This feature originally ran in May 2016. We’re reposting it today because … well, check your calendar.
Why do I love the Friday the 13th franchise so much? Most entries feature poor directing, acting, writing, editing, lighting — really every credit involved in making a movie. The best way to describe this series, and the slasher genre as a whole, is to look at it as a roller coaster.
If you look at a roller coaster as a sound, structural piece of transportation, it’s a disaster. The loops are dangerous. The corkscrews look nauseating. Those drops? Unnecessary. But we still ride them because we know we’re safe. We can scream and yell and twist and turn, but we’re strapped in. If we experienced something akin to a roller coaster on a highway heading from New York to Florida, we’d be horrified.
Like roller coasters, the Friday series is a temporary escape. We don’t root for killers in our everyday lives (at least I don’t). We don’t laugh when people get decapitated, impaled, or torn in two. These movies are fun rides for about 87 minutes a pop. You can even be afraid of heights and enjoy them for what they are.
However, if the sight of blood, fake or otherwise, gets to you, look away. I took a deep dive into Jason, his mother, the paramedic who kills all those kids in the fifth movie, and dissected each entry, ranked them, and then went ahead and ranked the kills in each movie. Yes, I even included the spinoff Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 remake. Please feel free to comment with your outrage below.
Happy Friday the 13th. I’ll let the narrator from The New Blood take it from here…
“There’s a legend round here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake. A death curse. Jason Voorhees’ curse. They say he died as a boy, but he keeps coming back. Few have seen him and lived. Some have even tried to stop him. No one can. People forget he’s down there…waiting…
Senior Staff Writer
P.S. A special thanks to Friday the 13th The Franchise for help with the body count.
12. Friday the 13th (2009)
“Plot”: A group of teens stay at a lake house on Crystal Lake for the weekend while a young man searches for his missing sister. Jason’s back … for the first time.
Jason: Derek Mears, a proper actor, takes up the reigns in this franchise reboot. Because of the new circumstances, this Jason is an actual living, breathing psychopath for the first time since Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, unless you believe he died at the end of Part 3, unless you believe adult Jason was always dead — who cares. Mears is fine. His Jason actually tricks his victims by using others to lure them out (burning sleeping bag, dying post-ax attack, etc.).
Murder by Death — Ranking the Kills:
05. Officer Bracke
11. Trent DeMarco
12. Mrs. Voorhees
Final Girl: Credit goes to the filmmakers for pulling a last-minute switcheroo. There isn’t a moment that we don’t truly believe Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) will be the last one standing…until she isn’t. After helping Whitney (Amanda Righetti) escape, Jenna gets machete’d. I did not see that coming. This leaves the Miller siblings (Righetti and Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki) as the last survivors … until Jason emerges from the water. Roll credits.
Comedy Relief: A progressive movie. The geek this time … is played by an actor of Asian descent! Aaron Yoo plays Chewie, a science nerd with abilities to create fun ways to smoke weed. Aside from Jenna and Clay, everyone in this movie is a total jerk, including the aforementioned geek. This works heavily against the movie. Rooting for Jason is one thing, but actively rooting against the cast of hunks and hotties is another.
Town Crazy: There is an old woman who passes on some guarded information about Jason, but I think the real crazy comes in the character of Donnie (Kyle Davis). A local mechanic/pothead, Donnie has a mannequin in storage he’s been intimate with. I don’t mean to judge, but this guy sounds like a real nut. His habitat also provides housing for a hockey mask, which Jason picks up halfway through the movie.
Best Kill: In an homage to one of the most popular deaths in the franchise, Amanda is killed in her sleeping bag. However, this time the victim is zipped up in her sleeping bag and burned alive atop a campfire. Its little homages like this that make the movie something other than disposable (see also: a wheelchair in Jason’s lair).
Reboot? Sequel? Remake?: Filmmakers seemed confused about what to do with this movie. With a prologue that remakes the original’s ending, gives us a modern-day rag-faced Jason (Part 2), a brother searching for what happened to his sister (The Final Chapter), and Jason finding the hockey mask (Part 3), what is this supposed to be?
Summary: Just read the above. What works most against this remake is a sense of individuality. Even the worst entries have something about them that stands out, what with those trips to Manhattan, demon possession, and when the killer turns out to be someone other than Jason. This plays like the greatest hits re-recorded, and why do that when you can just check out the originals? More pointless than incompetent, but pointless nonetheless.
Halloweenies? Coming soon.