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Blu-Ray Review: Jason Voorhees Returns in Killer Cut of ‘Friday the 13th’

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CHICAGO – The reboot of “Friday the 13th” was another financially successful notch in the belt of Platinum Dunes, the film company behind the remakes of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Hitcher,” and “The Amityville Horror”. Making $90 million worldwide and more domestically than any previous Jason Voorhees movie (that didn’t include Freddy Krueger), “Friday the 13th” has a following that will be ecstatic with the excellent Blu-Ray release for the slasher title.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

The Blu-Ray of “Friday the 13th” delivers everything fans could ask for. Not only do they present a longer and better cut of the film in the 9-minutes-longer “Extended Cut,” but the special features enhance the “Friday the 13th” experience and the technical transfer is nearly flawless.

Friday the 13th was released on Blu-Ray on June 16th, 2009.
Friday the 13th was released on Blu-Ray on June 16th, 2009.
Photo credit: WB

As for the film itself, my response to “Friday the 13th” is mixed at best. I love the concept of the pre-credits prologue - which plays nearly like a mini-movie in itself - and I think the film is technically proficient, but I think an opportunity was missed to do something more than just make another slasher pic with a bigger budget.

The plot of “Friday the 13th” is essentially divided into two groups of beautiful people waiting to meet the ugly end of Jason’s machete. In the very opening moments, we see the details of the original film, detailing the beheading of Jason’s mom from the end of the first movie and the undead Jason’s return to take her place as a serial killer at Camp Crystal Lake.

Friday the 13th was released on Blu-Ray on June 16th, 2009.
Friday the 13th was released on Blu-Ray on June 16th, 2009.
Photo credit: WB

Years later, Wade (Jonathan Sawoski) has brought some of his friends to the woods near the camp looking for weed - Richie (Ben Feldman), Amanda (America Olivo), Whitney (Amanda Righetti), and Mike (Nick Mennell). Most of them are sliced and diced by Jason, leaving only the lovely Whitney alive.

Six weeks later, Whitney’s hunky brother Clay (Jared Padalecki) appears to try and find his sister and runs across the film’s second group of lovely people just waiting to fill Jason’s compost heap - Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), Trent (Travis Van Winkle), Nolan (Ryan Hansen), Chelsea (Willa Ford), Bree (Julianna Guill), Chewie (Aaron Yoo), and Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta). Of course, they will all die in various, oddly uninspired ways. In fact, the death count in “Friday the 13th,” not counting Jason’s mother in the prologue, totals thirteen.

There are definitely things about “Friday the 13th” to like and my response to it wasn’t nearly as negative as the “TCM” remakes, perhaps because the original Sean Cunningham film is more a pop culture classic than a great film in its own right. There was certainly room for improvement. Derek Mears has a strong physical presence as Jason, Padalecki & Righetti are good, and the film is expertly shot.

Friday the 13th was released on Blu-Ray on June 16th, 2009.
Friday the 13th was released on Blu-Ray on June 16th, 2009.
Photo credit: WB

My ultimate problem with “Friday the 13th” is that it’s just not scary. Director Marcus Nispel doesn’t know how to build tension and the film plays like an homage to the originals more than an effective horror film in its own right. A good remake or reboot should stand on its own and not just be an ode to the ’80s original.

Having said that, the Blu-Ray release of “Friday the 13th” is a beauty. This is one of the best horror home releases of the year to date with perfect video and audio, a superior extended cut of the film, and excellent special features.

I’m a sucker for picture-in-picture special features and “Friday the 13th” includes a great trivia track, a pip feature that varies between printed trivia about the franchise and the behind-the-scenes interviews and footage about the scene you’re watching. All b-t-s material should be presented this way instead of bouncing back and forth between menu screens, the movie, and mini-featurettes.

The Blu-Ray release of “Friday the 13th” also includes “The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees” (11:24), “Hacking Back/Slashing Forward” (11:41), and “The 7 Best Kills” (22:33).

Timed with the release of “Friday the 13th” on Blu-Ray and DVD, Paramount have also released excellent deluxe editions of three of the original films on standard DVD - “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter,” “Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning,” and “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives”. Pick up all four releases as soon as your horrific little heart lets you.

Synopsis and special feature details below:

“Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Photo credit: Paramount

Synopsis: “The body count continues in this vivid thriller, the fourth - but not final - story in the widely successful Friday the 13th series. Jason, Crystal Lake’s least popular citizen, returns to wreak further havoc in Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter. After his revival in a hospital morgue, the hockey-masked murderer fixes his vengeful attention on the Jarvis family and a group of hitherto carefree teenagers. Young Tommy Jarvis is an aficionado of horror films with a special talent for masks and make-up. Has the diabolical Jason finally met his match?”

“Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” stars Kimberly Beck, Erich Anderson, Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Barbara Howard, Julie Aronson, Alan Hayes, Ted White, Peter Barton, Lisa Freeman, Joan Freeman, Bruce Mahler, Lawrence Monoson, Camilla More, Carey More, and Antony Ponzini. It was directed by Joseph Zito.

Special features include Commentary by director Joe Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen and editor Joel Goodman, Fan Commentary with Adam Green and Joe Lynch, “Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 4,” “Slashed Scenes,” “Jason’s Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter,” ‘The Lost Ending,” “The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part I,” “Jimmy’s Dead Dance Moves,” and Original Theatrical Trailer.

“Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning”

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
Photo credit: Paramount

Synopsis: “Jason is back, hockey mask and all. And he’s up to his old maniacal tricks in Friday The 13th, Part V: A New Beginning. This time he seems to have set his sights on the young patients at a secluded halfway house. And more than a few of his teen targets end up in half, in quarters…you name it, Jason does it. This is the fifth scary installment in the Friday The 13th saga. If you liked the first four, and think you’re up to getting back on Jason’s bloody trail, you’ll love Friday The 13th, Part V: A New Beginning.”

“Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning” stars John Shepard, Melanie Kinnaman, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Marco St. John, Carol Locatell, Vernon Washington, Juliette Cummins, Dominick Brascia, Tiffany Helm, Deborah Voorhees, John Dixon, Ron Sloan, Dick Wieand, and Chuck Wells. It was directed by Danny Steinmann.

Special features include Commentary by director/co-screenwriter Danny Steinmann with cast and crew, “Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 5,” “The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part II,” “New Beginnings: The Making of Friday the 13th: Part V A New Beginning,” and Original Theatrical Trailer.

“Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives”

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Photo credit: Paramount

Synopsis: “As a child, Tommy Jarvis did what many others died trying to do, he killed Jason Vorhees, the mass murderer who terrorized the residents of Crystal lake. But now, years later, Tommy is tormented by the fear that maybe Jason isn’t really dead. So, Tommy and a friend go to the cemetery to dig up Jason’s grave. Unfortunately for Tommy, (and very unfortunately for his friend), instead of finding a rotting corpse, they discover a well rested Jason who comes back from the dead for another bloody rampage in Friday The 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives.”

“Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” stars Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Rene Jones, Kerry Noonan, Darcy De Moss, Tom Fridley, C.J. Graham, Vincent Guastaferro, Tony Goldwyn, and Ron Palillo. It was directed by Tom McLoughlin.

Special features include Commentary by director Tom McLoughlin with cast and crew, “Lost Tales From Camp Blood - Part 6,” “The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part III,” “Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th: Part VI,” “Meeting Mr. Voorhees,” “Slashed Scenes,” and Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer.

‘Friday the 13th’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video and stars Aaron Yoo, Amanda Righetti, Danielle Panabaker, Derek Mears, Jared Padalecki, Travis van Winkle, Julianna Guill, and Willa Ford. It was written by Damien Shannon & Mark Swift and directed by Marcus Nispel. The Blu-Ray and DVD were released on June 16th, 2009. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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