In 2009 Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers (who own New Line Cinema) working with the production company Platinum Dunes gave us a soft reset on the Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) story and did their best to up the gore and nudity.
The script seems to want to be a combination of the first three films, though telling a different story, which features Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki as Clay, a young man looking for his sister, Whitney (Amanda Righetti) who went missing in the Crystal Lake area – and apparently looks enough like Mrs. Voorhees to warrant Jason not killing her outright.
Once again, a bunch of goofy twenty-somethings are headed up to the lake to have a weekend of debauchery, but we all know that it just isn’t going to go well. After the opening credit flashback that encapsulates the 1980 original, we follow Whitney’s friends until they are all killed (one brutally hung up over a fire in a sleeping bag), we join Sam, sorry Clay as he hunts for his sister, and bumps into Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) and her friends, all of whom, surprise, are doomed.
The film isn’t overly inspired, and while I’m all for updating Jason, and he’s fast and brutal in this version, he seems to lack the menace that Kane Hodder, and others brought to the role, and the film never seems interested in taking a moment to build the tension of what we’ve come to know as an unstoppable killer.
Jason has apparently dug an underground series of interconnecting tunnels under the camp for him to hide out in, and bring back victims (alive and dead) which just seems odd for the character, though I can’t quite put my finger on why.
The story races from kill to kill even as Jenna joins Clay in his search for Whitney. But who is going to survive this night at Crystal Lake? And how will the last jump scare play out considering how well people know the series?
It’s a slick looking film, and the makeup and visual effects are solid, and well-crafted. I think most fans were simply waiting for something a little better written, not necessarily delving into Jason’s already established history, but something a little more than the cardboard characters that tend to inhabit these films.
The faster Jason, and the visual effects no doubt entertain fans, but as mentioned, there’s no real sense of menace to the character, he strikes too fast to build up any tension in his appearances. Also, Jason’s iconic music only makes a rare appearance throughout the film, further distancing the film from its source, and its fans.
What does the future hold for Jason and Crystal Lake? I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.