Five years ago today, the Friday the 13th reboot hit the screen. The film had claimed a Friday, February 13, 2009 release, while another slasher movie opening that season – My Bloody Valentine 3D – arrived a month earlier on January 16th, a good distance from an apropos Valentine's Day holiday debut. So, instead of getting a Valentine's-themed massacre on February 13th, we received a love letter to Jason Voorhees and his Crystal Lake exploits.
Yes, a love letter.
Friday the 13th grossed nearly $100 million worldwide upon its release, but it divided horror fans…surprise, surprise. I know that if I look hard enough, I'll find those who dig this reboot like I do. But I know I'm in the minority and, frankly, I don't understand why.
At the time I reviewed the film, I was called out for myriad reasons for giving it a positive critique. Five years later, I'll tell you this: It's still one of my favorite entries in the franchise. Mind you, it's further down the list behind: Jason Lives, Part III, The Final Chapter, Part 2 and the first film (and that, there, is personally how I would rank those films). Still, it's far better than the others…especially Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X (sorry, Todd) and Freddy vs. Jason.
Friday the 13th 2009 is the embodiment of both a reboot and a "greatest hits" album. It's the collective energy of the Friday the 13th series – the sex, death, douchebags, goofballs, babes and the effective, no-nonsense Jason who gets the job done – and it channels it through a good-looking, fun film. Plus, Derek Mears is a terrific Jason!
Now, because this is a reboot, sure, we have to expect the writers/director/producing team are going to switch some things up, but I'm not going to fault the film for the decisions that were made and totally dismiss the movie as a whole.
I mean, look at what we've experienced in the past. Up until Jason Lives, Voorhees was a flesh and blood man. Then he became a killer from beyond the grave. That's switching things up in the franchise big time. I'd venture to say that's bigger than giving Jason a tunnel system beneath the camp, no? He fights a girl with friggin' telekinetic powers in The New Blood, but how dare he keep a girl hidden away that reminds him of his mother! He's faced corny characters that are there to provide a bit of levity, yet when he targets a few stoners it's a major point of concern.
I've never quite understood the vitriol Friday the 13th 2009 has received over the years considering the acceptances Voorhees fans have made throughout the series.
I'd like to think, as Friday the 13th fans (and I'm a big one, trust me), we're a forgivable lot. We look at these films with the same amusement we did as kids and roll with things with a bit less scrutiny than we would any other franchise. As long as we get the things we look for personally in a Friday the 13th film, we're okay. Can anyone out there genuinely tell me there was not one thing about the 2009 reboot that didn't cater to what you enjoy about the series? I think the film gets a bum rap. But that's just me. I'm happy to have one more good Jason movie to select from when I get the urge to marathon these movies.