DVD Review: ‘Friday The 13th’ Uncut (Blu-ray)
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Friday the 13th: Uncut
Uncut Blu-ray Edition
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Kevin Bacon, Robbi Morgan
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 3, 2009

I’ll lay my cards on the table now; this is the first time I’ve seen the original Friday the 13th from beginning to end. Call it a sheltered childhood, call it a lack of interest, call it laziness after a certain point, but even when I could see it, I never bothered until now. I mean, its Friday the 13th. Every genre movie fan has to see this at some point in their life, right? So I jumped at the chance to see this new uncut version of the film. Is it the modern horror classic that I’ve always been told it is? Did it live up to the hype built in my own mind? I can’t say that it did, but I’ll say that this may still be a worth-while purchase for fans of the film, due to the documentaries and other special features included.

Do I really need to explain the plot for Friday the 13th? Honestly, at this point the story is as well known as any fairy tale or bible story. A bunch of kids go to open a summer camp at Camp Crystal Lake, they get up to some sexual shenanigans, they get killed in a series of gruesome ways, and in the end one lone girl confronts the killer. It’s the standard horror film plot that was set down by Halloween, and I can’t help but see the similarities between this film and John Carpenter’s original masterpiece. This is where my distance from the film takes away from my personal enjoyment of it. While I may have never seen this particular film before, I’ve seen the same things a bunch of times before in other films, so it all seems like it’s been done before. But I only get that feeling because I’ve seen the imitators, not the original, so I can’t hold it against this film.

Familiarity aside, I still had fun with it. It was fun to see Kevin Bacon show up, and then unceremoniously get stabbed through the throat with an arrow. Even my jaded soul was scared at a few moments of the film, and I’m always a sucker for a cheap scare ending like this one has. I can certainly see why people love this film, and if I had seen it earlier in my life, I would probably love this as well. Personally, I think Halloween is better, if only because the villain is explained a little better at an early point in that film. In this one, it kind of feels like the creators wanted to make a horror film, started writing the script, wrote all the killing scenes, and then came to the end and realized they hadn’t created a killer. However, it’s fun, it’s scary, it’s an early 80’s decent horror film, so what’s not to find enjoyment in?

The question you might have to ask is whether this film is worth picking up on Blu-ray? Well, it looks pretty good, but it’s not a super cleaned up version, so it still looks like a film that was made in 1980. The picture doesn’t stand out to me as being head and shoulders above the standard def version. The “uncut” name on this disc is I guess a bit of a misnomer, as they added about 10 seconds to the film. Now if they added a bit more blood to the killing scenes, that may be something, but to me, 10 seconds does not an uncut version make. Unless you’re a hardcore Friday the 13th fan, I doubt you’re going to miss anything over the non-uncut version. There is a nice documentary with the creators and stars of the film that goes into the creation of it, but I’m not sure if this has been on any other DVD releases of the film. Then you get a standard commentary by the director as well as the cast and crew, a short film call “Lost Tales From Camp Blood Part 1″ (I’m assuming this continues on the rest of the DVD’s), and a few other odds and ends. All in all, it’s a nice set of extras, I’m just left wondering if any of it is stuff that hasn’t been seen before.

So yeah, this is a horror classic, and if you haven’t seen it before (what, did you live in some kind of cave for the last 30 years?) you owe it to yourself to see it at least once. If you have the DVD already, I’m going to say give this one a pass. There’s not enough new material here to warrant the double dip, but if you have a Blu-ray player and still want to buy it, hey who am I to stop you. Now I need to find me a copy of Nightmare on Elm Street, because I’ve never seen that one before either.

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