*/**** Image C+ Sound A- Extras C
starring Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Travis van Winkle
screenplay by Damian Shannon & Mark Swift, based on characters created by Victor Miller
directed by Marcus Nispel
by Ian Pugh SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. It's both surprising and disappointing that, after ten Friday the 13th films (or rather, ten Jason films), it took a crossover with Freddy Krueger to coax genuine pathos out of a hulking man-child who refused to die until he could sufficiently please Mommy. So it was to my great pleasure and delight that Marcus Nispel seemed poised to exploit that potential and separate it from its less savoury aspects. (He even starts things off with a pinch of disdain for the '80s nostalgia that brought this project to life, with the victims-to-be making weightless references to Blue Velvet and rocking out to Night Ranger.) Ironically enough, though, the remake reduces this worn-out scenario to something less complex. Using the bare essentials of the original film and its first sequel as backstory--a headless mother, oblivious campers in search of weed, and a backwoods monstrosity with a bag over his head--the amazing pre-title sequence implies that Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears) is most effective as a rumour whispered around the campfire, specifically designed to keep you awake at night. Might be heresy to say it, but in this opening salvo, Nispel's Jason promises to become a presence of terror equal to his immediate antecedent, John Carpenter's trend-setting Michael Myers. He's not an amorphous bogeyman ready to leap from the shadows, but a piece of teenage folklore that by all rights shouldn't exist, brought to murderous life by overactive imaginations.