Darwinian evolutionary theory as Jason might be, he’s played out as a horror villain. The guy’s killed so many people, and has been killed so many times, that it’s impossible to really care about anything he does. All the kids will die except for one or two of them, Jason will seemingly snuff it and then reveal in a final shot that he’s actually fine, and we’ll gather around for the sequel as the next batch of idiots stop at a lonely roadside gas station and ask the creepy employee for directions.

Let me save you the time, kids. Down the road and to the left. You’ll find the creepy cabin halfway through the creepy woods. Be safe. Practice safe sex. And don’t wander off alone. Or be black.

Happy holidays.

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