Yes. Friday was the 13th, and now it’s Monday. OK, so I’m a little late with this, but only by a few days! When I review a movie, I usually take it seriously. I get my little notebook and a trusty pen (or I grab my laptop), and I start. I make notations, silly comments, take note of who plays what role, and then translate it into something legible – or at least I hope I do. So, with that said, I promise I watched this Friday. Unfortunately, I’m just now getting a chance to translate the notes and share my thoughts.
At some point with Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), I gave up on the notes, though I did keep track of the body count:
Jason – 15
Someone else – 1
I read somewhere that Jason had 16 kills, but I can’t give him credit for something he didn’t do!
In doing a bit of research, it would seem that this was to be the showdown between Jason and Freddy (Guess who I root for?), but when Paramount Pictures (rights owner for F13 [Jason]) and New Line Cinema (N.O.E.S. [Freddy]) couldn’t get it together, the script was rewritten, and we ended up with this.
Now, I know a lot of people aren’t fans of this particular installment, but I love it. It follows the slasher formula so well, and we get the added twist of Tina Shepard – our resident telekinetic. It was great to see someone give it as good as Jason does. Sure, it’s campy. But I ask you, what slasher isn’t? A slasher movie is designed to do one thing – up the body count. It’s mindless fun, sometimes with a little gore, and, personally, that’s all I want when I watch a movie like this.
Note: There are potential spoilers throughout this review, so you may want to stop here and return after watching the movie.
Right from the get-go, we get to see Tina in action. Apparently, Mom and Dad aren’t getting along, and little Tina (Jennifer Banko) can’t take it anymore. She runs outside and jumps in a jon boat to get away from it all. What follows is a typical conversation between a jerky parent and a child.
“I hate you, Daddy!”
“Please, baby, just come back.”
“NO! I hate you. Stay away from me!”
Well, it was something like that. Unfortunately, with Tina, things don’t end there. After screaming she wishes he was dead, Tina gets exactly what she wants when the dock collapses on her father (John Otrin), sending him to his watery grave.
Fast forward about 10 years, and Tina’s sketchy doctor, Dr. Crews, suggests spending some time at the lake will allow Tina, now a teenager/young woman, to put all of her angst and guilt to rest. Dr. Crews is played by the wonderfully smarmy Terry Kiser (Yep, It’s Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s!). You know right off the bat this guy isn’t right, and I’m seriously questioning Tina’s mom (Susan Blu) for trusting this guy as a doctor. With that point clear, I will hereby refer to him as SD. Yeah, for sketchy doctor.
So Tina, Tina’s mom, and SD all go to the lake house. And even though Tina sucks the big one for killing her dad, she knows what’s up with SD. She doesn’t want to do his little tests. Hell, she doesn’t even want to be around, so she runs back outside, and I assume tries to resurrect her dad. Yeah, really!
Well, no go. Oh, but wait! She does resurrect Jason (Kane Hodder). And here I want to point out that we get a gnarly (because I can’t think of any other word that accurately describes this) shot of Jason’s back when he trots out of the water. And by back, I mean spine. CRAZY! So, not only does Tina suck for killing her dad, but to add to her suckiness, she unleashes Jason on Camp Crystal Lake again.
Of course, we’ve already flashed to a few teens that want nothing more than to just get busy at Camp Crystal Lake, so we know this isn’t going to end well.
The day before when sucky Tina got to CCL (No, not Carnival Cruise Lines – Camp Crystal Lake!), she dropped her suitcase, and cute neighbor guy ran over to help her. Apparently Tina doesn’t recognize flirting and tells the guy “No thanks.” She’s truly unfriendly. But he and his 80’s denim-on-denim style decide not to take no for an answer. He brings her one of her dropped shirts that he evidently kept overnight (Umm… why?). He also invites her to come hang out at a birthday party. Tina happily decides to go. So keep up, note only is Tina a sucky dad killer, she also woke up Jason and likes to play games with guys – one minute cold, the next hot… Not cool, Tina. Not cool!
Well, the birthday boy, Michael, and his lady love are not going to make it to the party. Jason gets them in the woods after their car breaks down. But since our party guests don’t know this, they just assume he’s rude and keep right on partying.
I’ll be honest, with the exception of neighbor guy, Nick, and snotty blonde girl, Melissa, none of the ill-fated teens really caught my attention enough to remember their names. I just assigned nicknames to them – nerdy girl, pot guy, Carlton and Ashley Banks (From The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, ‘cause they dressed exactly like them!), and dorky film school guy. And yet, I was still sad to see them go.
I won’t bore you with the details as the teens get picked off in typical Jason fashion – tent stakes, a noisemaker through the eye, fun with a sleeping bag, a couple of slices and dices. What really pissed me off was to see just how sketchy SD was! After admitting to Tina’s mom that he was more or less looking to build a career on using Tina as a case study, he threatens to commit Tina no matter what Mommy says. Tina overhears this and runs off, and Mom drags SD to chase after her. They find the car crashed on the road, after Tina has a short run-in with Jason. And after searching for her in the woods, we get to see SD literally hand over Mom to Jason to save his sorry ass! Of course, he gets what’s coming to him just a few minutes later, but what an asshole! In a very ladylike manner, I spent a few moments flicking him off and cursing him.
And then I finally get what I was waiting for – the showdown between Jason and Tina. I have to say, I’m not sure if it’s how it was written or if actress Lar Park-Lincoln just isn’t a big emoter, but I was hoping for a bit more fear. I mean, sure you can pick up potted plants and hurl them with your mind, but this guy came out of the lake with his spine on full display (Can’t get over that!) and just killed your mom, your sketchy therapist, and a bunch of kids, and the best you can do is get kind of red in the face and look constipated as you hurl lounge chairs at him? I mean, I guess… if that’s the best you can do.
Nick (Kevin Blair Spirtas) seems like a decent enough guy. He tries to protect his new love – extreme situations bring about extreme emotions (Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock taught me that in Speed.). But he just isn’t a match for Jason. We did get a rather nasty scene with Jason smacking around Nick (Why he didn’t just kill him, we’ll never know!), while Tina uses her mind powers to tighten the straps on Jason’s hockey mask. It was like Jason’s head was one giant zit – pus and other strange stuff oozing out… Gross! Finally, the straps just popped right off, and we get to see just how truly ugly Jason is.
“EWW! Nasty!” I think that was my comment.
“NICE!” Pretty sure that was our 18 year old.
And my husband just laughed.
Then Tina opens up a hole into the basement and drops him in it, chokes him with shoddy wiring, and knocks him down the stairs – all with her powers. But that isn’t keeping everyone’s favorite pissed off goalie down. Not even the porch that she brings down on him, the flames engulfing him, or the subsequent house exploding with him in it is going to keep Jason down. Nope. In the end, the battle has to go back to the lake.
And here, Tina is finally able to bring back Daddy. Daddy crashes up through the rebuilt deck and drags Jason down to his watery grave – again. A bit anticlimactic, but the endings of F13 movies usually are.
I mean, come on. This guy gets right back up no matter what you do, and you’re going to trust zombie dad to take care of him? I don’t know… Maybe you should drop a few sticks of dynamite down there. Collapse the dock again. Bring up the body and dismember it. Put it through a woodchipper. Hell, do all that and then bury different pieces of him on different continents. But do SOMETHING!
But oh no. Tina and Nick just drive off in an ambulance that looks strangely like a hearse.
I can find fault with something in each of the Friday the 13th installments, but I choose to overlook just how cheesy they truly are and revel in my love of all things Jason. In my book, this iteration had a lot going for it. The storyline is simple – Jason is brought back, kids annoy him, they should be dispatched, and at the end, our heroine “saves the day.” Simple, effective, and timeless.
4 hockey masks out of five.