Blu-ray Disc Review
FRIDAY THE 13th
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Studio: New Line Cinema
Film Year: 2009
Theatrical Film Length: 97 minutes
Killer Cut Film Length: 106 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French Canadian, Latin Spanish
Film Rating: R
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Starring: Jared Padalecki (Clay Miller), Danielle Panabaker (Jenna), Amanda Righetti (Whitney Miller), Travic Van Winkle (Trent), Aaron Yoo (Chewie), Julianna Guill (Bree), Derek Mears (Jason Voorhees)
Story by: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift & Mark Wheaton
Directed by: Marcus Nispel
Welcome to Crystal Lake
Friday the 13th has always been considered as one unlucky day. It’s rooted in our culture as well as many cultures before us. It’s possible that the superstition dates back to ancient Norse myth where a Pagan Norse god was banished to a mountaintop, and every Friday she convened with eleven other witches plus the devil making a group of thirteen. Did you know that in history, the Turks once removed the number thirteen from their vocabulary because they thought it was so unlucky? According to French legend, if thirteen people sit down together for dinner, one will die within a year. Ever wonder why there are no 13th floors in apartments? No 13th Avenues? (ok, so we are just comfortably tricking ourselves with these ones!) Some people even say if you have thirteen letters in your name you will have the devil’s luck – think Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Albert De Salvo – and lastly: Jason Voorhees. And the superstition of Friday the 13th lives on whether you believe it or not; everyone seems to joke about it when the date happens within a calendar year.
So here we are in June 2009 and two Friday the 13ths have passed by in 2009 (February and March) and one coming up in November. But on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 we get to celebrate Friday the 13th in our own way on Blu-ray disc and DVD (reviewed by Ken McAlinden). The long running franchise born in the 1980s lives on for a new generation of horror-film viewers. This reimagining of Friday the 13th sort of puts the first three films into one film – the origin of Jason, the use of the sack and mask, and the use of several killings we’ve seen before. It’s all updated for the present day, so for kids these days who think horror films of the ‘80s are pure cheese, this one should fearfully massage that part of their brain to terror.
The film still has the Friday the 13th staples of drug use, sex, and gore. Call me desensitized, but I didn’t find this film that gory or scary, but I did find it somewhat entertaining. I definitely would not throw it into the “stupid film” category and throw it in the trash bin for life; it was entertaining enough and show's Jason's blade is still sharp even after these thirty years.
Geesh, how I hate bilingual packaging. There is nothing worse that can plague the cover art of DVD/Blu-ray disc packaging than the French language. To see Jason’s blood-spattered hockey mask with Vendredi 13: Montage D’Enfer plastered right over top of it is more horrific than what is spun on the disc. I have nothing against the French or any other language for that matter, but when politics ruin cover art, that’s when I give my greatest Clint Eastwood sneer. We Canadians can all thank the “man of unity” behind this. I won’t mention his name, but his initials are Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I once thought there was a solution to this; since the sleeve behind the case’s viewable plastic can be reversed, why not have French on one side and English on the other? But, with DVDs, not-so-smart marketing decided that big English titles with small French titles are on one side, and big French with little English is on the other. Grrrr… My fellow Americans, are you ready for Spanish to be plastered all over the cover art of your Blu-ray discs?
VIDEO QUALITY: 4/5
I highly recommend this film be viewed in a dark environment. Black levels are very deep and shadow detail is good. Sometimes some images can get lost in the blackness of night or deep in the underground tunnels, but I’m sure that was the intention to create a sense of frustration for the viewer, feeling all claustrophobic in tight places. The image is pleasing and very smooth without enhanced or sharpened edges. In daylight scenes, there is a very nice balance between blacks and whites, and colour detail seemed natural enough as to not interfere with the story. The image does come across slightly warm. I really didn’t see any instances of grain except for a bit in the darkest shots – not that it would matter to me. IMDB states that the original photography was done on film, although one consistent bizarre artefact is blurring: there are several blurred shots throughout the film intercut with clean shots (these shots within a scene come from the same camera). The blurring looks electronic rather than because of an unfocussed lens. At first I thought maybe an HD camera was used here and there and this was the result of the two different technologies creating some strange effect with each other. I concluded this can’t be the case because the blurring is too much, plus, I’m sure whoever merges these technologies together should know what they are doing - I’ve seen many fantastic results of film and HD together. So why the blur? I’m not sure. It was a bit annoying because I noticed it too much throughout. The rest of the 2.40:1 image is perfectly fine.
AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5
The Dolby TrueHD encode of this soundtrack delivers the aggressive audio mix. Both front and rear soundstages are very active, and there is even some sidewall imaging to enhance the experience. The sounds of insects chirping are constant during the non-stressing scenes where dialogue dominates the scene. Sound effects don’t’ blare in my face and tear my eardrums out. It appears like a bit of care was taken for equalization; the final product is delivered well. This is a pleasing mix; not too overwhelming and aggressive, and not with too many missed opportunities.
TACTILE FUN!!: 2.5/5
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
Friday the 13th has some good thumping bass that adds to the tension. You’ll want to keep your bass shaker on to enjoy this film. I found the movie much more engaging!
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2.5/5
we see the original scene how Jason gets his mask, the 911 dispatcher call into the police station, and an extended death of Jason sceneInteresting to see, but ultimately unnecessary – especially the last: the cracking sound effect sounds too final.
IN THE END...
I think this film is successful in bringing the Friday the 13th to a new audience. The filmmakers have managed to make something new out of something old for new viewers. Classic fans won’t see too much new in this offering except for slick filmmaking and pacing. The Blu-ray has respectable features and A/V that shouldn’t disappoint. Being the 12th film in the franchise, will we see something special for Part 13? Or maybe they’ll skip it and release number fourteen instead.
June 16, 2009.