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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Adam Marcus
Cast:
John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Kane Hodder, Steven Williams, Steven Culp, Erin Gray, Rusty Schwimmer
Writing Credits:
Adam Marcus (story), Dean Lorey, Jay Huguely (and screenplay)

Tagline:
Evil has finally found a home.

Synopsis:
Serial killer Jason Voorhees' supernatural origins are revealed.

Box Office:
Budget
$2.5 million.
Opening Weekend
$9.777 million on 1355 screens.
Domestic Gross
$15.935 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 87 min. (Theatrical Cut) / 90 min. (Unrated Cut)
Price: $12.97
Release Date: 10/8/2002

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Adam Marcus and Screenwriter Dean Lorey
• TV Version Alternate Scenes
• “Jump To A Death” Chapter Search
• Theatrical Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Jason Goes To Hell (1993)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 3, 2013)

When released in 1993, did anyone actually believe that Jason Goes to Hell would fulfill its subtitle as “The Final Friday”? After all, the series already attempted that ruse with 1984’s Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter, so it seems unlikely many thought Hell would come as the series finale.

And that skepticism proved correct, though it took awhile; we didn’t get another entry until 2001’s Jason X. Since then, we received 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason and a 2009 franchise reboot.

Those films are the subjects of separate discussions, so here we’re going to stick with 1993’s Hell. When last seen in Jason Takes Manhattan, our lead ended up in a sewer covered with toxic waste. A comely lass goes to decrepit Camp Crystal Lake and attempts to shower but gets interrupted by crazed serial killer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder). He chases her out of the cabin and into a trap.

It turns out the woman – FBI Agent Elizabeth Marcus (Julie Michaels) – acted as bait to draw out Jason. A well-armed team opens fire on Jason and seems to nail him, decapitated head and all.

And that ends the movie after eight minutes, right? Uh, no. Jason’s remains get sent to a federal morgue in Ohio where a coroner (Richard Gant) examines them. In the middle of this, Jason’s heart starts to beat; overwhelmed by an uncontrollable urge, the coroner eats it. He undergoes a supernatural transformation during which Jason overtakes the coroner’s body and sends the physician on a killing spree.

This opens up the possibility that Jason remains out and about and leads us to Creighton Duke (Steven Williams), an elite bounty hunter who believes Jason can take over others’ bodies – and that for the sum of $500,000, he can end the nightmare once and for all. American Case File TV host Robert Campbell (Steven Culp) will pay that sum if Duke can prove that he really did the deed.

Duke heads to Crystal Lake and encounters Diana Kimble (Erin Gray), a woman with a mysterious past connected to Jason. We follow the pursuit of Jason and the connection to Diana as well as the inevitable mayhem the seemingly unkillable body-changing monster brings along the way.

Because I’ve not seen the first eight Friday flicks in a while, I don’t recall how much effort they invested in explanations of their existence. Virtually every Friday ends with the apparent demise of Jason, so the next one needs to tell us how he returned; I just can’t remember how much info those follow-ups offered to tell us how Jason returned from the dead.

Like I mentioned at the start of my synopsis, Manhattan finished with Jason covered with toxic waste. (Actually, we saw a child version of Jason; fans debate whether we were meant to take this as literal or figurative imagery. I opt for “figurative”.)

So what the heck happened between films? Does Hell just expect us to forget that Jason was pretty melted at the finish of Manhattan? Do this one’s producers want to pretend it never existed? Should we just accept that Jason came back to life and not worry about how this happened?

Yes, yes, and yes, and it feels lazy that the filmmakers don’t even bother with the slightest connection to Manhattan. Sure, four years elapsed between movies, but that doesn’t mean that fans forgot Manhattan and wouldn’t wonder what led to Jason’s umpteenth resurrection.

Even with a clear connection to Manhattan, I doubt it would’ve made much of a difference in this tired, overwrought gore-fest. I will give Hell some credit for its attempt to grow the franchise, as the “body-shifting” conceit adds some intrigue. Granted, it can feel like a cheap tactic but after so many films that stick with a lumbering big guy, it’s vaguely exciting to see different-looking baddies for once, even if they all act like the same old Jason.

Unfortunately, this narrative innovation usually feels like little more than an excuse to save on the film’s hockey mask budget. The body-shifting concept adds next to nothing to the story other than to make it feel less like Friday the 13th and more like some sci-fi escapade. Like it or not, Friday equals Jason, so a movie without his iconic look becomes a flawed Friday.

The body-shifting idea seems especially pointless because Hell’s main gimmick revolves around its claim that only a Voorhees can kill Jason, so we focus on attempts to keep his relative Jessica Kimble (Kari Keegan) alive until she can accomplish this deed. Could this not occur with “traditional Jason” as the target? I see no reason we need “body-shifting Jason” other than as a cheap tease; that concept doesn’t contribute to the drama.

This leaves Hell as little more than more of the same-old blood and gore. Maybe fans feel differently, but I think Hell provides fairly uncreative kills. As the series progressed, some of the “fun” came from the kooky ways Jason would off his targets, but that side of things flops here. Nothing especially impressive or memorable occurs, so the deaths feel perfunctory and dull.

Maybe it was too much to expect anything creative from the ninth entry in the Friday the 13th series, but I had some hopes for it. After all, I kind of liked the eighth film, so I saw no reason number nine couldn’t provide at least minor pleasures. Unfortunately, it seems mostly uninspired and forgettable.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Jason Goes to Hell appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For SD-DVD, the flick looked watchable but not better than that.

Sharpness seemed adequate. Much of the film displayed decent to good delineation, but never to a terrific degree; the movie tended to remain within passable levels of accuracy but never became especially tight or concise. I saw no issues with jaggies or shimmering, but edge haloes created some mild distractions. Print flaws showed an occasional speck or mark but not more than that; digital artifacts were a more obvious concern, though, as the movie could seem rather messy at times.

Colors tended to look bland. The film went with a fairly natural palette but couldn’t bring much life to the hues, so they remained flat. Blacks were okay; they showed acceptable depth but never became especially impressive. Shadows were more of an issue and seemed a bit too dense. All of this stayed decent for a 20-year-old movie on SD-DVD, but it wasn’t any better than average.

Hell boasted both DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. I appreciated the option but didn’t note significant differences between the two; I felt they came across with similar qualities.

Music dominated the soundfield, as the side and surround channels offered active presentation of the score. This could be a bit too much at times – I don’t think we needed so much music from the back speakers –but I felt the imaging worked fine most of the time.

Effects didn’t have a ton to do here – at least not on a consistent basis. Occasional action scenes used the back/side speakers more actively, though, and showed fairly good localization and music. This was a more than adequate soundscape.

Audio quality seemed positive. Music offered nice range and punch, while dialogue was generally natural and concise. Effects showed positive clarity and impact. This ended up as a solid “B” soundtrack.

A few extras fill out the set, and we open with an audio commentary from director Adam Marcus and screenwriter Dean Lorey. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at how they came onto the project, MPAA issues, editing and differences between the rated and unrated cuts, gore and violence, working within the franchise, cast and performances, effects, sets and locations, and a mix of other topics.

Expect a pretty rollicking little chat here, as Marcus and Lorey know better than to take the subject matter seriously. That doesn’t mean they skimp on stories; indeed, they spill out a lot of good thoughts about making the film. They just manage to be loose and lively the whole time, which helps make this a brisk, delightful chat that’s substantially more entertaining than the movie itself.

We can view both the film’s theatrical cut (1:27:39) and an unrated cut (1:30:37). What do you get for those extra three minutes? Mostly extra gore, I suspect; I only watched the unrated version and didn’t directly compare them. It’s nice to have the option for both cuts, though.

Nine TV version alternate scenes run a total of 12 minutes, 33 seconds. One might expect these to simply provide sanitized versions of existing sequences, and that’s true at times. However, they often elongate different segments and given us material not found in the theatrical version. That makes them kinda sorta deleted scenes – and more interesting than I’d normally expect.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find Jump to a Death, an option that provides an unusual form of chapter search. It allows you to skip to any of the film’s eight kill scenes – or watch them all via one 26-minute, 51-second reel. If that works for you, have fun!

After a four-year break, the Friday the 13th franchise returned with a whimper via the sub-mediocre Jason Goes to Hell. It might not be the worst in the series, but it’s closer to the bottom than to the top, as its minor innovation doesn’t offer enough creativity to overcome its multiple weaknesses. The DVD presents bland visuals along with pretty good audio and bonus materials led by a fun commentary. This isn’t a terrible DVD, but the movie is a dud.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main