Confused Views: A band of violent simpletons

Matt offers his unique views on the Friday The 13th remake, while savng his week with a screening of In The Loop...

Did anyone see the documentary about Charles Manson on Monday? Bloody hell, what a bastard he was. Well, I assume that was the point of the documentary. I didn’t manage to get further than about 10 minutes in owing entirely to the cheesy reconstructions. I’m already familiar with the tale of Uncle Charlie and if I wanted to watch a slickly produced Hollywood murderathon I would’ve put on the new Friday The 13th remake. Actually, I did quite want to watch a slickly produced Hollywood murderathon and so I did watch the Friday The 13th remake.

Funnily enough, 10 minutes into that and I started to long for Charles Manson. Not the documentary on Five, but actual Charles Manson and family. I found myself willing the swastika-faced git and his band of violent simpletons through time and into my flat, where they could carry out the devil’s work and obliterate me before painting the walls of the flat with my blood.

I’ve got a theory about how this Friday The 13th remake came to be.  It all starts at a meeting with several studio executives who are discussing the F13 property and what they might want to include in a remake.

Executive 1: Okay guys, I’m blue-skying this. Let’s do a thought shower. Friday The 13th, what do the fans want? Executive 2: Tits! Executive 3: The hockey mask guy. You gotta have the hockey mask guy. Executive 2: Tits! Executive 4: Stoner kids getting killed in all sorts of ways. Executive 2: Tiiiiits! Executive 5:  All the teenagers all runnin’ round in the woods, doin’ sex and drinking and all that and then all of the gory blood. Executive 2: Bloody great big whopping tits bouncing around, great big tits, tits, bloody loads of filthy mucky dirty tits!

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Basically, what we get from the F13 remake is a group of haircuts and breast implants frolicking in the woods until masked killer Jason Voorhees murders them in a series of unnecessarily elaborate ways. There’s also a bit of plot thrown in about someone looking for their sister (who Jason has decided to keep as his prisoner, presumably for a laugh), culminating an anti-climactic showdown between Jason and the most heroic of the haircuts. The original Friday The 13th is reduced to a 30 second prologue, this remake taking more from parts 2 and 3 of the original series.

You’d think it would be great fun to watch the kids from the OC get mercilessly slaughtered. In fact, given the right circumstances, say a documentary or viewed firsthand as part of Manson-style cult, I imagine it’s quite a brilliant experience. Friday The 13th (2009), though, feels more like the kids from the OC made a horror movie for themselves and we’ve all accidentally stumbled into it. The characters, even by Friday The 13th standards, are so remarkably shallow that they’d most likely have their minds blown by a book on philosophy written by a professional footballer. Who plays for Tottenham.

One particular scene that caught my attention is the topless waterskiing scene, a set-up that starts out as stupid as it sounds and proceeds to dumb down from there. Having tumbled into the lake, the confused, shirtless young water skier shouts in protest as a speed boat ploughs into her face (the driver having been shot through the skull with an arrow). I think that even the most professional of village idiots would have avoided injury in this situation. It’s infuriating.  Here’s an idea, if a boat is powering towards you at speed, why not, even if just as a precautionary measure, get out of the fucking way.

Perhaps this will become a new horror cliché. There’s people getting stabbed in the shower, chased by a random masked maniac, stalked when they’re supposed to be babysitting, slashed when they’re camping, tortured when they’ve been kidnapped and now clattered when they mill about in the path of a moving vehicle.

Now, I didn’t go into Friday The 13th expecting a masterpiece, or even a film of moderate intelligence, but this remake is shocking in its lack of ambition. It’s entirely satisfied to be a soulless retread of the stereotypical Friday The 13th movie, polished up to make it look all pretty and shiny (thus removing much of the original series’ appeal).  I also can’t say I remember any of the other F13 movies being quite so boring and free of tension. This remake was about as tense as a boneless man receiving a massage in a sauna.

If there’s one thing about it that really chafes my balls, though, it’s that it made so much more money than Drag Me To Hell. What the fuck is wrong with people? It’s enough to make you want to take to the desert and start a new life. Who’s with me? We’ll take drugs all day and just trip out, man. We’ll play music and have orgies and grow our own food. Then you can do my murderous bidding for me. It’ll be far out, dude.

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Before we all disappear over the edge and into the abyss of my most psychotic fantasies, let’s give society one last chance. I’m only recommending this based on the release of In The Loop, the brilliant feature film version of Armando Ianucci’s The Thick Of It. Not only does it feature a cracking cast, razor sharp wit and best insult that I’ve heard in absolutely bloody ages (“Was it you, the baby from Eraserhead?”), but it actually calms the murderous rage within my soul and makes me not want to brainwash a group of impressionable buffoons into killing on my command. Which, I think regular readers will agree, is quite an achievement.