Okay, who doesn’t like a remake of an original classic horror film that scared the bejesus out of 1980s audiences across our wonderful nation? Some will say that no one likes them, especially critics. Others, though, may care for an updated version of said horror classic if stars Supernatural‘s own Jared Padalecki.
2009’s Friday the 13th is one such film. It stars Jared Padalecki and at the moment sits at #7 on HBO Max.
This version of Friday the 13th (which is actually the 12th in the franchise) is not so much a reboot or even an origin story, though it does have those elements, but is more of a “what have you been up to, Jason?” kinda film.
The film starts with a look back on that fateful night in 1980 when Jason Voorhees is all present and accounted for as he watches his mother get beheaded by a camp counselor who was trying to save herself from mother’s Camp Crystal Lake murder spree. Of course, neither mom nor counselor was aware of Jason’s presence.
We jump to the present, which is 2009 in this case, as a group of friends is camping at Crystal Lake. While camping is their front, the main reason they are there is to seek out a large crop of pot growing in the woods. Those crazy teenagers.
This is a nice setup for Jason, who doesn’t appreciate teenagers invading his space, to get out and slaughter everyone – except Whitney Miller. To Jason, she resembles his mother, so he spares her (for now), instead, he decides to take her to his underground lair.
A number of weeks later sees a group of friends, led by Trent, arrive at Trent’s summer cabin on Crystal Lake. As they arrive, Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) also arrives. He is Whitney’s brother, and he is there to find his missing sister.
After visiting Trent’s cabin, Clay is able to get Jenna (Trent’s girlfriend) to agree to help him search for his sister.
Seeing as this is a Friday the 13th film, the amount of bodies present begs but one question. How gruesome will their deaths be? Gruesome and somewhat inventive. Bodies fall as Jason makes his presence known.
For most of the movie, Clay is able to avoid Jason’s death grip, but at some point, as we all know, there must be a mano-y-mano. There is.
It was New Line Cinema’s president Toby Emmerich who approached Platinum Dunes producers Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form to consider rebooting the Friday the 13th franchise. Emmerich was a fan of their earlier reboot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise and felt they would be perfect to bring Jason to a new generation.
Initially, the producers wanted an origin story but as they began to put their story together, they decided not to go with an origin story. Both Fuller and Form said they learned a lesson from their time making The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and was to not make Jason a sympathetic character like they did with Leatherface. As Fuller puts it via Suicidegirls.com, “We do not want him to be sympathetic. Jason is not a comedic character, he is not sympathetic. He’s a killing machine. Plain and simple.”
The re-worked Friday the 13th was directed by Marcus Nispel from a script written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. Nispel, whose career has revolved mainly around music videos, also directed the 2003 film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
As for Shannon and Swift, they do have ties to the Friday the 13th franchise as they were responsible for the 2003 dud, Freddy vs. Jason.
Getting Jared Padalecki to star in the reboot was a boon for Nispel and producers. At the time, Padelcki was coming into his own as Sam Winchester on the long-running CW hit series, Supernatural. Padalecki never found as much success on the big screen as he did the small, but he handled himself with aplomb in Friday the 13th. After spending 15 seasons on Supernatural, Padalecki now finds himself on the CW reboot of Walker, Texas Ranger, its title shortened to simply Walker.
Nispel’s Friday the 13th was to be the start of something new. The intent was to introduce Jason to a new generation and then follow up with a 13th film in the series. So many different ideas came about on how to follow up Nispel’s film, but no one could ever get a handle on it.
At one point the film was going to be another 3D film. Another had Jason and his victims involved in a found footage movie. Then there was one idea that even had a title, Friday the 13th: Camp Blood – The Death of Jason Voorhees.
The Friday the 13th reboot is nearly ten years old and with as many starts and stops a potential sequel has seen, one has to wonder if it will ever happen. As recently as 2014, there was even talk of a new Friday the 13th TV series, unlike the 1987 series which had only the title in common with the actual movies.
The proposed series would introduce a new group of characters who have to deal with Jason Voorhees’s return as well as discovering new information about the killer and his family. The CW was going to carry the series and while the script for the pilot was solid, producers eventually felt that they wouldn’t be able to sustain a series.
This newest version of Friday the 13th is not a bad watch. It delivers on the gore and the thrills as it lives up to Jason’s reputation as the keeper of Camp Crystal Lake. If you haven’t seen it, check it out on HBO Max.