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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 10/31/00

Friday the 13th, Part 3
1982 (2000) - Paramount

review by Dan Kelly of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Friday the 13th, Part 3 Film Rating: C

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B/D-

Specs and Features

95 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (14 chapters), languages: English and French (DD mono), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

A little over a year had passed, since the release of Friday the 13th, Part 2, when Paramount decided to release yet another film in the series. And this time around, the studio needed a gimmick to get people into the theaters. Audiences went to see Part 2, but in not nearly the numbers that went to the first movie. The gimmick Paramount used was 3D (the film's full original title is Friday the 13th, Part 3: 3D). In the end, the film ended up making almost double what the previous installment made, and was more entertaining than both films that came before it.

I won't bother describing the premise of the movie too much. You should know the routine by now - a bunch of teenagers, a cabin in the woods, a maniacal killer and extreme amounts of sex, drugs and violence. This installment certainly doesn't disappoint on any of those levels, but is notable for its almost complete lack of nudity (save for one scene, that is nonetheless gratuitous) and the introduction of the notorious hockey mask. Obviously, this film isn't really going to appeal to fans outside of the slasher genre. But for those of you who like things gory, there's some really intense stuff here, including what I think is the nastiest Jason kill in the series - a body split in half. I don't know many films that can manage to be both fun in nature and mean-spirited, but this one pulls it off. It's an interesting little scare-fest. It may be forgettable in the long run, but it's entertaining for the ninety minutes or so that you're in front of the TV.

On the other hand, all the 3D tricks and stunts that audiences (wearing those funky glasses) enjoyed in the theaters are lost here. In 3D, things like broomstick handles, knitting needles, bloody knives and TV antenna poking into the frame at you all make sense. But the 3D enhancement was discarded for home video distribution for technical and monetary reasons. Without it, many of these scenes become unintentionally laughable and fairly unnecessary. Without the 3D, you're also free to focus on some of the filmmaker's mistakes. We're talking rattlesnakes hanging from wires, arrows guided by fishing line, and some really cheap makeup effects. They add laughs to the mix, albeit inadvertently, and provide even more camp value to an already ridiculous film.

The video and audio presentation of Friday the 13th, Part 3 is on par with the previous Friday films, but I found this DVD to be improved in some areas. There is little in the way of digital artifacts, and colors and flesh tones are accurate throughout. Black levels are also dead-on, resulting in some really impenetrable looking night scenes. Fine detailing, however, seems to be slightly off - the picture has a soft look to it and, once or twice, the film just looks like it's out of focus. Still, this is a very good looking picture that is miles beyond any previous home video release. As with the previous discs, you get a serviceable English mono track here in the way of audio. Bass is on the shallow side, but dialogue maintains its clarity. Everything basically sounds about as good as it's going to get on a track of this sort, with the only drawbacks resulting from the natural limitations of a mono mix.

Once again, the only feature on the disc is the theatrical trailer. It's scratchy and grainy looking, but it's also probably the first time many people will get a glimpse of it. I've never seen it before and I was glad to see it here, but other features would have been welcome. Paramount charges some of the highest prices for their movie-only DVDs, and I'd like to get a little more for my money on their discs.

So is this DVD worth a look? I'd say yes, because it'll give anyone who likes the film the opportunity to see it in better quality than it's ever been available in on home video before. The lack of a 3D-enhanced version is a slight disappointment, but I can understand Paramount's reasons for not doing it. I'd rather see a clear picture than a fuzzy, red and blue-tinged one. If you're a fan of Friday the 13th, Part 3, this disc is at least worth a rental.

Dan Kelly
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