Plot: What’s it about?
A dark forces stalks through the woods around Crystal Lake, a presence that lashes out in violent, horrific ways. After he saw his own mother beheaded, Jason Vorhees waited and watched for decades, slaying anyone who happened to cross his path. The woods would soon carry the legend of a killer in the trees, but actual proof was minimal at best. When a group of young people arrive in the area for a weekend of fun, Jason makes sure to be in attendance. The group stays at a posh cabin and even though no one can stand their host, the drinks, drugs, and sex soon begin to flow. But while the others live it up, Clay (Jared Padalecki) tries to track down his sister, unaware that she is already one of Jason’s victims. As the machete wielding madman picks off the group one-by-one, can Clay discover the truth and survive to tell about it?
The remake trend continues, but this time, an icon has been re-imagined. The original Friday the 13th is a genre landmark, so why a remake was needed, I will never understand. But here is it, brought to us by the same duo of Michael Bay and Marcus Nispel, who botched the remake of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. So is this new Friday the 13th yet another remake disaster, or is this the exception to the rule? I was surprised by how well things start, as a brutal kill kicks off the experience, followed by a decent first half stretch. But then the film changes gears and man, does it start to suck. Jared Padalecki manages to derail the movie in epic fashion, with his lame duck performance. I have no idea why CW or WB washouts have to be cast in almost all horror movies these days, but it was a crucial mistake here. As promising as the first half is, the second half is insufferable thanks to Padalecki, so Friday the 13th gets knocked down to a rental.
Video: How does it look?
Friday the 13th is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer captures the theatrical presentation well, which is good, but bad if you didn’t see the film in theaters. At first glance, this treatment is a disappointment, as the visuals are sometimes quite soft. This goes back to the source, as this softness was present in theaters and looks the same here. So don’t expect razor sharp visuals, but detail is still more than stable. The film’s dark visuals hold up well, thanks to smooth and consistent contrast, not to mention great color presence, especially those wonderful red hues. So aside from some inherent issues, this is a competent and solid visual effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
A rock solid Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option is here, but there isn’t much flash to speak of. The audio is well handled all around, from dialogue to cheap scare cues to the music, but nothing stands out. A more honed soundtrack could have upped the ante on the stalking sequences and raised the tension throughout the film, but this track remains rather reserved. I was never let down per se, but I was never impressed either. So this turns out to be a capable, but forgettable presentation. This release also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, a French language track, and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to the 97 minute theatrical version, we have a 106 minute extended “killer cut,” which is indeed longer, but both versions are R rated. So if you wanted some over the top gore or nakedness, you’re out of luck. Even so, it is nice to have both here to choose from. There is also a trivia track option, which adds some fun to the experience. This isn’t just text based either, it provides some Picture-in-Picture elements as well. This release also includes some deleted scenes, as well as a few brief, promotional style featurettes. A second disc houses a digital copy, to use on your portable device of choice.