It's time, my friends, time for all us we, the hardworking people of the world - to spend $10 and return to the haunted woods of our youth. Don't worry, though, you won't be in this forest alone. Here, there is a camp, and at that camp, you are never alone...for long. There will be companions, some you might even like, walking alongside your every step and weed lots of weed growing in the forest for you to discover and smoke and, if you listen hard enough, you might just catch - drifting in the wind - the high pitched squeal of innocence as it gets maimed by a killer wearing a hockey mask. Yes, my friends, Camp Crystal Lake is once again open and Jason Voorhees is back in the business of killing horny teenagers. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing either...
Back in 1980, the original Friday the 13th appeared to the public as an independent feature inspired by John Carpenter's Halloween and it relayed the story of how a camp cook went psychotic and killed a small group of sexually curious and sexually active camp counselors whom she blamed for her son's drowning an unfortunate event that was said to have happened way back in 1958 or so the legend went. I mention that story because those closing events from the 1980 movie kick-start the greased engine of 2009's reboot.
Marcus Nispel, director of 2003's laughable Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, who wrote Freddy vs. Jason, pool their horror talents together and dust off yet another attempt at refreshing the slasher genre. This time their efforts pay off... in a way. The film starts off on solid footing with an intense twenty minute sexed-up and gore-fueled frenzy as Jason attacks a small group of teenagers who have come to Camp Crystal Lake in search of weed that is rumored to be growing in the forest. Sound goofy? It should - because it is goofy and clumsy, but - in the context of the slasher genre - it certainly seems downright plausible. Weed? Growing at Camp Crystal Lake? Sure, I'll bite... I mean smoke... er... whatever.
The teenagers in this film are as unlikable and as forgettable as the teens in any of the other films (except for the fresh-faced Kevin Bacon from the original); the only difference with the 2009 version of Friday the 13th is that the girls are hotter and the boys are beefier. This is probably due to the fact that the filmmakers are playing around with Michael Bay's money and, well, they know better than to NOT reflect his ultra-sleek cinematic vision of manly men and model women.
The film is strong in its portrayal of Jason; he is a killing machine and every bit as brutal as 2009's blood-soaked world demands. Yet, as strong as he is and as exploitative in gore and sexuality as the film is, it is weak in one vital area story. When there is no more gore to toss at the audience and no more sex to be had by the actors, then the storyline (especially in a slasher film) needs to be strong to solidify the audience's continued participation. That's just not here with this film.
I am sure that audiences will get a charge from Jason's violent return to cinema, but when there are only three remaining members from an unlikable and otherwise unknown cast, well, the movie's once kick-started engine simply runs out of fuel and reason. The gags run out, the thrills become cheap, the overbearing music cues spoil moments, the killing turns to an uber-long (and boring) chase sequence, and, finally, the â"secret" plot point is revealed (I won't spoil it) but, ultimately, if the audience has checked out and started glancing at their watches or checking cell phones then who really cares? And that's what happens with this movie. After most of the cast has been Jason-gutted, complete and utter boredom settles in.
Don't get me wrong, the movie shocks and dazzles at the beginning; its environment fun and charged but that atmosphere quickly slips into routine once Jason discovers the hockey mask. Ultimately, this reboot doesn't have the staying power of Rob Zombie's Halloween reimagining and that's its major problem. Like it or not, Zombie set the standard high for the horror genre and Friday the 13th always was a copycat film; its originality came in the storyline in the final moments of the 1980 film. Here, though, there is no shocking twist so when the exploitative nature of the sex and the gore runs dry, there simply is no juice to sustain its forward motion.
What is old is new again they say, but in the case of Nispel's Friday the 13th, the idea of new just doesn't seem as fresh as it once was...
Over all, a disappointing Blu-ray experience. The film really isn't much fun to watch and it's often too hard to see a lot of what's going on, especially in the dark scenes. Not necessarily due to anything in the technical transfer, but more than likely the intention of the director... to falsely make everything appear scarier than it really is. The audio transfer is adequate for the disc, but the film's sound design is just cheap and schlocky, with way too many ill-placed loud noises to tell us when we're supposed to be scared. Does it really make that much noise when a soda can is placed on a table?
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish.
Language and Sound: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; featurettes; deleted scenes; sneak preview; digital copy.
Commentary - Surprisingly no feature-length commentary track is provided. A growing Blu-ray trend? Perhaps because it's so DVD!
- Hacking Back/Slashing Forward (11:41) - Interviews and video clips of cast and crew as they recall the groundbreaking original movie and the relevance of this film within the franchise.
- Terror Trivia Track with picture-in-picture (12:00) - cast and crew discusses such behind-the-scenes decisions as how the sequences were filmed, how the make-up was done, how the script was assembled, and other technical details. Many text-based trivia facts pop up for your perusal as well, however they're so few and far between, I often forgot I was in pop-up trivia mode.
- The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees for a new moviegoing era. (11:16) - The cast and crew deliver a mostly uninteresting discussion of the making of the film. A few of the more interesting tidbits reveal why the franchise was rebooted; and why the hockey mask was revealed the way it was. There's even a discussion into whether Jason be allowed to run or walk throughout the movie.
- The 7 Best Kills (22:33) - A special effects exposition with special attention on several selected kills that appear in the movie.
Alternate Scenes - Additional slashed scenes. Three deleted scenes including one with the two cops, a "slightly" alternate ending, and a different showing of when Jason gets his mask.
Sneak Preview (BD-Live) - Warner offers an exclusive early look at the long-delayed, much-anticipated Trick 'r' Treat.
Digital Copy: Also included on a second Disc is a standard-definition copy of the film - the R-rated version. Compatible with PCs and iTunes (mac).
Number of Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc - Two-disc set + Digital copy with Keepcase Packaging.
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