Jason Voorhees may be a hockey-masked, machete-wielding killer, but in reality, he just wants his mommy. And until he can find Mommy, he’s going to go kill a bunch of super masculine jocks and hyper-feminine girls. Because if it’s anything Jason hates more than Freddy, it’s traditional gender roles.
When it’s machete time, Jason preys on dumb jocks who pick fights in gas stations. And as for the kind, gentle and sweet guys, Jason lets them live a LOT longer. He’s still going to kill everyone because he’s Jason Voorhees, but anyone who subverts gender roles from the 1950s gets to survive until the near end. It’s one of the reasons I love this remake so much—it holds the horror traditions while remaining innovative.
That’s what makes this Michael Bay, Friday the 13th remake so freaking awesome. It’s got creative kills, hilarious dialogue, Playboy models on water skis, man candy and best of all, Jason Voorhees (Derek Mears). We get to see Jason hack and slash his way through groups of pretty, unsuspecting college kids. And although it’s six years old now, this Friday remake was still one of the most modern of the sequels and remakes. It’s got that millennial feel to it that Scream’s Randy Meeks died dreaming about.
In this Friday, stoners track marijuana plants using a GPS and end up in Camp Crystal Lake. And instead of crushing beers and talking football, this groups of bros and chicks just want to smoke weed and have sex in a tent. What’s wrong with that?
Jason’s nearby and well, he hates fun. Drinking, smoking, sex, not on Jason’s watch. That is, how he got killed, after all.
Originally crafted as an origins film, Michael Bay ended up creating this movie as a reimagining of the first four Friday the 13th films. In this new Friday, we get a quick snapshot of Mrs. Voorhees, Jason’s mother, the killer from the first film. Remember Jason drowned at Camp Crystal Lake because the counselors assigned to watch him were having sex in a nearby cabin. Momma Voorhees went on a killing spree when she found out her poor, deformed son had died. And from that point on, Jason would haunt Crystal Lake, killing anyone and everyone in his sight.
Despite its litany of lackluster reviews, Friday the 13th is the highest grossing horror franchise in America. Besides, what critics ever like teen slashers? When the original Friday the 13th premiered in 1980, with hot shot Kevin Bacon and gruesome killer, Mrs. Voorhees, fans went crazy. And as her son, disfigured psycho, Jason Voorhees became the killer in the sequels, the success of Friday took off. My favorite in the series is the highest grossing film in the franchise, the 2009 remake starring Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, and Willa Ford.
In this remake, we get to meet Jason pre-hockey masks as he burns a girl alive in her own sleeping bag and murders the others with his machete. Jason kills everyone except Whitney Miller (Amanda Righetti). Whitney manages to outsmart the killer, convincing him to let her live. So for six straight weeks, Whitney lives in a hovel below ground, the sole survivor of a mass killing.
And that’s where our main group of college kids arrive: to the town of Crystal Lake. It’s unclear whether this new group of twenty-somethings will be able to help Whitney. That is until her gorgeous, motorcycle-riding brother shows up looking for her.
Whitney’s brother, Clay (Jared Padalecki, Supernatural) represents one of my favorite slasher archetypes, The Sweetheart. Unlike Super Douche, Trent (Travis Van Winkle) Clay is kind, down to earth and genuine. He rides his little motorbike around town looking for his lost sister while the others get drunk and screw. Clay is super sweet and actually looks after Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), which is more than we can say for her boyfriend Trent.
I really love when horror films pit two male stereotypes up against each other. The macho douchebag also dies first, due to his own chauvinistic decisions. The second Trent says, “stupendous tits” you know he’s dead. Yet Clay does things like hold Jenna’s hand and protect her. Clay genuinely cares about Jenna and his sister, Whitney—which is really sweet to see. Nice guys may finish last in real life, but in horror movies, sometimes the geek gets the girl. And it helps when the geek has a really nice chest like say, Clay.
In this issue, we’ll be looking at The Sweetheart, the male version of the Final Girl in the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th. I’m sure some horror fans call him something else, but the Final Guy just sounds like something off The Bachelor. So let’s get to know The Sweetheart, the super-hot and sensitive guy who always gets the girl.
The Sweetheart is feminist as fuck. He’ll do crazy things like attack hyper-masculine men, treat women as equals and share his emotions in a group setting. The Sweetheart is just as jacked and hot as the main alpha-douche, but he dresses modestly because he’s super deep. He’s one of those guys that would save your life and then show you his dream journal.
So what’s so fascinating about The Sweetheart and how is he like the Final Girl? Remember to qualify as a FG one must survive incredible pain and suffering, triumph and kill the attacker. The Sweetheart accomplishes all of that while getting to date the Final Girl (or near FG in this film). The Sweetheart should not be confused with Well-Meaning Boyfriend, the sweet, sensitive, buff guy who always gets killed (think Sidney’s boyfriend, Derek in Scream 2). The Sweetheart, by contrast, is a freaking badass.
In Friday the 13th, Jared Padalecki plays one amazing Sweetheart, Clay Miller. Clay has all the muscles and sweetness to qualify, now we just have to pit him up against Super Douche. Super Douche is the antithesis of the Sweetheart. Think John Travolta’s Billy in Carrie: dumb, conservative jock. Super Douche is played brilliantly by Travis Van Winkle in his portrayal of Trent.
Trent is the reason this group of college kids are even out at Jason’s lake. As a douche of the trust-fund variety, Trent has a party at his super cool lake house. We are aware of Trent’s doucheness from the very beginning, starting with his blonde curly hair. And as we all know the premise of Friday goes as follows: Jason kills the douche-bags and sluts, we see shots of the moon, Jason kills everyone else. So identifying Trent as Super Douche adds to the fun of knowing he’s going to die very soon.
Trent, Super Douche, refuses to help Sweetheart Clay look for his possibly dead sister. He even screams the cliché, “BRO!” at him and threatens to fight him. He even attempts to exert his masculinity through his giant Escalade and boat that no one is allowed to ruin. Trent even bitches about people using coasters when drinking and doing drugs. OCD D-bags are the worst. Okay but the Trentiest thing he does is probably having sex with his GF’s BFF. And even worse, when his GF Jenna, needs his help with the psycho killer outside … he won’t stop screwing her friend.
Does it get worse? Of course, Trent is awful. After refusing to help save his friends’ lives, Trent tells the girl, “Your tits are stupendous. Perfect nipple placement.” Sure, the director hired a few Playboy models to star in the film, but stupendous tits? Really? We know from this line alone that Trent is going to die. Because let’s review, Jason hates alpha males.
So justice is brought to life after Trent fires a gun he cannot operate. Jason finds this amusing then impales Trent on the back spikes of a tow truck. That’s right, Trent’s twitching corpse gets dragged, dying and bloody all through the town. Sorry, Trent, as Randy would say, “There’s a formula, a very simple formula” (Scream). And in that formula, super masculine bros who man up, get slaughtered.
Since the alpha is dead, we’re left with The Sweetheart, Clay. Clay is a feminist who fights for women’s rights and is sweet, kind and considerate. And of course he’s single because he’s still waiting for that perfect girl. And now that Trent’s dead, his once GF, Jenna is totally single. Following the rules of horror, Clay gets Jenna, and that he does. They even get to kiss and hold hands before Jason kills her.
Clay then finds Whitney, his long lost sister, and the two team up to kill Jason. Briefly. Whitney is a badass near FG who stabs Jason with his own machete. Clay helps her kill Jason and dump his body in the lake. And then Clay and Whitney start their new life together …
Just kidding, this is Friday the 13th, so Jason comes back and kills them both.
In the end, there’s no Final Girl—everyone gets slashed. And I think that’s what so fascinating about these films. Also might be why the critics always trash it with such greater hatred than say, Halloween. With Halloween, we get Jamie Lee Curtis as the Final Girl, someone to root for. But with Friday, everyone dies all the time. Jason doesn’t leave one last feminist to warn the townspeople. Everyone freaking dies. And whether critics will admit it, they trash Friday because it breaks traditional horror rules.
The rules state that strong, independent women who show great moral dignity and persistence get to survive. This is why Sidney Prescott makes it through Scream and Nancy makes it to Nightmare on Elm St. 2—Final Girls get rewarded with survival. But in Friday, it’s a free for all, the slutty blonde water skiing topless gets killed as does the chaste feminist who serves only to serve others.
Jason does not give a fuck.
Since there’s no Final Girl in the 2009 Friday the 13th remake, what are we doing here? Friday the 13th is such an important and amazing piece of horror history. It broke all the rules and earned more money and recognition than anyone thought possible for a deranged psycho with a hockey mask. It serves as one of the big influences on the Scream franchise and still makes important commentary on gender and identity. Friday is referenced in the opening scene of Scream (1996), as the killer uses horror trivia to taunt his prey.
Killer: Name the killer in Friday the 13th
Casey: Jason! Jason! Jason!
Killer: I’m sorry … Jason’s mother was the original killer. Jason didn’t show up until the sequels.
And that’s when poor Casey’s boyfriend Steve, gets gutted to death by the killer. Like Jason with a machete, the killer hacks Casey to pieces with no remorse. But unlike the Scream killer, Jason replaces any witty repartee with more death.
So as a strong influence for Scream and a slasher that breaks the rules, Friday the 13th remains one of my favorites. And because there are no Final Girls, it allows us to focus on the men in the slasher, and there are some great ones here.