A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this slasher remake is a never-ending series of bloody, brutal, violent murders perpetrated by a mutilated sociopath. There are several explicit sex scenes, as well as scenes that mingle sexuality and violence -- like when a topless woman is knifed through the head with a machete. And as if all that weren't enough, characters swear nonstop, drink, and discuss and use drugs (particularly marijuana). The fact that all the pot-smoking characters wind up dead shouldn't be considered incisive social commentary, since those who don't partake wind up dead, too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A remake and re-launch of the notorious '80s horror series, FRIDAY THE 13th takes place years after a camping accident that saw a young boy drown -- and his mother murder the counselors who failed to watch him. But the boy actually lived and now stalks the area around the camp, slaughtering any "outsiders" who stumble across his path. Which doesn't bode well for the group of spoiled vacationing kids who meet up with a man (Jared Padalecki) desperately seeking his missing sister. ... Soon the whole gang is being stalked, picked off, and killed by the murderous, masked Jason.
Is it any good?
Friday the 13th is simultaneously disgusting and tiresome. Disgusting because it relies so heavily on images of slaughtered, chopped-up human beings and cheap jolts; tiresome because it's literally more of the same, returning to a film series that's already had more than a dozen sequels and spin-offs since 1980. Sure, there's a certain sick thrill in watching Jason in those earlier films -- when the idea of the silent, masked killer as unrelenting as death itself had some novelty -- but now it's just a cynical retread of a familiar idea. Modern films like Scream mock slasher conventions while delivering them, while those like Funny Games use the horror genre to play wicked mind games. Friday the 13th just offers more of the same.
Also damaging Friday the 13th is the fierce lack of any sense of invention in the storytelling or plot -- instead, we get advances in special effects that make death-by-arrow and machete-induced throat-cutting more "lifelike." Friday the 13th spurts blood red, but it's designed to earn green money with violence, sex, and recycled plotlines. A horror film should be tough, but not cynical; Friday the 13th is weary, greedy, and contemptuous of its audience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of "slasher" films like the Friday the 13th series. Why are they so popular (and profitable)?
What draws us to scary, violent movies? What's the impact of seeing so many violent acts?
Why do you think these films feel the need to equate sexuality with violence?
Why would a studio remake a film as trivial and empty as the original, anyway?
- In theaters: February 13, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2009
- Cast: Amanda Righetti, Danielle Panabaker, Jared Padalecki
- Director: Marcus Nispel
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, language and drug material
For kids who love horror
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.