Enough With The Remakes…

Friday the 13th 2009

Alright, the art of the movie remake is something that has been going on for quite some time with varying degrees of success, but it seems that in recent years the proliferation of such releases has gotten a bit out of hand. Sure, everyone knows why this is done, and it’s all about money. The movie-going public is primarily comprised of younger folks, and opening up older films in an updated version to a new audience means big box office numbers. This is no more evident than in the abundance of re-imaginings in the horror genre. However, when does enough become enough? Will Hollywood eventually reach a point when the town has remade every single film ever produced? It’s beginning to look that way. Also, what ever happened to quality filmmaking? If a studio is going to reinvent a classic, shouldn’t it at least be good? Granted, there are remakes that are quite solid, but overall, remakes have a batting average around the Mendoza Line. Most of them tend not to add anything to the original, nor do the new versions usually do much to put a novel spin on the particular franchise, but in the interest of being fair, a few of the more recent horror re-workings will be objectively reviewed here.

Friday the 13th (2009): Alright, the original film from 1980 is possibly the ultimate slasher movie, and it has spawned a multitude of sequels with the most recent featuring Jason Voorhees taking on Freddy Krueger (Freddy vs. Jason) from Nightmare on Elm Street fame in 2003. So, this begs the question, “What would possibly be the point in remaking a Friday the 13th movie?” The last one was just a couple years ago. Why not just make another Jason title with an original script? No, Hollywood has to destroy Jason’s legacy with what turns out to be a completely pointless (Surprise!) re-imagining. The only difference this time around is that it’s actually Jason doing the killing in this one. Remember, it was actually his mother doing the slashing in the original. Anyway, there aren’t any original killings in this version, which is a staple of the series, so that’s a bummer. Also, no one needs to see where Jason lives. Part of the allure and mystique of the Jason monster is that folks don’t really know what his living situation is. However, that’s not even the most offensive part of the film. (SPOILER ALERT, if in fact, there can be spoilers in a slasher film). Jason doesn’t take prisoners! Yeah, someone might be able to confuse him for a moment by wearing his mother’s sweater or something, but unless that potential victim does some quick thinking and acts accordingly, they’re dead! Cut to later in the film when Amanda Righetti is chained up in Jason’s lair… ridiculous. The movie could not have been sillier if the kids pulled off Jason’s mask and he was revealed to be Don Rickles, who then insulted people to death, since that’s what the film is really doing anyway.

Day of the Dead (2008): This re-working of director George A. Romero’s third “dead” film is actually a passable movie. The proceedings move along at a decent pace, and there are some legitimately intense moments from the zombies that are of the new, fast-moving variety, as opposed to the preferable style of Romero’s slow, plodding undead. Additionally, Mena Suvari is steady in the lead role without having a ton to work with. However, here’s the major problem… Where’s the gore?! Any zombie film should have its share of bloody, disgusting carnage, right? Well, it’s in relatively short supply here. There are some splatters here and there, but nothing one would expect from such a feature. There’s also the character of Bud (Stark Sands) to contend with. Listen carefully: Zombies eat people! That’s it. There’s no gray area, and the notion of a sensitive, vegetarian zombie just isn’t going to fly, period. It’s also worth mentioning that Nick Cannon is unfortunately soulless as the wise-talking tough guy, so whether he lives or dies is pretty inconsequential. It seems the filmmakers felt the same way, given their multiple endings.

My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009): While it’s questionable why the original off-the-board film (that wasn’t without charm, in a twisted way, of course) would warrant an update in the first place, this version almost gets high marks strictly for the 3D effects, some of which are quite good and add a fun element to the effort. Check out the girl in the beginning who gets killed… priceless. The film also deserves credit for trying to do something a little different with the narrative. Instead of deteriorating into a typical slasher flick like the original, My Bloody Valentine 3D also tries to introduce a little murder-mystery aspect. Sadly, slick effects and good intentions don’t make a good film by themselves, and in the end it offers few surprises. There are some creative kills, but the story plods along and viewers will find it difficult to care for the characters due to a severe lack of depth, which isn’t necessarily needed for a slasher film, but is required for a mystery. Many fans will simply wait patiently for the movie to come to a very unsurprising, uninspired and ineffective end.

To sum up, here’s some advice for fans and casual collectors: Stick to the originals. Oh, and here’s some advice for the studios: How about stepping the game up to create some original, quality product instead of trite retreads? What’s next? A remake of Leprechaun?