Sunday, October 16, 2005

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

(1985) ***1/2

I was all set to dislike this one when it unexpectedly won me over. Hitting the suck points first: the killer isn't Jason and that's lame. It was lame in the first one and it's lame now. This movie pulls the trick Saw pulls years later of making a random background character the killer, which only works in mysteries when there's clues pointing back to the killer. His alterna hockey mask with the grey triangles might be kind of neat, but not Jason equals not cool.

Tommy was pretty annoying in this. His craziness seemed to amount to 1)seeing Jason everywhere, and 2)getting irritated when people are doing really irritating things to him. His whole character arc was about that hurt expression on his face. They even lowballed the gag they were setting up the whole movie, in which he's really seeing a hockey-masked killer and he thinks he's hallucinating. He just gibbers some stuff you can't hear and then takes a non-lethal slash to the chest. Non-lethal? There's no good reason fake Jason doesn't lop his head off.

I soon noticed that my dislike in the character setups was being replaced by honest entertainment as fake Jason racks up the biggest body count in the franchise's history. By the end of New Beginning, the score was a whopping 19, beating out Final Chapter by a full five, and that's not even counting the three dream-sequence deaths. This was down to a shrewd policy of introducing characters and then taking them out immediately. Along with higher numbers came more killing creativity, too.

The patient viewer is also rewarded with some late-in-the-game, almost artfully-shot nudity -- that is if you like natural settings and garden shears. And I think you do.


Octopunk said...

Also out in 1985 was Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, another movie that features someone wielding a chainsaw that conks out at an inopportune time. Funny how different people working miles apart can simultaneously come up with the same genius idea.

JPX said...

Yeah, I watched this again about 2 years ago and I too was ready to dislike it. I remember disliking it at the time because of the whole "not really Jason" hook, but I was plesantly surprised when I found myself really enjoying it. I love the hillbilly who calls her son a "fuck-wad".