Back in 1980, there was a tragedy at Camp Crystal Lake when a child drowned, which bred further calamity when the child's mother went on the rampage and killed off the counsellors, leaving one girl to fight back against her and chop off her head in self-defence. Unknown to them both, there was someone watching this incident, and he was the child who was supposed to have died, still alive with his mind twisted by what he had seen, giving him a pathological hatred of people. Now, in the present day, a group of twentysomethings are visiting the area around the lake looking for a crop of marijuana - but they'll find more than that.
Yes, they'll find their own doom! Mwahahahaaaa... Although this film was simply called Friday the 13th (even though nobody mentions such a date during the story), it was no more a remake than any of its Jason Vorhees mayhem-propagating predecessors. This is because they all had pretty much the same plot, with slight variations (although the previous three had tried something different with the formula with varying degrees of success), and that plot was to assemble a group of young people, then have them terrorised by the machete-wielding villain until the end of the film, where he would be supposedly vanquished.
Naturally, when the money rolled in, the studios would crank out another one, and in many ways Jason was the poster boy not only for American horror movies in the eighties, but for American horror movies in the twenty-first century as well, simply because by this time the genre was well on the way to swallowing its own tail. So backward-looking had these films become that you would be hard pressed to think of many U.S. horror hits from this decade that were not based on previous material, and once the original so-called "torture porn" flicks ran out of steam - which happened remarkably quickly - the bosses relied on reimaginings that had very little imagination.
You can't really blame them, they were only doing what they could to score cash at the box office and on the home entertainment market, but the sense of these films painting themselves into a corner was hard to shake off. When this particular remake was announced, the rumour was that it would be a restaging of the first three Friday the 13ths, so it would begin with Mrs Vorhees on the prowl for the first part, then Jason taking revenge with a sack over his head for the second part, and finally he would don the hockey mask for a 3-D return to the third instalment - put on your glasses now! As it turned out, this was not quite true, and while there were elements of those works in this, it could have been any late eighties sequel as far as the script went.
Although this made a lot of moolah, which is what you would expect from a moneymaking machine like this series, not everyone was pleased with the way it turned out. Yet actually, as far as the crop of horror remakes went, it wasn't the worst by any means, simply playing too safe with the trappings of the Jason character; place it somewhere between being not as good as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and better than the Rob ZombieHalloween. There are hints at something more interesting than what we were offered, as when Jared Padalecki's Clay turns up at the lake looking for his missing sister and seems to bear the guilt on his shoulders that Jason shrugs off, but after a while - after a short while - it's business as usual. Julianna Guill guarantees herself a special place in the hearts of horror fans everywhere with her nude scene, there are a selection of well-staged deaths that never quite become surprising, and it's all very professional. If only it didn't feel so like a corporate product, then it might have been easier to warm to. Music by Steve Jablonsky.