RJ Bayley Reviews: Extraction

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It’s a credit to Samuel Farmer’s Friday the 13th: Extraction that the film’s 12+ minute running time seems a lot shorter than it actually is.

The film is sharply shot with a sheen of professionalism outstripping some of the lesser canonical entries.

Speaking of canon: if you want to fit Extraction somewhere into the proper franchise (i.e. pre-reboot), it’s premise of a military team’s extraction of Voorhees to research his regenerative abilities slots nicely before Jason X.

The idea works and is a great example of a short film harnessing a popular fan idea and putting it on the screen. Ergo, it’s a great fan film.

Studio films always seem to be trenchantly stuck to the same stories when it comes to their horror properties, even when superficially the premise seems to be radically new: just look at Saws IV on and Freddy Vs. Jason. Director Farmer knows that the people characters like Jason appeal to don’t need to be accompanied by screamagers for us to relate to. Hell, nearly all fans of these franchises are nowhere near teenagers anymore anyway.

As a fan, Farmer shrewdly and very thankfully eschews crowbarring in any screaming, stupid, inappropriately attired 27 year old high school students. Instead we’ve just got military personnel and scientists, completely befitting the scenario that any studio film would work hard to unconsciously undermine by dropping kiddies and nitwits into it. Straying from this model actually makes Jason far more menacing, being portrayed as a beast capable of easily offing military troopers packing serious training and firepower. As so many fans know, yet so many studio bods refuse to recognise, is that we’re here to see the man in the mask slaughtering society. A teen drama we do not want. And Extraction gives us just this.

★★★★

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