Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The Final Chapter presented a fairly ordinary picture but not a bad one.
Across the board, sharpness came across as adequate and that was about it. The movie rarely looked substantially ill-defined, but it also failed to present great delineation. The image appeared acceptably concise with a small current of softness that ran through the whole thing. As with its predecessors, no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and only minor edge enhancement manifested itself. Source flaws were absent, though grain was a consistent – and often heavy – factor.
In terms of colors, the tones here came across as decidedly ordinary. They occasionally mustered some lively images, but the colors usually appeared moderately flat and dull. While they never became tremendously bland, they also lacked substantial vivacity. Black levels seemed passable but somewhat drab, and shadows tended to appear a bit too dense and heavy. Ultimately, The Final Chapter offered a passable image.
In addition to the film’s original monaural audio, this DVD included a new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. Don’t expect a whole lot from the soundfield. Music benefited the most, as the score boasted good stereo delineation. Otherwise, the mix focused on general ambience. Scenes like the rainstorm showed nice spread across the front but the majority of the movie remained essentially monaural. Surround usage was minor at best.
Audio quality seemed fine for its age. Speech came across as reasonably natural and distinctive, but without much life or verve. Music sounded clean and bright, although the score also lacked much depth or range. Effects fell into the same category. They never turned shrill or distorted, but they failed to present elements that appeared lively or powerful. The audio was good enough for a “B-“ given its vintage, but it didn’t impress.
How do the picture and sound of this 2009 disc compare to the 2004 release? Unfortunately, I was unable to directly compare the two; the version I reviewed in 2004 was available only as part of a boxed set called “From Crystal Lake to Manhattan”, and I gave it away years ago.
Based on my comments about the 2004 release, I get the impression that the 2009 disc offers mild improvements in terms of both picture and audio. The most obvious change comes from the inclusion of the 5.1 remix, as the 2004 DVD stayed with the original mono. Both offer similar audio quality, but the mild spread of the 5.1 soundfield made the new track a little more engaging.
The main difference in the two transfers relates to source flaws. The 2004 disc suffers from minor print defects, while the 2009 release is quite clean. Both have a lot of grain, and all other aspects of the images seem to be comparable. I expect the 2009 disc looks and sounds superior to the 2004 one, but it’s not a huge upgrade.
The 2009 Deluxe Edition adds a whole bunch of extras not found on the earlier release. We start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Joe Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen and editor Joel Goodman. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at studio and budget pressures, MPAA concerns, story and characters, editing, music and cinematography, killing Jason, cast and performances, gore and effects, locations, and a few other production topics.
Though the track occasionally sags due to dead air, the participants usually offer a good look at the film. They interact well and seem happy to delve into the movie’s creation. Despite some gaps, the commentary moves well and turns into a satisfying discussion of the flick.
Next comes a “fan commentary” with horror filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch. They also sit together and provide a running, screen-specific chat in which they offer an appreciation for the film. They tell us a little about the production but mostly get into their thoughts about it.
Tracks like this usually degenerate into little more than gushing praise. This one includes a little of that, but the participants are too irreverent for this to become an annoyance. Not that they come across like smarmy jerks, though; they clearly love the movie, and their feelings come through in their comments. We don’t learn a ton about the movie here, but the track proves to be enjoyable and fun nonetheless.
Continuing a series from the first three Deluxe Editions, Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 4 runs six minutes, 20 seconds. This gives us a short film in the Friday vein. The first three were pretty lame, and Part 4 doesn’t fare any better. Maybe somebody likes these things, but I take nothing from them.
A collection of Slashed Scenes goes for 15 minutes, 18 seconds. We find a slew of silent clips narrated by Zito. These are really just outtakes, as no unused story points appear. Instead, we see raw footage of stunts and gore. None of this becomes especially interesting, though the compilation offers a decent look at the basic effects work.
Next we find a featurette called Jason’s Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. In this 11-minute and two-second piece, we hear from Zito, Cohen, special effects creator Tom Savini, and actors Ted White, Kimberly Beck, Bonnie Hellman, and Erich Anderson. “Day” looks at story issues, cast and performances, gore and effects, and some thoughts on the series.
While it includes a lot of good information, “Day” jumps around so much that it becomes a bit incoherent. It feels ADD in the way that it flits from one topic to another and rushes through its subjects. I like the material we get but would prefer a longer, more in-depth take on the film.
More deleted footage shows up via The Lost Ending. The silent clip goes for three minutes, 20 seconds and comes with narration from Zito and Beck. It shows a dream sequence that would’ve finished the film. It’s not great, but it might’ve been interesting, especially since so many of the Friday flicks used similar fake-out finales.
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part I lasts 18 minutes, six seconds and provides a faux documentary that examines the events of the first four Friday movies. It looks at the killings from a mix of angles and comes across as reasonably entertaining, especially when it points out the more absurd aspects of the series. Some poor acting bogs it down, but it’s still clever enough to succeed.
Finally, Jimmy’s Dead Fuck Dance Moves lasts two minutes, seven seconds and includes a few notes from Zito. We see shots of Crispin Glover’s bizarre dancing; we get a mix of outtakes and bits from the final film. It’s an insubstantial piece.
A Preview for The Uninvited opens the disc. We also get the theatrical trailer for Final Chapter.
A film that totally failed to fulfill its title’s promise, Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter also fell short of any other distinctiveness. It did little more than rehash the same story, as it tossed out characters and situations an awful lot like those of the first three movies. The DVD presents acceptable picture and sound along with a pretty good collection of extras. I’m not fond of the flick itself, but this is a good upgrade for Friday fans.
To rate this film, visit the Ultimate Edition DVD Collection review of FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART 4: THE FINAL CHAPTER