Friday the 13th: Three Shoddy Stalk-‘N’-Slash Movies Packed Into One


As resistant to new ideas as crabgrass is to Weed-B-Gon, the Friday the 13th movies have weathered 3-D, sci-fi, CGI, multiple revivals and finales, and even a battle-of-the-mothballed-bogeymen grudge match against Freddy Krueger, without deviating from their dull stalk-‘n’-slash formula. Entering its 30th year (see: cinema, decline of), the idiot offspring of Halloween and Mario Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve “reboots”—which means the first few minutes restage the original’s climax, followed by a modern-day teaser that grinds up some expendable nobodies . . . and that’s before the title, dude! After that, the movie proper offers more of the same. This means that for one ticket price, you get three shoddy Friday the 13th movies packed into one, which might constitute entertainment value if any one of them constituted entertainment. Fanboys will resent director Marcus “I Fucked Up The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Remake” Nispel’s perfunctory ax/machete/bear trap money shots: Deaths are plentiful, but kinda blah—hardly comparable to Tom Savini’s groundbreaking gore effects in the 1980 original. (Chekhov was right: A woodchipper in the first act will fire up in the third.) Of special note (besides the movie’s boob quotient and weirdly insistent anti-pot subtext) is Arlen Escarpeta in the ever-popular role of the Black Guy Who’s Toast. It falls to Escarpeta to confront the hockey-masked, machete-wielding madman with the most ineffectual weapon in slasher-movie history—which prompted the woman behind me to mutter, “Aw, man, don’t drop that wok.”

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