Movie Reviews 33 – Friday the 13th (V to VIII)

Friday the 13th part V: A New Beginning (1985)
For a change, Jason may really stay dead as the movie plays loose with the identity of the real killer. The surviving ‘kid’ Tommy who put down Jason in part IV is now all grown up, but the trauma of loosing his mom and going a little berserk in disposing of Jason has left him a bit loony himself. Recently brought to yet another psychiatric home, he witnesses a brutal slaying of another ‘token fat kid’ by another patient. It’s a bloody murder in the movie that has no direct link to Jason but proves to be pivotal. The opening sequence in a morgue does result in the revival and escape of Jason as we know him, but the unsteady personalities of all the patients, excluding Tommy, makes the killings a bit mysterious. This movie really is a new and welcome beginning to the series that was beginning to go stale at this point. Another welcome change was the depart from the traditional camp setting, although not that far off. Enjoy the genuine surprise ending.

Friday the 13th part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Ron Pallilo (Arnold Horshack of Welcome Back Kotter fame for those old enough to remember that show) puts in a brief but welcome cameo as a friend of Tommy, who put down Jason in the last two movies in the series, comes back to make sure Jason is really dead and buried. Of course they end up reviving Jason instead and the body count starts to climb. Knowing Tommy’s past, the town sheriff doesn’t believe him when he goes seeking help and tries to warn people and so he ends up in the slammer instead. Luckily, the sherrif’s daughter, who happens to be counselor at the renamed camp Forest Green, is the only one who does believe him and frees him just in time so that all the players can meet at the climax at the camp. While entertaining to see the kids outwitting the cops and all, there isn’t much more than that and of course Jason roaming the countryside. Ironically, I think I would have enjoyed it even more had I known the dire straights the series would take with the sequels to follow. Read on, if you dare…

Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood (1988)
It may be titled The New Blood, but in fact there is nothing really ‘new’ in this movie at all. Easily the most boring movie in the series thus far. It starts with the idiotic premise of telekinetic girl who, in the heat of the moment, accidentally kills her dad by destroying a dock. Did I mention that the dock happens to be right where Jason lies dead, submerged and anchored to a rock in Crystal Lake Yeah, somewhere along the lines, Forest Green regained it’s Crystal Lake moniker, I guess when people continued dying at Jason hands in the last movie, the townfolk realized that just changing the name doesn’t change Jason’s views.. The story then jumps about a decade ahead with the girl, her mother and her doctor all return to the same cabin, ostensibly to cure her of her psychological problems. Off course the cabin next door happens to be filled with a bunch of youngsters there to celebrate someone surprise birthday party. I’ll be watching the next movies, but this looks like a ‘jumped the shark’ moment right now.

Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
And I thought that part VII jumped the shark. VII was a cinematic masterpiece compared to this crapfest. This movie is all over the place and the entire ‘Manhattan’ aspect is more like an afterthought. It should have been called “Jason on Ship with a Bunch of People for a Long Time” as the voyage to New York represents the bulk of the movie. The trip is some kind of graduating class outing with is ludicrous enough but after he’s killed about half the people the survivors get into a raft which drifts into NY harbor and Jason then terrorizes them for 10 Minutes in Manhattan. The main character is some young girl who’s dad tried once to teach her to swim as a kid by throwing her overboard a boat. She nearly drowns as a young semi-dead Jason tries to drag her to the bottom of the lake. She grows up tormented by these images but can’t remember the details. It all comes together in her mind as not Jason torments the her and the crew entire movie. No. Instead, she somehow remembers her ‘swimming lesson’ as she stares into a puddle at the end of the movie. Huh? Right. There is absolutely nothing good about this movie. A bunch of the characters have these one minute character development moments that just disappear into thin air. In any event, the characters are all excruciatingly dull. But even Jason is nothing but a clunking figure. The hack scenes are unimaginative and tame. It’s a miracle the series ever went on the make another movie after this utterly forgettable disaster. “The Muppets take Manhattan” has far more suspense that this movie.

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