June 23, 2005

DVD Review: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

New Line's first attempt with the Jason character is a mixed bag. We must give the filmmakers credit for attempting to take the character in a new direction, they must also be scolded for the same thing. The end result is a mish mash of old and new ideas, and in the end I enjoy it, more now than I did upon my initial viewing. And in the end, with this type of film all we really want is to be entertained, right?

First off, it should be mentioned, that this film does not begin with any connection to the previous one, there is no mention of where Jason went or how he survived the end of Part VIII. But besides all of that, this does begin with a bang, and one of the best Jason sequences put to film. But after that we get into a bizarre series of body switchings, bloody murders, and rules.

The film opens with a woman driving out to a remote cabin, and before you know it Jason is there. A chase through the woods ensues ending in an ambush which results in the blowing up of Jason. This is where any similarities to previous Friday films vanishes and we are delved into one of the strangest films yet. A mythology is built around the character involving other Voorhees characters and how Jason is an eternal evil that is looking to be reborn by a Voorhees woman. There is also a mystical dagger and a character who seems to know an awful lot about Jason and his past.

We do get a number of interesting kills. Including a spear through a tent, a head crushed in a car door, and brains squeezed through the top of a head. Great stuff if you like that sort of thing, which you probably do since you're reading this. The acting is above average on the Friday scale, brought up by the presence of Erin Gray. All involved give a valiant effort to make this a memorable horror flick.

It was directed by Adam Marcus, making his directorial debut. He actually does a pretty good job at keeping some sort of focus on the story and advancing a new mythology, which often times is so convoluted that we don't know what to think of it. Helping him along the way is Sean Cunningham as producer. For those who do not know, he was the director of the first one.

Video. Presented in it's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. It looks good, although it could be a bit brighter, there are a number of dark scenes which tend to lose a bit of detail.

Audio. Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as DTS surround. I listened to the 5.1 track and it sounds very good.

Extras. We get a couple of decent extras here.
-Trailer. The original trailer is included here, a pretty good one to.
-Alternate takes. There are alternate takes of scenes that were used for television broadcast. This isn't bad, but I would have liked an multiple angle option to compare it with the original edit.
-Rated and Unrated versions. We get both the R rated theatrical cut, and the Unrated cut. There is a 3 minute difference in running time. I have only watched the Unrated cut.
-Audio Commentary. This track features director Adam Marcus and writer Dean Lorey. I have listened to this track and it is very entertaining. There is a lot of backslapping, but also a lot of background on the making of the film, from how they were young and had no business making a movie. It was funny how they cringed at some of the scenes, trying to remember what they were thinking. Excellent listen, they are both very talkative and personable for the entire length of the film.

Bottomline. A departure from the rest of the series, New Line was seriously distancing themselves from the Paramount series. The result is very much a mixed bag, but I have come to enjoy it as a worthy entry. Plus, there was the gag with Freddy which sets up Freddy vs. Jason. Worth a view for fans.

Also at Blogcritics.org.


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