Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th. Boo scary.

In order to be prepared for the day, I decided to watch the fantastically odd Jason X which had been sitting in my pile of unwatched NetFlix movies for weeks now (mainly because whenever I am home, my son is also home, and I'd rather not expose him to such violent content just yet).

This is the tenth installment of the Friday the 13th slasher horror series starring a hockey-mask-wearing, machete-wielding, always-comes-back-from-the-dead camp counselor killer. As with most of these movies, you pretty much know what you're getting into when you pop in the DVD or slap down the bucks for a ticket. At some level, they're all the same: a bunch of hedonistic teens are so busy hitting on each other, they barely notice that a supernatural killer is taking them out alone or in pairs (depending on how promiscuous they are). Generally, the most virginal girl manages to escape, but not before running a gauntlet of the corpses of all her friends falling out of trees, cabinets, ice lockers, etc.

Jason X is no different, but it does manage to put an interesting spin on the tale by setting it in the future on a spaceship, like a cross between Friday the 13th and Alien. But the futuristic trappings are just that: trappings. Apparently, in the future, teens man starships instead of running summer camps, and run off to their sleeping quarters instead of log cabins. Rather than trying to get away in a canoe, they try to get away in an escape pod. And the same dumb lines work on the giggling girls.

Still, there were a few things that were good about the movie. One interesting part was the addition of an andriod that managed to kick Jason's worm-eaten behind in a low-rent version of a Matrix martial-arts-with-guns scene. That was pretty entertaining.

But the best part was when they tried slowing Jason down by projecting Star Trek: The Next Generation style holodeck imagery around him to keep him busy. The setting was Crystal Lake, natch, but the funny part was the people they populated it with: two oversexed camp counselor girls who did a very good job mocking the kind of goofy dialogue from the early movies in the series. And when Jason encounters them, even he seems to detect the satire, and reacts accordingly.

All in all, Jason X is a terrible movie, as are most of the movies in the series. But it's still enjoyable to watch for fans of the genre, because this one has all the slasher scares that you expect, plus some nice injections of an offbeat humor that gives the movie some charm. I wouldn't ever pay to own it, but it's worth catching on NetFlix.

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