Friday the 13th (DVD)

Unlucky for some…

Sean S Cunningham’s 1980 slash-fest has become a deserving classic of the horror genre – and, in modern Hollywood, that’s reason enough to finance a shlocky new remake. But while most of these reboots are pointless, lazy rehashes (yes, Halloween, My Bloody Valentine and Last House on the Left your ears should be burning) Marcus Nispel’s Friday the 13th retains at least some of the spirit that made the original such a classic.

The story remains more or less the same. A group of promiscuous, drug-taking, drinking teens rock up for a debauched weekend in the country, only to run into Clay (Supernatural‘s Jared Padalecki) who is searching for his missing sister. And even though the kids have heard the stories of Jason Vorhees and his murderous mum, they decide to explore the now-deserted Camp Crystal Lake. Which, of course, turns out to be a very bad choice indeed.

At the centre of this ultra-modern Friday is a rebooted Jason Vorhees – he is no longer the lumbering killer oaf of previous films in the franchise. Indeed screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift have turned Jason into a real product of his environment, a quick, clever hunter-gatherer who developed many skills in order to survive in the wilds. The kids don’t really stand a chance against him and of course there are many sticky deaths to satisfy the gore hounds and to thrill an audience new to the franchise.

Nispel has also provided for existing fans, with neat little touches such as how Jason came to wear the dirty hockey mask that has made him such a iconic horror figure. And he also understands that blood and guts alone do not a horror movie make, so makes sure to rack up the tension with a short, sharp prologue that sets the tone for what’s to come.

Of course, fans of the original won’t be charmed by the glossy production values of this remake, but it’s solid enough and certainly far better than many of the sequels that now clutter the Friday the 13th franchise. 3 stars

Extra Features
Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a few deleted scenes, together with two featurettes. The Rebirth of Jason Vorhees has cast and crew interviews, and takes a brief look at this re-imagining of the horror legend, while Hacking Back/Slashing Forward shows just why the Friday the 13th franchise has become one of the most successful in genre history. Seven Best Kills lets you relive the bloody on-screen deaths in all their gory glory, while the Blu-Ray also has a Picture in Picture commentary feature. 2.5 stars

Stars Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Aaron Yoo
Director Marcus Nispel
Distributor Paramount Home Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released August 10