Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The best is the rest: The Friday the 13th reboot is the best one

at 6:05 PM
This has absolutely no intro or structure because it was supposed to be an email, but it's never gonna get published if I set it aside for editing, so fuck it!

The whole thing is almost exactly one third PART 2 (Jason's house), one third PART 3 (barnhouse battle), and one third PART IV (creepy "hunky" guy looking for missing sister charms final girl), obviously stitched together by the common "party kids" framework of all of them. This being a reboot and all I actually like that they reworked setpieces - it makes the references feel organic rather than like winking. The Part IV bit brings attention to just how lazy the reboot writing is though - at least the original allowed the audience to believe (however unlikely this would've been) that heroguy might actually be the murderer. The omission of that "tension" spares the insult to our intelligence and lets the movie gush with the afore-described Jason action, so I'm glad for it, but it doesn't exactly explain what that guy does for the movie. They coulda just had the final girl save the basement girl and die escaping or escape together or w/e - it's not like the final girl fakeout was effective in any capacity.

It occurred to me the reason I liked this one best: it's an action movie. Compound bow and all, this Jason is basically Rambo. He's on screen for what seems like two or three times as long as the franchise average - whether this is actually the case or whether it's that his scenes aren't all wasted on mannequin poses, the effect is that you feel the strain he's going through and the skill and cunning necessary to pull it off. From the PTSD freak-out after finding traces of intruders in his house to the calculated monitoring of the girl stranded in the lake (to make sure she drowns), Jason feels logical, unstable, and badass. It reaches the same end as the magic realism of the rest of the series - that he so far outclasses his targets that survival is utterly hopeless - but does so using action [movie techniques]. For the same reason, that's still not enough to make him scary - that would require the kind of stakes that you can't have in such a rigidly formulaic structure, let alone one established with such lazy "you don't care so we don't care" writing. And - yeah - I used too many dashes in this paragraph, but it went past the 10 second edit rule, and even if were publishing this I'd still make a "joke" here instead of fixing it. [editor's note: mission accomplished!]

There's also a TCM effect where most of the kills happen in quick bursts - it's not nearly as dramatic as everyone dying in a 10-minute span in the middle of the movie, but you're still getting kill sequences rather than individual picking off. In fact I can't think of a single kill that doesn't directly lead from or into another one - the intro blasts through four, the boating setup has a pair, and the home invasion is pretty methodical in drawing out each victim with the last, until the point where the mean guy breaks for it and gets chased down. This too feels like What Would Rambo Do.

Jason's backstory is very weird and incomplete and I almost want to say that works as a plus. He lives around the lake and kills literally everyone that comes near? Obviously people know about it - that old lady warns the kids (about her dog???). How do people live there then? It's not like Jason "protects" the lake from outsiders - he kills that hick too. And what the hell is going on with that marijuana crop? I would've turned off the movie had that been brought up again. And the kidnapping thing is pretty unacceptably stupid. Based on everything we know about Jason even in this movie I could buy at most that he'd let a girl go if she looked like his mom. Keeping her in his basement is like, what, was he bringing her Pepperidge Farm Sandwich-in-a-Box sandwiches every evening?

No comments:

Post a Comment