Written by Dan Bradley
Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) has been about everywhere on earth, including to hell and back. It only seems fitting that his tenth feature takes him not only into space, but into the future as well. With the highest production value of a Jason movie to-date and one of the niftiest extra features I’ve ever seen, Jason X’s futuristic settings, slayings and familiar action feel right at home on DVD.
The plot for Jason X is simple, albeit a huge departure from previous slasher films. After repeated execution at…empts, Jason Voorhees is scheduled to be cryogenically frozen as a measure to keep him from killing again. Greed within the research lab at Crystal Lake leaves the door open for Jason to spring free and dispense of some army-types, but ultimately he is frozen along with an attractive scientist. Fast forward 450 years where Jason and the scientist are discovered, brought onboard a spaceship and revitalized. The rest, as they say, is bloody.
Post-produced entirely on computers, Jason X looks a lot more expensive than its production value. As the opening title sequence rolled I knew there would be a lot of effects work. The use of CGI is evident and rampant throughout which brings a whole new look to the series. It looks great and is hard to imagine it cost roughly 10 million to make.
When all was said and done, I felt Jason X was an average film created from a rather ingenious concept. Who would have thought that Jason would transform into Uber-Jason and stalk his victims like Robocop gone haywire? Unfortunately, some of the clever death scenes and imagery couldn’t save the overall picture and left a taste of dissatisfaction afterwards.
Many films have yet to receive the DTS treatment so I was as shocked as one of Jason’s victims when I found a DTS track on the disc. Surprisingly, the sound mix is fairly strong in all channels, including several scenes where it enveloped me from all directions. Some of the intercom speech is directed entirely from the rears which is also a nice touch. It’s quite obvious the sound team on this DVD paid special attention to what they could get away with on the DVD format and took full advantage of it.
The extra features reveal the filmmakers scanned in each frame of film, one by one, into a computer for digital post-production. With the entire film in the computer, there were absolutely no signs of specs because no film was involved. Also, the color palette is all over the place, from bright reds and silvers to deep blacks – all perfectly rendered on this transfer. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, it’s one to show off your equipment.
I honestly didn’t expect any extras on a Jason DVD, but it’s obvious these filmmakers are up on all the current DVD trends and know how to take advantage of them. Perhaps the greatest gem on this disc is the cut to a death scene feature. I could jump to any death scene, view them all or view one randomly. This feature should set the precedent for all slasher DVD releases to come. Next up was a half hour featurette “The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees”, which examines slasher films and the genre in general. Following next is By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Jason X”. It’s here that I learned about the great attention to detail and digital work applied to Jason X. Rounding out the extras are a full-length commentary by the director, writer and producer and some trailers.
Where can Jason go next? He’s been to space and even ended this film on Earth 2 ready for more slaughters. It’s hard to imagine the interest will be there to continue the series but you never know. Perhaps space will be the final frontier for Mr. Voorhees. Either way, I recommend you borrow Jason X and save the rental cost for something else.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Original documentary: The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees
- Original documentary: By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Jason X
- Jump to a Death Feature
- Theatrical trailer