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Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday the 13th Part 5: The New Beginning

     Of course I rushed out and saw FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING when it hit theaters in 1985- didn't you?  As much as I loved the first four, it was a given. Curiosity had gotten the better of me, and I was truly wondering how they were going to resurrect ole' Jason.  So I signed up for more terror and shenanigans at Camp Crystal Lake.  However... what magic was there before was long gone.  Even at 13 years old, I was fully aware that this fifth installment was a steaming pile of poo, and should probably never have been made in the first place.  Where do I even begin?  

     The movie starts ten years after the horrible bloodbath from THE FINAL CHAPTER- which would have the action taking place in 1994.... ?  Young Tommy Jarvis has grown up in various mental institutions, having never recovered from the horror of Jason and his murderous rampage.  Plagued by nightmares, he's sent to a rural halfway house to overcome his mental problems- although it's never explained what happened to his older sister, Trish....  
     Tommy arrives at the halfway house in the woods, and brings a rash of murders with him. Is it Tommy, who's been driven to the brink of madness by Jason and all he experienced years prior?  Or is it an imposter, someone taking Jason's identity to exact some revenge of their own?  (Okay, it's Roy, the ambulance driver, father of the overweight kid who's axed to death at the halfway house...over some chocolate... I know, right?)  Turns out, Jason is not even in this one!  What a crock!  Boo!  Hiss!  *throws popcorn at screen*

     Often known by fans as the black sheep of the franchise, and for good reason, A NEW BEGINNING takes the absolute worst elements from the slasher genre and compiles them all in a stunningly bad movie.  It's simply terrible, in every aspect imaginable.  Far from being scary- even at the tender age of 13 I found myself laughing hysterically at this film and by that I mean laughing at the film, not with it. It's really that bad.  

     A NEW BEGINNING offers a somewhat unique storyline for the series- I actually kind of like the idea of a halfway home for troubled teens off in the woods.  It's a great setting for a slasher film, and it could have been great. But it's not. There's not one ounce of suspense generated in the mayhem here- none.  Nor does it have any of the original FRIDAY THE 13TH spirit and atmosphere. The heart of the series is sorely missing here. I realize that this is just a slasher film, but the acting is beyond terrible here. So bad that it makes the first four look like Merchant/Ivory productions. The characters are so poorly acted and presented here, that you wish for immediate death on all of them. They are some of the most unlikable characters I've ever come across in a horror film.

     And I fully blame this installment for resurrecting and continuing the franchise in the first place. Just imagine for a second if they truly did stop at THE FINAL CHAPTER- how different the reputation of the
series would be today.  Because honestly, in my opinion, they all SUCK bigtime after the fourth film.
Jason, along with Michael and Freddy, would have far better reputations had they made a couple of quality films, then stopped while they were ahead.  Instead of dragging the poor guys through shittier and shittier sequels, sapping every ounce of terror from them along the way. But then again, they did the same thing to poor old Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy way back when as there you go.

     I hate this installment. I hate everything about this installment. The direction, the lighting, the characters  the acting- everything.  And the fact that it's not even Jason makes it all the more lame. It's truly one of the weakest of the entries- and only makes the first four look all the more better. The FRIDAY THE 13TH films unfortunately have attained a sleazy reputation- but entries like this one truly take the cake in sleaziness. This entry- plus all the ones that came after this steaming mess, are the ones who tarnished the franchise and ruined the good name of FRIDAY THE 13TH,  This installment has more nudity and gore and killings than any of the previous entries, but that does not make it better, trust me.

     FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING is probably the most hated of the franchise by fans- very similar to the hatred of HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH- simply because the main villains are absent from these entries. However, after years and years of pure hatred for SEASON OF THE WITCH, it's finally found its audience and is starting to be more and more accepted by fans. The same seems to unexplicably be happening to this film, although I'm baffled as to why.  It's still far better than the dreadful JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, but unfortunately you cannot polish a pile of shit. It is what it is. It does offer a neat opening scene with a return cameo by Corey Feldman as young Tommy, and the admittedly not-bad finale in the barn for the most part works, but still.  The film offers some pretty gruesome and creative kills, but the characters are SO annoying and one-dimensional, you want them all dead as soon as possible anyway.  And probably the biggest gripe of this installment is not the fact that it's not even Jason doing the killing- it's that Roy, the ambulance driver who is doing the killing, is just not a memorable enough character.  He's only shown once at the beginning of the film, and when Jason is finally "unmasked" at the end, I honestly wasn't sure who it was at first. I had to look at the credits to make sure it was Roy in the first place.  He's just not fleshed out near enough to remember. And we are supposed to buy the fact that Roy snapped over his son being called because of a candy bar and just happens to have a hockey mask and coveralls handy to take over Jason's reign of terror? No. I didn't buy that at all.  Lame no matter how you spin it.

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