Not seeing this in theaters, I gave in to the peer pressure of other bloggers yesterday and plopped down a twenty and a ten for ze Blu-ray at Wal Mart--Always. ®
Not the smartest choice. Now, I wasn't one of these fans who automatically balked at the mention of this remake. I can honestly say I didn't care either way, didn't follow the progress of its creation online, and even forgot who directed it until last night. Boy, it ain't what it used to be.
One of the first things that struck me and endured throughout was how flat out annoying the group introduced after the opening title was in comparison to the group that was on the brunt end of Jason's machete in the opening attention grabber. Natually, persons 18ish or older are tantamount to cattle for the slicing, but these twenty-somethings on vaca we're forced to stick with are so grating you wish Jason would suddenly crash through a window and get down to some gory skullfucking. Okay, maybe not literal insertion of Voorhee's dork into cranial cavities, but you get my point. Danielle Panabaker (Jenna) looks like a young Leah Remini and one gets the distinct impression Travis Van Winkle (Trent) is a douche both on and off the screen. The on-screen sibling leads also do nothing to move the viewer or even simply side with them being just two attractive, vanilla, and definitely all-American young adults. How boring.
This leads to the interpretation of Jason by Derek Mears. I had heard he was more methodical this go around and upon watching everyone's favorite killer momma's boy it's all maybe a bit too much for my liking. I've always favored the killer an unstoppable "sentient brickwall" whose original rage towards his mother's death has been gradually replaced with a unsettling rendition of a ubiquitous backwooods boogeyman that can molded by an individual's own fears. Michael Myers is another example. This "re-imagining" takes Jason away from that and into something closer to a more "cinematic" horror flick mass-murderer. He's still Jason, albeit less so. The lack of any of real hero shots of the character certainly doesn't help matters. The few that are there, like Jason ominously standing on the roof in the moonlight, are far too short to leave any impact. Lastly, why does he throw shit around or act frustrated? Talk about a load of bullshit.
There's also small things that tweaked my brains the wrong way. The score is essentially electronic droning compared to Manfredini's work. There's nearly no sense of geography concerning the positions of Trent's parent's summer house, Camp Crystal Lake, and Jason's lair. Nispel has no marked directorial style and merely seems to be leaning on the talents of the crew surrounding him. Where's the dilapidated camper cabins inside the camp's boundaries? Why does Jason need to reside in the room that Trent Reznor floated around in from Nine Inch Nails' music video for Closer? Why are the locations so damn cluttered with junk/set dressing? Why does the Nispel/Bay/Pearl "sister film" to this remake (TCM '03) also have sweaty, bizarre, and southern-fried locals?
At least the kills are generally decent, especially the brutal killing and tow truck dragging of Trent. I hope the sequel is better...
New Line's Blu-ray (and DVD) scream re-release as the slim extras are pure short-running fluff. Even the Picture-in-Picture trivia track isn't particularly in-depth. The 1080p VC-1 encoded transfer looks good despite issues with subtle noise reduction and a surprising number of shots both in-and-out of the action sequences looking slightly out-of-focus. The lossless Dolby TrueHD is extremely active to the point I opted to hear it through the TV speakers halfway through. The choosing between the rated and extended rated versions is confusing. The disc defaults to the extended version and the menus speak of no selection between the two, only the theatrical version. If you select the theatrical version, the only way to get to the extended version is by picking a scene to jump to in Scene Selection. Sound confusing? Yes, it is.