I first saw this remake at a preview screening offered by Toronto University film club. Great audience reaction. It was directed by Marcus Nispel who had previously remade Conan the Barbarian which was not initially a good sign but he knows what he is doing with the frame. Not sure it needed to have a twenty-minute-plus pre-title sequence. The version I have in my possession is called the “Killer Cut” and I would be hard pressed to say what was added back in. There is still a level of restraint even though the menace of Jason Voorhees is not compromised.
Of the 12 official Jason movies or Friday the 13th movies to date (a lot more would have happened if not for rights issues holding it up), the ones I might be able to recommend are these:
Friday the 13th The Final Chapter (1984) Despite the wishful thinking of this title, it is well directed even if it includes a coroner attendant who has unwholesome intentions toward a body and it is played for laughs, as is his inevitable demise. The movie has Crispin Glover one year before he gave us the weird George McFly, and Corey Feldman answers the question of who would win in a fight – a Goonie or Jason Voorhees.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives has an element of wit, including an early shot that evokes the James Bond logo with a strolling Jason turning to throw a machete instead of shoot a gun but with similar blood oozing down the screen.
Friday the 13th Part 3 I have this on DVD with 3D glasses. This is where the character found his notorious hockey mask the first time around. It has edge of your seat moments and is better than it deserves to be.
Friday the 13th (2009) This movie gives you an original, although the inciting incident at the start is now 1980 and the tendency for Jason to show up anywhere and sense potential victims in the woods is explained by an underground tunnel system with bells that alert him. If you needed that explanation, you now have it.
Out of curiosity for a huge variation on the theme, there is Jason X with a cameo by David Cronenberg, and an interesting sci-fi twist. Stupid but still intense where it has to be. And there is the somewhat fun and insane, hugely compromised but entertaining Freddy Versus Jason. It unfortunately deleted much of the jokey dialogue Freddy had become known for and you have to get past things like why an injection will render an already undead character unconscious.
The worst might be Jason Goes to Hell. Despite an opening segment that is effective and culminates in the military confronting Jason, the desire of producer (and original 1980 film director) Sean S. Cunningham to get rid of the goalie mask and make something “original,” we have to endure a meandering story where Jason’s heart falls free of his destroyed body and it can make its way into the mouth or another orifice of other people it encounters to take them over to resume his evil ways. At one point Erin Grey (Col, Wilma Deering on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century) is on the floor and the Jason heart slides between her legs. And I’m sorry you had to read that. One decent character evokes Quint from Jaws as he offers to kill Jason once and for all, “You get the mask, the machete, the whole damn thing.” Except that the mask had been out of the equation by that point. There is an amusing final thought as implied by the title that has Freddy’s knife hand reach from hell to retrieve the Jason mask. The following clip should be cued to it.