9 May 2011

Clarky's Review: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning & Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

These may well be two of the best "worst" films I have ever seen.

Whilst it has been noted that A New Beginning, the fifth film in the canon, tries to take a different approach there is enough stuff here to keep it enjoyable. First of all there are more 2 dimensional characters than you can shake a stick at, some of whom don't even get a line, who are introduced to the proceedings with the sole purpose of being fodder for "Jason". The director, Danny Steinmann, was instructed to do two things with this film - deliver a shock, scare or kill every 8 minutes and turn Tommy into the new Jason, and he certainly delivers on kills, and there are a couple of shocks (mainly due to the fact that you're not expecting them given what has come before).

The film opens with Corey Feldman reprising his role as Tommy Jarvis. The film was apparently originally written for Feldman, but he was unable to film it due to his commitments with The Goonies. I don't think he will ever have had a better career move since! From this opening dream sequence we get or first unintentional laugh with the coffin barely buried 6 inches under, never mind 6 feet.

And the laughs keep coming. Whether its by inventive death, shocking dialogue, a ridiculous mental institute and lack police chief or the even more ridiculous twist ending, you can't help but smile at how bad this all is.

Probably the worst film, but I think I enjoyed this more than the first outing in that at its so bad it is good. However, I did feel like it was a missed opportunity to set up Tommy Jarvis as the successor to Jason from the start of the film and look into his character more. Its hard to tell who the main character is in this film, Tommy Jarvis only says 24 words but Reckless Reggie has the bulk of the screen time! (even if he does scream like a girl)

The first death this film blows is to the storyline set up in the last film. Due to a fanboy revolt (they even had fanboys in the 80's, although without the internet I'm not sure how they vented their frustration, there must have been a lot of angry letters to Paramount) the idea of Tommy Jarvis becoming a killer was binned and the last 5 minutes of A New Beginning written of as a dream sequence (so it was a dream within a dream!). To be honest, you could just miss out part 5 altogether.

To be fair, the re-introduction of Jason gives the series the jump start it needs after part 5. Like a lightning bolt to the heart it resuscitates the series and like Jason its back bigger and stronger than before. With his machete back in hand Jason racks up no less than 18 kills in the film, its more than any of the others that have come before.

Sure there are some ridiculous plot points and storylines, but there is some cracking dialogue

"Hit the noise and the cherry's"
"You'll be wearing your testicles for earrings"

Being two of my favourite ones of the entire series so far.

There are also some genuinely inventive shots and the series is back to what it does best. Sure there are some unintentional laughs, but you genuinely cheer with every death (writing this down I am taking a long, hard look at myself. I think I may have seen to many horror films, I'm looking forward to the summer break).

Another worthy addition to the canon if you like all things Jason. If you've not enjoyed whats come before then I would avoid these bad boys. But if you revel in the ongoing saga of Jason Voorhees then Jason Lives will have you cheering for more. The only negative being that it is the only Friday the 13th to feature no nudity. All we get is a comedy sex scene in a camper van and a full blown camel toe.

In conclusion I can't wait for the last 7 and 8 next week!

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