Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DVD review: "Friday the 13th"

If you're curious why they made a 12th "Friday the 13th" movie -- in this case, a remake of the 1980 original -- all you have to do is add some numbers.

According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, this movie cost $16 million to make. At a guess, the promotional and distribution costs doubled that number. Enough people hungry for a bloody slasher flick with a heavy dash of sex and nudity showed up on its opening weekend to record $43 million of ticket sales. It died quickly -- taking in barely more than half that the rest of its entire run. But when you add in foreign box office and video, it's a low cost/high return wager to bet on the "Friday the 13th" brand name.

Never mind that the hacks making these movies keeping insisting theirs is the last one. Heck, the subtitle of the fourth one in 1984 promised "The Final Chapter," only to fall off the wagon with the fifth, "A New Beginning." In 1993, the ninth film claimed it was "The Final Friday," and for eight years it actually was. But hockey mask killer Jason Vorhees came back again, and even squared off with the king of another horror franchise, Freddy Krueger.

This new one adds absolutely nothing to the formula, which everyone should know by heart now: Horny teens show up at remote Camp Crystal Lake for some sex and drugs, and are sequentially turned to filet mignon by the machete-wielding Jason. Rinse and repeat, and repeat again. There's no tension or build-up; just boo/gotcha moments followed closely by miscellaneous impalings and beheadings.

The DVD comes with an 11-minute making-of featurette that consists mainly of cast and crew talking delusionally about how great it is to be in the umpteenth "Friday the 13th" film. Plus, there are three deleted scenes, two of which are slightly different versions of existing scenes, including Jason's "death." That needs quotation marks, since this film's box office success guarantees he will live on in a new round of sequels. Kill us.

Movie: 1 star

Extras: 1.5 stars

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