Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D
Directed by Steve Miner
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 95 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English; 2.0 mono English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
MSRP: $ 16.99
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Review Date: January 31, 2009
You have to hand it to Jason. He’s an equal opportunity butcher. Though the common misconception is that serial killer Jason Vorhees has a bloodlust for the young, Friday the 13th Part 3 proves beyond any question that he’s not particularly choosy whom he targets. Yes, the usual assortment of young pot smoking (and in one nauseatingly graphic scene pot eating) hotties go to meet their maker once again in this second sequel in the profitable series, but a larger than normal cadre of adults also comes in for some really bad times, too. Those familiar with the first two films will not be surprised by what they find here. It’s more of the same formula of set-ups, fake scares, and then the payoffs. Only a few new wrinkles in the cloth add any interest to what by the third film has become a familiar grab-bag of murder and mayhem.
Chris (Dana Kimmell) has cloudy memories of a close escape from a maniacal killer the previous summer but comes back to Crystal Lake with a group of her friends confident that there’s safety in numbers. Her boy friend Rick (Paul Kratka) assures her he’ll stay close. Also along for the weekend are the practical joking Shelly (Larry Zerner), Vera (Catherine Parks) who defies her mother to come away with her friends as Shelly’s date, and several others. A brush-up with a motorcycle gang (Kevin O'Brien, Gloria Charles, Nick Savage) also brings them to the property while silent stalker Jason Voorhees (Richard Brooker) goes about his business of surprise and attack.
Because the third film in series was filmed in 3-D, the added benefit of murders in your lap was undoubtedly an appealing lure during the film’s initial theatrical release. And, true to the process, there are numerous objects thrust, poked, and pointed at the camera to achieve that dimensional effect even when some of them are so obvious like yoyos, popping corn in a skillet, and juggled fruit. And, of course, all manner of machete and knife blades as well as the handles of those weapons along with pitchforks, shovels, and other tools poke right out from the screen, too. Director Steve Miner, returning again after also helming part two of the series, has borrowed a few ideas for some of the murders from previous installments, and the final confrontation between the sole surviving youth and Jason is sustained much longer than in the previous films. There‘s no denying, however, the effectiveness of the film‘s most novel 3-D execution complete with an eyeball coming right at the audience.
Though many of the young actors in these films often show their inexperience with stiff, sometimes laughably bad performances, the performance level in part three does seem to be a bit higher than the last installment particularly with the leading couple. And director Miner has a fair amount of fun toying with the older couple who are the first two victims, playing cat and mouse with Anne Gaybis and Steve Susskind in a rather fun sequence of fake-outs before arriving at the real thing. This was the film that introduced the hockey mask for the Jason character, and Richard Brooker wears it well and seems game for all of the punishment that gets handed out to the character this time out.
The film is presented in its theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. The set offers both the 2-D and an anaglyph red-blue 3-D versions (two pairs of glasses are enclosed) of the movie. The 2-D version is soft with dated looking, erratically saturated color, milky blacks, and mediocre shadow detail. The 3-D version, of course, throws out any possibility of accurate color values, and the 3-D effects are below average in effectiveness with this process. Many of the objects thrust at the camera have ghosting images that partially ruin the dimensionality. The most effective use of 3-D here is in frame layering which places numerous people and objects in the same frame but on different planes. Those shots work OK with the anaglyph process used here. The film has been divided into 14 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix has only the barest of effects in the surround channels. Music is pretty much restricted to the front channels with only occasional wind or atmospheric sounds delivered to the rears. The subwoofer gets to have a night off. The original mono mix is probably the better bet of the two English language choices.
Apart from having both versions of the movie on the same disc, the only other bonus feature is the original theatrical trailer which is presented at 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. It runs for 2 minutes.
3-D was the appealing gimmick for the third go-round of Friday the 13th, but with that feature poorly represented in this new DVD release, we’re left with the same cavalcade of mostly familiar murders in the same pastoral setting.