It doesn’t take a genius to realize why campers have returned once again to Crystal Lake. That’s where the money is. This horror/slasher franchise has repeatedly paid off on an inexpensive filmmaking investment. Even a previous “failed remake,” costing $20 million, earned $80 million at the box-office.
Audiences line up for this kind of creepy slaughter because it’s mindless diversion with just enough scares to make you scream but not enough credible threats to give you nightmares – unless you’re under 18 and should not be allowed in the theater.
According to the extended prologue, back on June 13, 1980 (which happened to fall on a Tuesday, not a Friday), Whitney Miller (Amanda Righetti from TV’s “The Mentalist”) decapitated Mrs. Voorhees, who had murdered the camp counselors she deemed responsible for the accidental drowning death of her young son, Jason (Derek Mears). Now Whitney’s brother, Clay (Jared Padalecki from TV’s “Supernatural”) is searching for his sister, the sole survivor, while revenge-crazed Jason – in his signature hockey-mask – is after her and some pot-puffing, partying clods (Trent Van Winkle, Jonathan Sadowski, Ben Feldman, Nick Mennell, Aaron Yoo) and insipid coeds (Dana Panabaker, America Olivio, Juliana Guill) who, predictably, shed their shirts as danger approaches in the dark woods. Predatory Jason’s machete is sharp and his victims’ wits are dull, so the corpses pile up as the cold-blooded carnage unfolds pretty much as expected.
Producer Michael Bay and director Marcus Nispel, who collaborated on the 2003 remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” once again work with cinematographer Daniel C. Pearl, as screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon (“Freddy vs. Jason”) reinvent psychotic Jason as a victim of parental neglect who turns to murderous mayhem. A bizarre homage to Lauren Bacall’s classic “Put your lips together and blow” line from Howard Hawks’ “To Have and Have Not” is beyond incongruous.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Friday ” is an angry, grisly, gory 3. And, according to cash-counting New Line studio executive Toby Emmerich, a similar remake of “Nightmare on Elm Street” is coming next.