On Friday, February 13, audiences will flock to theaters nationwide to catch up with an old, dear friend — who just happens to wear a hockey mask and slaughter teenagers by the dozen. That’s right, Jason is back with a brand-new, slickly produced, Michael Bay-powered reinvention of [movie id="369154"]“Friday the 13th”[/movie] that drags the Crystal Lake killer into the 21st century. But how does it stack up to the original and its earlier sequels?
To answer that question, your humble MTV Movies correspondent (me) re-watched all 11 Jason movies — and saw the new 12th one — in six days. And what I found speaks volumes about the various filmmakers who’ve handled (or mishandled) the franchise, the bloodlust of the movies’ fanbase and why Jason is still the best when it comes to the “ritual” in ritual killing.
(The results of our scientific sex & violence survey can be seen in graph form.)
Let’s start with what supposedly matters most to us “Friday the 13th” fans: the body count. In the new “Friday the 13th,” Jason kills 12 people, tying 1984′s “Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter” for the third-fewest murders. Generally, the franchise’s bloodlust grew with each sequel, maxing out at an amazing 23 in 2001′s “Jason X,” before 2003′s “Freddy vs. Jason” had the goalie-masked murderer sharing victims — yet still notching 17 kills.
Does this mean the new movie is a severe departure from the beloved franchise? Not at all. In fact, the next two statistics reflect the fact that Bay’s “Friday the 13th” is more like a Jason movie on steroids.
As every good Jason fan knows, the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake love their drugs — and the new movie doesn’t disappoint in that department. There are a record-setting four scenes in which characters are imbibing in (or talking about) marijuana, cocaine, etc. That’s enough to overtake a tie between 1985′s [movie id="12718"]“Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning”[/movie] and “Freddy vs. Jason” at three scenes apiece. Incidentally, “Final Chapter,” [movie id="12719"]“Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives”[/movie] (1986) and 1993′s “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” have no drug scenes whatsoever — so, if you’re looking to sit in with the kids on a Friday night, those are the ones to rent.
Oh, but wait! There’s all that sex! Fornication is the one thing Camp Crystal Lakers enjoy even more than smoking weed, and the new film once again stands near the top, with an astounding five scenes depicting nudity or sex. It is defeated only by the eight instances in “Final Chapter” — which explains why none of those kids had the time to do drugs. It should be mentioned, however, that “Final Chapter” pads its numbers when an ill-fated character finds some vintage porn reels, which are shown in several different scenes.
The new movie is also impressive in its restraint from abusing one of the most overused “Friday the 13th” trademarks: The “CHOO-choo-choo, HAH-ha-ha” shot. The new film only uses the noise in four scenes, ranking it in the lower third with “Jason Goes to Hell” (two), “Jason Lives” (three) and “A New Beginning” (also four). The directors of 1981′s [movie id="12716"]“Friday the 13th Part 2″[/movie] and 1988′s [movie id="12720"]“Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood”[/movie] should have been dragged away from the soundboard, meanwhile, as they abused the noise 29 and 28 times, respectively.
Which brings us to Jason’s signature killing tool: the machete. In the new flick, Jason uses his large, heavy broadsword not for clearing brush but for killing seven of his 12 victims. It is the most machete kills of any “Friday the 13th” movie — and incidentally, before you buy a machete to compliment your Jason costume next Halloween, keep in mind that there are zero machete kills by Jason (or his mother, or those he has possessed) in 1980′s original “Friday the 13th,” 1989′s [movie id="41416"]“Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan”[/movie] or 1993′s “Jason Goes to Hell.”
And then there’s the Vorhees boy’s signature move: the beheading. It’s not nearly as signature as you might think, with only one decapitation in the new flick (placing it in a tie with five other “Friday” films). Five Jason films don’t depict any victims’ heads being freed from their bodily roots, while only “Jason Lives” kicks it up a notch to four with a rare triple-beheading of some weekend paintball warriors.
Last but not least, we need to address the critics who’ve beaten on the “Friday the 13th” movies worse than Julius (you know, the boxer kid who was beheaded with a punch when Jason took Manhattan). The laziest cliché in horror films, as we all know, is the cheap scare a director creates when things get tense and a character opens a door … only to have a cat jump out at him. In actuality, only two Jason movies should be reprimanded for doing the phony “It was just the cat” scare: “Part II” and “Part V.”
Thankfully, there are no cats to be seen in the new “Friday the 13th” — and as it pushes the franchise’s all-time body count to 183, this sexier, druggier, less-gimmicky reinvention seems determined to turn you into the pussycat.