I’m not going to lie, I think the Friday the 13th franchise pretty much sucks. I think that the fourth and sixth film have some good things about them, but Jason Vorhees the killer has very little personality, and often came off as a stuntman in a mask. The films work because you get exactly what you paid for: boobs and gore. On that level, I can’t really complain about the Friday franchise. They work on the level that they do. But I don’t understand being exceptionally loyal to them either. Though I can see how these films are more fun than the Saw movies, following both to me seems a bit silly, especially since quality comes off as an afterthought. Joseph Zito took it to the next level, and some of the directors tried harder than others, but it was a derivative franchise that owed a lot to both Halloween and Mario Bava.
And where I found the Platinum Dunes films lackluster until this point, I really enjoyed their take on Friday the 13th. With The Hitcher, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre they couldn’t compare to the originals (The Amityville Horror is a draw), but here they took everything that worked from the originals (boobs and gore) and then moved the story along at a quick enough clip. The film opens with a prolonged first act that establishes how Jason was born and his proficiency, and tells you everything you need to know: This is going to be slick exploitation that knows what it’s doing. More after the jump.
The film begins again some twenty minutes in (24 in the unrated cut) with a set of teenagers gearing up for a weekend party, while Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is on the lookout for his sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti). The film then slows down for about fifteen to twenty minutes to set up the characters some, and then the killings start up again. The pace picks up as the film moves on and the tension is raised by the night coming, and the cast number decreasing. Time and effort were spent on making the kills strong, and Jason a threatening, monstrous figure.
Though the two female leads (Danielle Panabaker and Righetti) keep their clothes on, there is copious amounts of nudity in the film, and the implication that this is the rapey Jason from Part 3-D. Derek Mears plays Jason as an actual character, a great survivalist backwoodsman who knows his way around the tools of his trade. But the film also allows for lots of stupid humor to come from the supporting cast, with Travis Van Winkle’s Trent an absolutely perfect douchebag. And the kills are excellent, with two great machetes through the head bits, and a good tow truck gag.
The film also tries to work in a number of conceits and homages to the series, as it stitches together a number of the films to include bag-head Jason, the first film and its set up, and Jason finding his mask. But, as people will say about these movies, this one is fun, and you never care about the characters so much that you don’t enjoy watching them get impaled.
Warner Brothers and New Line present the film in widescreen (2.35:1) and in Dolby Digital 5.1 for the Killer Cut (which runs 106 minutes) and the theatrical cut in Dolby digital 5.1 True HD (97 min.). Though there’s a bit more gore in the extended version, and a tad more tits, I preferred the theatrical cut simply because the films are better at the shorter length. You can feel the extensions, even if they’re what you want. There’s a making of called “The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees”(11 min.) and more of the same with “Hacking Back/Slashing Forward” (12 min.). The gore gets a spotlight in “The Seven Best Kills ((23 min.), and it appears the three addition scenes are available as a stand-alone if one so wishes (8 min.). Exclusive to the extended cut is a PIP track that talks to the cast and crew about making the movie, which plays for the majority of the running time (credits excepted). Also included here is a digital copy.