Friday the 13th appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. With its low-budget origins, I expected little from the picture, but it turned out to offer an appealing transfer.
Sharpness was usually good. Some shots seemed a little softer than I’d like, but those were fairly infrequent, so the majority of the movie offered positive delineation.
Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and I saw no edge haloes. With a natural layer of grain, noise reduction didn’t seem to become an issue, and I witnessed no print flaws.
Colors presented a moderate strength. I figured they’d look drab and dated, but instead the hues came across as pretty positive most of the time.
Blacks felt fairly deep and dense, while shadows offered reasonably good clarity. Some night shots could feel a little dim, but these instances didn’t turn into a concern. Overall, the movie showed its age and origins but looked about as solid as I could hope.
This Blu-ray includes a remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. I also didn’t expect much from it so it turned into a real pleasant surprise.
The soundfield boasted good stereo music much of the time as well as some positive use of ambient effects. The thunderstorm provided the most active material, but other elements like vehicles opened up matters.
Those aspects of the track even showed the occasional example of split-surround information, such as when a car zipped to the back right speaker. Otherwise, the surrounds mostly reinforced the forward channels and the environmental bits. That was fine with me, as the scope of the soundscape fit the movie.
Though the quality of the audio showed its age at times, it still fared well for the most part. Speech probably sounded the most dated, as the lines tended to be a bit thin. Nonetheless, they lacked edginess and remained intelligible.
Effects were pretty clean and clear, and the music usually sounded very good. The banjo-based tune heard early in the movie suffered from dull qualities, but the Bernard Herrmann-influenced stuff demonstrated very nice vivacity. The score elevated the rest of the track and made this a strong “B” mix.
How does this 2021 Blu-ray compare to the original BD from 2009? Though the 2009 disc came with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix vs. this one’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, both felt virtually identical.
In terms of visuals, the 2021 BD appeared a little better defined. It also came across as cleaner and more natural. While the 2009 BD offered a more than respectable presentation, the 2021 version improved upon it.
Note that Shout! Factory put out a series-spanning Friday boxed set in 2020. From what I understand, this 2021 BD offers a transfer taken from the same scan.
The 2021 BD repeats some of the old set’s extras, and Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th goes for 14 minutes, seven seconds and provides notes from screenwriter Victor Miller, composer Harry Manfredini, makeup effects artist Tom Savini, and actors Ari Lehman and Robbi Morgan.
“Cuts” covers the movie’s origins, cast and performances, stunts and music, the flick’s ending and its success. Essentially “Cuts” acts as a repository for little nuggets of information that didn’t make the commentary. It’s not the most cohesive collection, but it’s interesting.
We learn more about the director via The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham. It lasts eight minutes, 58 seconds, and features director Sean S. Cunningham and his son Noel.
We hear about the elder Cunningham’s career and the impact Friday had on his life. The piece throws out a few decent notes.
We catch up with movie alumni in A Friday the 13th Reunion. During this 16-minute, 44-second piece, we see a September 2008 panel gathering that collected Savini, Miller, Lehman, Manfredini, and actors Betsy Palmer and Adrienne King.
They talk a little about how the various participants came onto the project, characters, the ending, and the impact the flick had on their lives. This becomes a mostly enjoyable program.
Next the set offers Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1. The short runs seven minutes, 31 seconds and provides some new Jason mayhem. It’s pretty pointless, as we see a couple of quick killings and little else.
The Friday the 13th Chronicles occupies 20 minutes, 34 seconds with details from Cunningham, King, Palmer, Lehman and Savini. We get info about the project’s origins and development, story elements, cast and performances, violence and the depiction of gore, the score, the film’s reception and some scene specifics.
On its own, “Chronicles” is fine, but I think it’s a bit redundant after all the other extras. Still, it has some interesting moments.
Finally, Secrets Galore Behind the Gore fills nine minutes, 32 seconds with notes from Cunningham and Savini. They give us info about the movie’s kills and how they were achieved. This becomes a gory but useful piece.
Trailers provides promos for the first eight Friday movies.
Note that the prior Blu-ray included a pretty good audio commentary. I don’t know why it goes absent here.
Horror fans owe the original Friday the 13th a debt since it heavily influenced their favorite genre. As a movie, however, it doesn’t work particularly well. It lacks creativity and comes across as slow-paced and cheesy. The Blu-ray presents very good visuals along with surprisingly positive audio and a mostly appealing compilation of supplements. Until/unless we get 4K UHD version of the film, this 2021 Blu-ray will likely remain the best presentation of it.
Note that the 2021 Friday the 13th disc can be purchased on its own or as part of a new “8 Movie Collection”. Unsurprisingly, this provides the series’ first eight movies, the first four of which get new transfers – well, new to Paramount releases, as these seem to duplicate the presentations found on the 2020 Shout! Factory boxed set.
To rate this film visit original review of FRIDAY THE 13TH