Director: Marcus Nispel
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle, Derek Mears

Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in. My relationship with the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise is kind of like Michael Corleone’s relationship with organized crime: I’ve never been a big fan of it, I’ve told myself on numerous occasions that I can’t subject myself to more of it … but dammit, I keep coming back for more. And to make things worse, this one was actually pretty good.

This new FRIDAY works because it plays both to die hard Jason freaks out there as well as newcomers to the series (if such a thing even exists.) Both a revamp of the franchise as well as the Jason character himself, those who have seen every FRIDAY thus far will appreciate how this film incorporates elements from the original three FRIDAY while breathing just a bit of new life into everybody’s favorite mama’s boy.

Whereas we were originally subjected to a whole movie without Jason in the first FRIDAY and then subjected to a sack-wearing Jason in the second FRIDAY, this new FRIDAY deals with the former aspect during the film’s opening credits and the later costume change about half way into the movie.

Although it is of little consequence, the plot centers on a group of young people come who have come to spend the weekend at the rich guy’s family country place, which just happens to be on the shore of Crystal Lake opposite from the infamous summer camp. The group runs into this other guy who’s on the search for his sister who was last seen in the movie coming face to face with Jason in a great sequence of mayhem that unfolds entirely before the film’s title card even comes on screen.

All the slasher staples are here. There’s a high body count, casual drug use and three scenes of partial nudity (one on water skis!). Jason is the killing machine we remember, but there’s something about him that seems just a little more human (especially more human than the super-human zombie that he would eventually become in the later installments of the original Friday series). This Jason, for instance, has a lair built underneath some of the old cabins where he crashes after a long day of murdering. In addition, Jason’s methods of killing are a little more diverse and we learn that he is quite handy with a bow and arrow. And purists beware, there’s even a brief instance where we see the big guy start to run instead of walking.

Let’s be honest, how good could these movies ever really get? Slashers, plain and simple, have only so much you can do with them. That being said, Michael Bay and co. have done a decent job at bringing a franchise back to life which seemed like it might had seen its last days when it made its ill advised foray into outer space. At least Jason is back at Crystal Lake where he belongs. And he’s in the best shape of his career.