The fearsome, indefatigable Jason Voorhees is back, again, with his razor-sharp machete in Friday the 13th brought to fans in widescreen gory glory.
This re-imaging or re-interpretation of a horror classic built off of randy, bodacious counselors at one Crystal Lake is more brutal than ever. That's because it's directed by Marcus Nispel who also brought back the lauded gorefest originally done by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
If Rob Zombie gave some exposition into his recent take on Halloween, there's little here after a brief monochromatic prologue from June 13, 1980 when a killing spree occurred at Crystal Lake. It led to the decapitation of Jason's mother, and the filmmakers play with and latch onto some of the props and notions from the long-running series.
Before the title card appears in crimson, Jason, now "played" by Derek Mears, has dispatched a group of partying folk with a more demure gal (Amanda Righetti) in their presence. There's been mention of the horrific folklore of Jason and his mother.
The bulk of this obvious, eviscerating experience has her brother, Clay (Jared Padalecki of TV's "Supernatural"), searching for her distributing as many fliers of her as it takes in the eerie woods of the legendary Lake as more hedonists get more than they bargained for. Police and local denizens are hardly optimistic of his chances of finding her, as the missing, it seems, have never turned up.
As the violence and dismemberment escalates during the "chi-chi-chi,ha,ha,ha" music juiced up with ultra-sonic sound cues, an all-thrills weekend turns really sickening, not that long after a missing GPS unit not far from the creaky remains of rotting old cabins.
For the target demographic there's amusement when it comes to the hydroponic growth in the area and the voyeurism on intimacy. Danielle Panabaker is Jenna who feels the need to help out Clay, leaving boyfriend Trent, an unsympathetic Travis Van Winkle, who is trying to keep his family's swank lakehouse intact during the consumption of alcohol and drugs.Trent actually gets the biggest audience response during a later impounding sequence.
Padalecki makes some effort as an actor, but the presence of an infamous killer who finds his white hockey mask after donning burlap for awhile, persisting from the moss-covered trees and underneath the brush. There might be a slight shading from something hardly seen like Baghead as the filmmakers and writers bring some tension around Clay, Jenna, and Trent. Yet, with little of the backstory of Jason hardly having any resonance the only nuance is the manner of bloody mayhem done in the same way as the recent Rambo or with the sadism of Hostel.
This latest resuscitation of a franchise elicits more laughs than chills even if the horror is armed and executed in relatively smooth, swift fashion. Less nerve-racking than The Strangers (with the action around a home invasion rather hard to believe at times) characters, Nispel keeps the illogical threads hanging on a locket in one character's possession. Even after the grinding climax, one knows what to expect as a haunting specter remains intact.