In the latest of what will undoubtedly be a string of ‘80s horror movie remakes, Jason Voorhees walks again… for the first time. What is supposedly a reboot, Hollywood’s fancy new term for remake, Friday the 13th does nothing fresh or spectacular. In fact, it does exactly the same things the old franchise did, while at least restoring some dignity after numerous botched sequels.
While the original film famously focused on Jason’s mother, this one recaps briefly with Pamela before heading into generic slasher movie territory. It doesn’t spend much time dealing with how Jason was “born” per se, and it’s also a stretch that this supposedly takes place 20 years after Pamela’s attack. What took Jason so long?
The film immediately dives into the usual horror clichés. Drunken, naked teens out in a forest separate to make them easy to kill and are picked off one by one. It’s predictable, unexciting, and sorely lacking in thrills. Sadly, even after this initial batch is slaughtered, it still doesn’t do anything new.
Characters remain incredibly idiotic, and there’s little fun to be had short of picking who will die first. Dialogue establishes none of the characters as individuals short of the typical jerk who of course will be the most satisfying kill. It’s a complete waste of time anytime they’re on screen, and this film does nothing different to move away from this tired tradition. It’s been done too many times to still be fun.
Even the deaths are standard fare. In fact, nearly all of them are impalements despite the foreshadowing of others. It grows tiresome to see someone stabbed, despite how sick that sounds. It lacks the goofy fun of My Bloody Valentine, and doesn’t do much to restore the series either. If it’s following the same pattern as the old Friday the 13ths, where will a sequel (set up with the final shot) go? And that ending? It’s an unbelievable level of stupidity on the part of these kids, even for a slasher movie. It is another foreshadowed kill that goes nowhere.
Yes, remakes can only do so much, since changing things will anger fans. However, not changing anything is even worse. The latter is the case here. Nothing about this movie screams “2009” as opposed to “1980.” It’s the same movie with similar boring deaths that have long since become overshadowed. The fun of these movies is seeing how creative the gore can be, and Friday the 13th fails miserably.
Two versions of the film are on the disc, including the “Killer Cut” which tosses in an extra 10 minutes without specifying what is actually new. In terms of audio and video, both are the same.
This is a dark film, and thankfully the black levels are up for it. Every scene is spectacular in terms of depth and brightness. Shadow delineation is excellent, although some intentional black crush is noted. The VC-1 codec shows no moments of compression.
Sharpness is high, although early on, particularly when Jared Padalecki meets with the local sheriff early in the film, it drops noticeably. Detail is still strong however, maintaining facial textures and detail in the sets. Flesh tones are bronzed slightly, and not simply due to a poor tan.
A 5.1 TrueHD mix ensures beefy bass and some decent positional work at times. The opening clasp of thunder is beefy, loading the low end and the sound field with its power. The rain falling nicely surrounds the viewer, both here and in the finale. Jason’s pounding footsteps nicely reverberate in the low end, and his lair offers a decent echo.
Action scenes are confined mostly to the front, putting only minor audio into the surrounds. Jason is never able to convincingly sneak up on people during the film, so using the available channels for scares never actually happens.
A picture-in-picture/trivia track is a nice combination of series trivia and behind the scenes clips. Note the clips cannot be played anywhere else. The Rebirth of Jason Vorhees is a promotional featurette selling the reboot. Hacking Back/Slashing Forward is a collection of stories from cast and crew telling how they all saw the original film as kids. Doesn’t say much about the MPAA guidelines effectiveness.
Each kill is given an individual featurette, making these the best section of the disc. In total, the kills combined would run 22 minutes. A selection of deleted and extended scenes last just past eight minutes, and BD-Live support is a standard splash page.