Friday, March 6, 2015
The 13 Days of Friday the 13th: Day Five
Five films into the series and we've finally found one that I've seen before.
Flashback to September 13th, 2013. A younger Trash Man decides to properly celebrate the holiday by viewing Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) on VHS. Don't question why he chose this particular entry, especially considering he already knew the "twist" that the killer [spoiler ahead, mates] wasn't Jason Voorhees at all, but instead someone else posing as him. Especially considering the fact he hadn't seen any of the four films that proceeded it. What a weird kid, that Trash Man, arbitrarily deciding to view this installment back then and really liking it, too.
Now, however, having seen it for a second time and less than twenty-four hours after watching Part IV (1984), I'm feeling a little less generous. It doesn't come close, not even remotely so, to being anywhere near as enjoyable as the films that came before. The movie's major flaw is its overwhelming cast of characters, many of whom add nothing to further the plot, and serve only to ensure a high body-count and constant, gruesome deaths. Taking the concept of throwaway characters to ludicrous extremes, the ensemble includes a coke-snorting hospital attendant and his random waitress girlfriend, an apparent red-herring who's killed off almost immediately, and two leather-clad greasers who appear to have stepped out of a completely different movie.
It's a stark contrast to the previous film in that there doesn't seem to be any likable characters present, especially the now older Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd). There are moments when Tommy is almost sympathetic; his earlier confrontation with Jason has obviously left him emotionally and mentally battered. After spending years in an institution, he's finally released into the care of Pam Roberts (Melanie Kinnaman) and Matt (Richard Young), directors at Pinehurst, a halfway house designed to reintegrate him back into normal society. Tommy seems too far gone, though, and quickly goes from troubled kid to full-blown wreck; constantly hallucinating of Jason, and even attacking one of his housemates.
The only interesting character addition to the franchise is Reggie (Shavar Ross), a charismatic youth whose grandfather works at Pinehurst as a cook. Unfortunately, he's saddled with playing sidekick to Pam and Tommy, and, aside from a fantastic scene where he hits Faux-Jason with a tractor, does little else.
Speaking of The Jason Who Wasn't Really Jason.
I know that many fans didn't care for the fact that another character dressed up as and pretended to be Jason, but I'm not one of them. I sorta' enjoy what it adds to the franchise's mythos; that Jason Voorhees has become a notorious "celebrity" within this universe. So much a legend that it's inspired a copycat killer in Roy Burns (Dick Wieand). Plus, I love the fact that Roy is motivated to take on the mantle of Jason and murder the residents of Pinehurst in order to avenge the death of his son, Joey (Dominick Brascia). It echoes back to the original film, to Pamela Voorhees' rampage at Camp Crystal Lake, the very same event that lead to Jason's transformation into a masked murderer.