Friday the 13th Part III Review

Friday the 13th Part 3 was originally titled Crystal Japan. It was named so the film’s plot could be prevented from being leaked. Is this a serious concern?

The bigger question is, what plot?

This is yet another rehash in this slasher series, one in which Jason Vorhees goes on his second rampage, killing a group of people who walk into his territory on Camp Crystal Lake. There is no attempt to expand the origins, develop the character, or change the formula. On top of that, the 3-D gimmick has been applied, surely the point where originality has gone out the window (Jaws anyone?).

Of note, this is the first film with the iconic hockey mask, although origins of where Jason found it are not explained. Instead, time is spent with a subplot about a biker gang, or at least three of its members. They harass two of the Crystal Lake visitors in a store. They follow the campers back to the cabin, only to serve as a body count.

Out of the actual campers, none of them are killed until the hour mark. That’s a long way to go in a film without any actual character. Part III builds fake scares better than the real ones, mostly because the real ones take so long to come, you know they have to be real.

Most of the deaths are familiar, including some that are direct rip-offs from the original film. Debbie (Tracy Savage) meets her fate almost exactly like Kevin Bacon in the original. The finale is mildly exciting, as the tables turn and Jason becomes the hunted, obviously not realizing his stalker is following his own rules.

Part III opens with a six minute recap of the previous movie, yet its bearing on this story is explained during a news report. It’s a waste of time, and a sad way to pad this film with material. Given how creatively bankrupt it is, this is probably the only way to push it to feature length.

Movie ★★☆☆☆ 

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Part III used a number of new techniques during filming and new cameras. The result is brought out in this Blu-ray transfer, and that’s not a positive.

Grain is accentuated due to obvious brightening to the print. The AVC encode handles it as well as it can, but it still appears noisy. Color is fair, with bright rich primaries and not much else. Black levels are excellent with mild crush.

Numerous shots appear out of focus, and the source exhibits regular damage. Dirt is constantly stuck on the camera, not a fault of the transfer, but an annoying, permanent part of this film. Sharpness is fair and flesh tones are fine.

The 3-D version of the film barely works, even for scenes designed to use it. Ghosting is evident, and the double image is tiring. The review does not take into account this version.

Video ★★☆☆☆ 

A TrueHD mix is a mild step up in terms of clarity from the previous films, with the score crisp even into the high end. Dialogue is clear and free of distortion. A moment or two of surround use, particularly one in a cellar, are effective. While the low end is left alone, this one is an improvement.

Audio ★★★☆☆ 

Fresh Cuts: 3-D Terror begins the extras with a fun look at the challenges faced due to the decision to shoot in 3-D. Legacy of the Mask delves into the origins of the hockey mask, including conflicting stories as to who came up with the idea. The latter run about 21 minutes combined.

Slasher Films: Going for the Jugular is a basic discussion of the genre, with the focus on the Friday films. Lost Tales of Camp Blood is the third part of this unexplained little film that is carried over from the previous two Blu-rays.

Extras ★★★☆☆ 

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